Tania Jobin, Claire Wales, Bob Hall-Brooks, Beth Ann PrinceBob Hall-Brooks of the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (third from left) prepares to release a sharp-skinned hawk Wednesday in celebration of the new outdoor classroom in the conservation area, along with Essex Region Conservation Authority vice-chair Tania Jobin, Essex Region Conservation Foundation vice-president Claire Wales, and president Beth Ann Prince of the University of Windsor Alumni Association.

Outdoor classroom to foster connection to nature

Members of the University of Windsor Alumni Association joined officials from the Essex Region Conservation Foundation to dedicate a new outdoor classroom Wednesday at the Holiday Beach Conservation Area.

The association donated $50,000 toward the creation of the innovative learning space, which will host visiting schoolchildren as well as public workshops and field research by UWindsor ornithology students.

Located along the Lake Erie shore south of Amherstburg, Holiday Beach has been named one of the top hawk-watching sites in North America by Audubon Magazine.

Alumni association president Beth Ann Prince said the new facility will help connect young people to nature and foster their interest in science.

“We are happy to play a role in creating this important outdoor space, especially during a time when students of all ages are learning in unprecedented and unique ways,” she said. “Educational spaces like this one will benefit current and future University of Windsor alumni, their families, and the community.”

Claire Wales, vice-president of the Essex Region Conservation Foundation, said that spending time outdoors is good for children and the adults they grow into.

“Introducing kids to nature has numerous health benefits, including increased physical activity, healthier body weight, better concentration, … and improved energy,” said Wales. “As well, time spent in nature during childhood is one of the biggest factors that contribute to environmental stewardship in adulthood.”