Grand River School & Outdoor Education

Below is a menu of the programs offered by Grand River Outdoor Wilderness Education (GROWE) near Paris, Ontario.
These GROWE programs use a combination of hiking trails and indoor facilities at the Five Oaks Retreat Centre.


This hands on program will teach bush craft skills on fire building, wild edibles and shelter building.

  • Fire is one of the most crucial bush craft skills to master in the winter and is a combination of knowledge and practice. We will walk through all the different methods of fire starting from the early method of the bow drill, all the best wild materials to use and flints as we build fires.
  • Foraging for food in the wild can be a fun hobby that is a necessary lifesaving skill. There is food all around us so let’s take a walk and find some wild edibles that we can identify.
  • Finding a protective shelter is one of the first things you should do in an emergency. Have fun building a shelter as we learn about different materials and natural areas that will make for the best winter shelter.

With all the skills learned in this program clients will be equipped with the techniques to survive in the winter! Full Details



Are you interested in the creatures that go bump in the night? Our guided night hike is the perfect family evening activity. This program introduces bugs, nocturnal mammals and owls.

Our hike includes a safety talk before heading out with red flashlights.

On the walk we will lure in moths, and call in owls, in hopes that they will respond to us. After that we will head to the fire pit where we will have circle time of what was learned and roast some yummy marshmallows. Full Details



This program will encompass an interpretive identification hike, medicinal education of plants, and plant sampling through the means of drinking wild edible plant teas.

  • Clients will obtain ancient knowledge of identification and medicinal application of wild edible plants within our local forests. This is a lost art that once was an important part of our everyday knowledge that we have misplaced through the generations.
  • You will be empowered with the healing benefits of the wild plants that are in your own backyard.

After our nature hike, we will come inside for a warm up of wild teas and a tantalizing taste of wild jams! Full Details



Come hike our beautiful trail system at Five Oaks with our highly knowledgeable guides, here to help you experience the wonder and beauty of winter at Five Oaks!  

Be taken on a journey into the forest to have a hands-on experience witnessing the wild plants, trees, and birds in their enchanting natural environment. Getting outside and being active on this interactive, interpretive style hike will have you working up an appetite.

Hikers will then be delighted by a fresh homemade lunch made right on site at The Acorn restaurant. Full Details



Participants of this program will walk away feeling rejuvenated, relaxed and connected to nature.  Spending time in the outdoors can be a very restorative experience, beneficial for living in today’s hectic world.


  • You will be guided through a series of activities that will have you using your senses, feeling the calming effects of the surrounding trees as well as reaping the therapeutic benefits of laughter.
  • We will go on a rainbow walk that will have you looking at nature in a whole new way.

This uplifting healing journey through the forest will have you feeling revived... connected with yourself, friends and nature. Full Details




This program is designed to introduce clients to birds, the impact humans have on bird populations and help people understand what they can do to help these beautiful creatures.

This birding experience is ideal for people of all ages whom are capable of hiking some distance on bumpy terrain.

  • Our guides will lead clients through some basic bird identification by identifying some common birds of the area.
  • We will research some birds we will likely see, learning key identifying features.
  • During our hike we will stop at a variety of bird feeders to observe local bird species.
  • We will also make a stop at our Bird Watching Station for a rest and to observe the birds in a discreet setting.
  • After our hike we will head back to the meeting room to talk about how bird populations are affected and what we can do to help. Full Details




Do you or your child like animals? How about doing crafts? If so, then come spend some time with us at Kid’s Craft Corner. We do nature inspired crafts that will also teach your little one about animals and their environment. Full Details



Our PD Days and March Break camps are forest-school inspired by having children engaged in outdoor self-directed play and educational activities all day long!

  • Ages 5-12  
  • Programs run from 9am-4pm 
  • Drop off and pick up from 8am-5pm   

Children will be exploring, making new friends and learning about nature in an interactive way by doing nature inspired crafts, games of exploration, and a reflection circle time around the fire.

We will concentrate on leadership and team building skills that will foster confidence. Children have so much to learn from nature so let us help your little one reconnect with everything nature has to offer.

Your little ones will be guided on their adventures by highly qualified, passionate leaders who are trained in Wilderness First Aid. Full Details



This traditional felting wool workshop will teach you the wet felting technique used for centuries for clothes, rugs, and even walls of yurts. Felted wool is considered the oldest known textile to man.

  • Learn how to create your own flat piece of nature-inspired felt from sheep's wool.
  • Participants will be educated on the different felting techniques and methods, types of wool used, as well as types of equipment used to prepare your wool for creating unique pieces of felt.
  • You may even dare to try your hand at spinning yarn on a Bressay spinning wheel.

Feel the inspiration of the surrounding forest while participating in a connecting to nature hike. Full Details

Link to GROWE Home Page