• 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 Jim Pedatella.  The secondary Eco EDventure program is overseen by Greg Sicoly.

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.


Elementary Programs: (T.B.D)

Eco EDventure Program: Gregory Sicoly – Gregory.Sicoly@hscdsb.on.ca

retirement and wilderness 054



There are three programs currently scheduled at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre for students in grades 4, 6, and 7. These programs are seasonally based.

  • Fall Program (Grade 6) Orienteering and GPS activities.
  • Winter Program (Grade 7) Crosscountry 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 6: Orienteering and GPS Activities

This day is all about navigation. Students participate in the activities trying to accumulate as many points as possible for their team. The activities are:

Buried Treasure:
Students use the GPS Units to locate “Waypoints”.
Secret Agent:

Students follow compass bearings to find the missing letters.

Finding the Way:

Students are asked to find the compass bearing between two points.

Grade 7: Ski, Snowshoe and Survival

The Grade 7 classes will cross-country ski and snowshoe in the morning on the trails that have been built and maintained by the Eco EDventure students. In the afternoon the students will snowshoe to a new location to test their survival skills.

On route students will be given clues on how to 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.

Grade 4: Science Discovery Day

Through hands on activities students will explore the habitats that exist at St. Kateri Learning Centre. Students will participate in the following activities;

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 to collect and observe the life that exists in a fresh water stream habitat.


Along with the currently scheduled programs, St. Kateri Learning Centre also offers the ability for teachers to book a variety of optional programs. The possibilities 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. Biodiversity.
  • Grade 7 – Spring Science Day. Comparing Ecosystems.
  • Grade 5 – Spring Activity Day. Introduction to Orienteering and Survival Day.
  • Activity Days – An outdoor day can be planned to suit your class.

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


All of the programs offered at St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre integrate learning with outdoor activities. Obviously, students should prepare themselves accordingly. Many of the programs occur seasonally. Be prepared for all types of weather! Unless otherwise instructed, ensure that you bring food and water for yourself when you attend a St. Kateri. Most importantly brace yourself for some stunning scenes of nature!

Grade 11

The Eco EDventure program offers students a variety of courses that are designed to develop both core 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:

  • IDC – Green Industries and Geographer’s Toolkit
  • 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 programs that grade 12 students will participate 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.


Students will be given any assistance required to meet their goals throughout the program. Students are expected to respect the environment that they are interacting with.

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 beauty and the opportunity students should also expect:

  • All types of weather – Hot, cold, rain, snow, etc.
  • Bugs
  • Classroom Periods
  • Much 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 one course per semester at Sault College. They will be at Sault College once every week for the entire semester. The students will have the opportunity to earn credits for the courses that they take 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

This past semester the Grade 12 students of the 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 its completion. That project was to create a professionally designed map for the property. This would be a map that would not only show all of the trails at St. Kateri, but also all of the significant landmarks as well. The map could be 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 Innovation Centre in Sault Ste. Marie 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 showed the students how to use their GPS units to store waypoints, mark points of interest (ie. buildings, structures, bridges etc.) and finally trails (track logging). After that point it was up to the students to spend 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 they wanted on the site map.

The last phase of the project was to spend two full days in the 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 to teach from on a daily basis. 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.

DSC_0706Self-Guided Trail

St. Kateri provides an enriching educational opportunity for both students and teachers and we encourage everyone to appreciate and help preserve the camp’s natural beauty.

In 2014, a proposal was put forth to make better use of the trail systems at St. Kateri. The idea was to create an interactive self-guided trail that would allow teachers to bring their class to the site and use what is has to offer on their own.

The teachers have access to lesson plans which connect to the various key stages of the self-guided trail.  They can use any or all of the lesson plans that are available on a visit.

DSC_0683After receiving a provincial grant to create visible information components to highlight specific features seen from the trail the Board teamed with the Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre to put together the information plaques.  The project was completed in the fall of 2015.

The public is also invited to take advantage of this project.  Appreciating the natural beauty the St. Kateri Outdoor Learning Centre offers is enhanced by the self-guided trail as it educates us about our environment.

1639 Goulais Avenue

Sault Ste. Marie, ON

P6A 5K8

Hone: 705.945.5668

Fax: 705.945.5561

Email: stkatericentre@hscdsb.on.ca

Lesson Plans

Scavenger Hunt


Leaf Man


Estimating Distance

Grades 3 to 5

French Skits

Grade 4 to 6