• 90 Ontario Avenue | Sault Ste. Marie, ON | P6B 6G7
  • 705.945.5400 | 1.800.267.0754

St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre

St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre offers a variety of different programs for elementary school students. These programs allow the students to learn in a dynamic outdoor environment which sits on a 180 acre parcel of land that houses a tremendous amount of nature.

The elementary programs at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre are coordinated by Gregory Sicoly.  The secondary Eco EDventure program is overseen by Christianne Van Midde.

The St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre is a wonderful opportunity for both students and teachers in the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board and we encourage everyone to take full advantage of all that it has to offer.

Contact Us

1639 Goulais Avenue

Sault Ste. Marie, ON

P6A 5K8

Hone: 705.945.5668

Fax: 705.945.5561

Email: stkatericentre@hscdsb.on.ca


Elementary Programs: Gregory Sicoly – Gregory.Sicoly@hscdsb.on.ca

Eco EDventure Program: Christianne Van Midde – Christianne.CarriereVanMidde@hscdsb.on.ca

Entrance to St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre

Lead Exceedance Public Notice

This message is for all parents and guardians at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre in Sault Ste. Marie under the following condition:

Standing Sample

An exceedance for lead under Ontario Regulation 243/07 (Schools, Private Schools and Child Care Centres) has been determined on a “standing” sample.  The subsequent “flushed” sample was at or below the Ontario drinking water quality standard of 10 micrograms per litre.  No further corrective action is required and this notice serves as information only.

More information on flushing and sampling for lead may be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/flushing-and-sampling-lead.

Accessibility Statement

In compliance with the Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board is committed to providing accommodations to persons with disabilities.  The Board will take into account the person’s ability to access information and will provide the information contained in Board-produced public documents in a format that meets those needs as agreed upon with the person.



There are three dynamic and unique programs currently offered at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre for students in Grades 4, 6, and 7 and coincide with Ontario Ministry expectations. The programs are designed as follows:

  • Fall Program (Grade 6) Orienteering and GPS activities.
  • Winter Program (Grade 7) Cross-country Skiing, Snow Shoeing and “Winter Survival”
  • Spring Program (Grade 4) Habitat and Community Science Day.

Note: These program days are scheduled by St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre. Transportation is provided by the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board.

Grade 4: Science Discovery Day

Through a variety of interesting, hands-on activities students explore the habitats that exist at St. Kateri Learning Centre. The activities include:

  • “To Be a Mouse” –Through this search and find activity students will discover how difficult it is to be a small mammal in an ecosystem.
  • “Minnow Trap” — Students will empty the contents of minnow traps that have been set in Nettleton Lake to discover the diversity of life in a lake ecosystem.
  • “Diversity Investigation”– Students will compare the number of ground plants and animals in a forest and field ecosystem to determine which habitat has the greatest biodiversity.
  • “Stream Studies”– Students will use dip nets and observation trays into the stream to collect and observe the life that exists in a fresh water stream habitat.

Grade 6: Orienteering and GPS Activities

This fun-filled day is all about navigation! Students participate in a wide variety of activities accumulating as many points as possible for their team. The activities include:

  • “Buried Treasure”—Students will use GPS Units to locate “Waypoints”.
  • “Secret Agent” — Students will follow compass bearings to find the missing letters.
  • “Finding the Way” –Students will find the compass bearing between two points.


Grade 7: Ski, Snowshoe and Survival

Students will participate in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing using the beautifully groomed trails that have been built and maintained by the students enrolled in the Eco EDventure Program.  In the afternoon the students will snowshoe to a new location to test their “survival” skills.  En route students will be given clues on how to properly build a fire. Once the students arrive at the test site their group will attempt to light and maintain a fire long enough to boil water.

Optional Programs

Along with the currently scheduled Programs, St. Kateri Learning Centre also offers the opportunity for teachers to book a variety of additional and optional Programs. The options include:

  • Grade 3 – Fall Science Day. Soils in the Environment.
  • Grade 3 – Pioneer Christmas.
  • Grades 4 to 6 – Winter Activities. Cross-country Skiing & Snow Shoeing.
  • Grade 6 – Spring Science Day with a focus on Biodiversity.
  • Grade 7 – Spring Science Day with a focus on comparing Ecosystems.
  • Grade 5 – Spring Activity Day with a focus on an Introduction to Orienteering and Survival skills.
  • Activity Days – An outdoor day specifically tailored to the needs of the students.

Note: These days are booked by the individual teacher. Transportation bookings and costs are the responsibility of the teacher. 

Gentle reminders…

All of the programs offered at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre integrate exciting learning opportunities with outdoor activities. Students are asked to dress accordingly to ensure that they get the most out of the day.  Unless otherwise instructed, students are asked to bring snacks, meals and water.  Most importantly we want to ensure that students brace themselves for some stunning scenes of nature and amazing memories!

Grade 11

The Grade 11 Eco EDventure Program offers students a variety of courses that are designed to develop both Compulsory Secondary School Skills such as Mathematics as well as specialty skills unique to this Program such as map creation. The specific courses that Grade 11 students will be enrolled in include:

  • Green Industries and Geographer’s Toolkit — IDC
  • Physical and Health Education
  • Co-operative Education
  • Mathematics

Further explanation of these specific courses can be found on the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board Course Calendar.

Grade 12

The Grade 12 Eco EDventure program helps to further develop the skills of students that will allow them to secure a career in a variety of different ecological or environmental fields. The specific courses that Grade 12 students will be enrolled in include:

  • The Environment and Resource Management – CGR4E
  • English – ENG4C/ENG4E
  • Health and Physical Education – PAD4O
  • Co-operative Education

Further explanation of these specific courses can be found on the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board Course Calendar.

Student Expectations

Students will be offered various forms of assistance required to meet their goals throughout the Program.  Students are taught about the gifts of the environment that surrounds them and are expected to respect all elements of their surroundings.

It is imperative that students genuinely embrace the overall premise of the Program which is to learn in a hands-on manner, in an outdoor environment.  Along with the beautiful landscape and this dynamic opportunity students should also expect:

  • to come prepared to participate in all activities in various types of weather as the seasons change
  • dress accordingly so that each student can participate their fullest extent and get the most from the experience
  • that there are various forms of insects in the forest
  • Follow a timetable which includes different classroom periods
  • Ongoing physical activity

The nature of this program requires students to be energetic, enthusiastic and flexible.


Sault College Partnership

All students that enroll in the Eco EDventure Program will also be taking part in one course per semester at Sault College. They will be at Sault College once a week for the entire Semester. The students will be working towards earning credits for the courses that they are enrolled in at Sault College.  Overall students can earn up to five credits per semester through a combination of courses at Sault College and at St. Kateri Learning Centre.

Grade 11 Courses at Sault College

Grade 11 students will have the opportunity to earn an Outdoor Equipment Certification while at Sault College. This course allows students to gain specialty skills that will help to prepare them for a career in a variety of different fields.

Outdoor Equipment Certification

Students will be able to learn all of the following skills while earning their outdoor equipment certification:

  • Mixing of Fuel
  • Retrieving Field Equipment
  • Safe Trailer Operation
  • ATV Safe Rider Course
  • Boater’s Examination
  • Boating Practicum
  • Chain Saw and Brush Saw Courses

Grade 12 Courses at Sault College

Outdoor Navigation

In this course students will gain skills in orienteering and navigating in forested areas using:

  • Magnetic Hand Compass
  • Topographic Maps
  • Aerial Photographs
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS)


Trails Map – Grade 12 Project

In 2013, students in the Grade 12 Eco EDventure Program at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre embarked on a project that would ultimately take them the entire semester to see through to completion.  The goal of the project was to create a professionally designed map for the property.  The map would not only show all of the trails at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre, but also all of the significant landmarks as well. The map is currently being used by teachers, students and the community alike.

To begin this process the students first had to learn what a global positioning system (GPS) was and then of course how to use it not only to navigate, but also to store important information that could later be uploaded to a map program that uses a geographic information system (GIS). Once the students familiarized themselves with the basic functions of the GPS, two individuals from the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre spent three full days with the class to walk them through the process of creating a site map.

SKOLC trails map
Miranda Moffat and Danika Montgomery from the Innovation Centre came out to St. Kateri Learning Centre and collaborated with the students instructing them how to use their GPS units to store waypoints, mark points of interest (ie. buildings, structures, bridges etc.) and  trails (track logging). The students were then responsible for spendiong the next month and a half walking the 180 acres at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre and storing any information on their GPS units that they felt were important to be included on the site map.

The last phase of the project was to spend two full days in a computer lab at Sault College with Miranda and Danika and upload all of that data from the GPS units in layers onto the ArcGIS program.

This project was significant for many reasons.  For the first time in over forty years St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre had a professionally produced map which would be used for daily instruction. Connections with the community had been made with the Innovation Centre and Sault College and most importantly a group of students took a great sense of pride and accomplishment in having their names attached as authors of this project.  This was certainly a tremendous, collaborative achievement!

DSC_0706Self-Guided Trail

In 2014, a proposal was put forth to make better use of the trail systems at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre. The idea was to create an interactive, self-guided trail for teachers to use with their classes.

DSC_0683After receiving a Provincial Grant which allowed for the design and creation of information plaques which highlight the components of specific features of the trail, the Huron Superior Catholic District School Board collaborated with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre to put together and insert the information plaques along the trail.  The project was completed in the Fall of 2015.

As a result, all teachers have access to creative lesson plans which connect to the various key stages of the self-guided trail.  Teachers choose lessons which direct connect with the learning expectations set out for the trail walk.

Members of the public are also invited to take advantage of the self-guided trail.   It is certainly a blessing to further appreciate the natural beauty that St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre offers through the informative and rich details provided along the way!

Lesson Plans

Scavenger Hunt


Leaf Man


Estimating Distance

Grades 3 to 5

French Skits

Grade 4 to 6