Bringing Education Back to Nature
The Arthur Ford Nature Park consists of a butterfly garden, an ornamental grass garden, a hummingbird garden, a bird garden, an arboretum of over 50 species of trees, an amphitheatre, and a school community growing plot. It also includes several trees and benches inherited from Penny Lane Park.
The park is open to the public year-round while school is not in session. Come and explore this unique park at your leisure:
- enjoy walking around the gardens or sit and relax on one of our many benches
- take a stroll to examine the tree identifications
- have a family picnic on the grounds!
The school administration, school committees, school board, and the Arthur Ford Outdoor Educational Foundation work closely with teachers to establish outdoor educational opportunities and put natural sciences back into education.
The Arthur Ford Nature Park has also joined the pollinator pathway through London. Our hope is to raise awareness of pollinators and pollination throughout the Westmount community and Arthur Ford Public School community. A pollinator pathway is a string of pollinator habitats that together form networks for pollinator use.
Where to find the park
The Arthur Ford Nature Park is located at 617 Viscount Road in London, Ontario (behind Arthur Ford Public School).
History of the Arthur Ford Nature Park
In the 1980’s Tom McClenaghan, Principal of Arthur Ford had a desire to renew the original concept of kindergarten – a children’s garden for learning. He saw a large unused area of the school’s property and envisioned this garden! He brought his idea to the Arthur Ford Home and School Association in September 1985. Sue Epstein the president of the Arthur Ford Home and School Association worked with Mr. McClenaghan and together (along with volunteers) created the Arthur Ford Outdoor Educational Foundation Inc. – a non-profit charitable organization.
This park is In keeping with the original dream of Tom McClenaghan in creating “a children’s garden for learning” and the original contract signed with The London Board of Education (predecessor to the Thames Valley District School Board).
The Arthur Ford Nature Park ground-breaking was held in October of 1988. At that time no other public school in Canada had ever undertaken such an ambitious project to link education and nature together directly on an elementary school campus. This park was truly a pioneering venture, much ahead of its time.
The Thames Valley District School Board has since taken similar initiatives to create nature parks on other school properties throughout London.
Please visit our website
If you are interested in a tour of the park or have questions or comments please contact us at AFnaturepark@gmail.com
Volunteers are always welcome!