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



Our guided night hike is the perfect family or group evening activity. On our interactive journey through the forest we will demonstrate owl calls while learning the different local species and their calls. You will have the unique experience of hiking by the full moon and stars with limited light pollution! Your highly educated and energetic guides will lead you on an adventure through the forest that will have all your senses tingling from the sights and sounds of the fascinating and beautiful 116 acre property of Five Oaks at night. 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




The Carolinian Forest is home to around 400 species of migratory birds. Bird watching along the Grand River and White Man’s Creek lends itself to witnessing unique and rare birds rarely seen anywhere else. Our guides aim to share our love of birds as we lead you through some basic bird identification skills and key identifying features to look for while birding. During our hike we will stop at bird feeders to observe local bird species that are unique to the shores of the Grand River.  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