From left to right: Paul Healy (Past President of RTO/ERO 17), Glenn Conduit (President of RTO/ERO 17), Carole Allen (Grants and Scholarship Representative), Naomi Saunders (NVCA Manager of Education), Stephanie Zsolnay (NVCA Environmental Education Associate)
UTOPIA, Ontario (February 17, 2022) – The Tiffin Centre for Conservation will soon have a new mud kitchen for its Tiffin Nature Program. In a cheque presentation today, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) received $1,000 from the Retired Teachers of Ontario/Les enseignantes et enseignants retraités de l’Ontario District 17-Simcoe County (RTO/ERO District 17-Simcoe County).
The Tiffin Nature Program is geared towards children between 2.5 and 6. Part of the program encourages open-ended play in nature – using loose parts and freedom of choice to fuel children’s curiosity. By focusing on the process, children will build a relationship with nature, develop fine motor skills and learn how to cooperate with others who are also using the space.
“We’re very excited to start this project,” said Naomi Saunders, Manager of Education at NVCA. “The Tiffin Nature Program started last fall and children were using muffin tins, spatulas, pots and pans. The mud kitchen will provide a permanent creative space that mimics a kitchen, equipped with a sink, stove and counterspace. Add water, dirt, rocks, sticks and imagination and you never know what we will be cooking up!”
The mud kitchen will be built by NVCA’s Lands Team, while the funds from RTO/ERO District 17-Simcoe County will be used for purchasing wood and other materials.
“Every year, we set aside approximately $4,000 for grants that go towards local non-profit groups and organizations that have projects that would benefit children, seniors, or the community,” said Glenn Conduit, President of RTO/ERO District 17-Simcoe County. “The mud kitchen for the Tiffin Nature Program is one of ten projects we are supporting this year. The District 17 Executive is very pleased to support the creation of the mud kitchen which will be enjoyed by young students for many years to come.”
With a forest cabin as the homebase, the Tiffin Nature Program is located at the Tiffin Centre for Conservation, an ideal spot with over 300 acres of forests, meadows, wetlands and ponds to explore. Registration is now open for sessions in April, May and June. Please visit NVCA’s website to register or for more information about the program.