M'wade Gaazhi Namaadibinaanowin Outdoor Classroom

The M'wade Gaazhi Namaadibinaanowin Outdoor Classroom (Anishinaabemowin for "A Place Where They Sit Down") currently seats around 8-10 people. We plan to add more seating in the spring/summer of 2020.

Outdoor Classroom on Lakehead Campus

To book the space, please email coordinator.sustainability@lakeheadu.ca

The space can also be used for events and larger classes if booked through conference services. See photos below of possible seating arrangements.

Another photo of the outdoor classroom

Lakehead University’s Office of Sustainability, in partnership with EcoSuperior Environmental Programs, conducted a Depave Paradise project on the Thunder Bay campus in the summer of 2019.

The project removed 100 m² of deteriorating grey infrastructure on campus land and replaced it with native plants. Doing so increased the infiltration rate of the courtyard, recharges our groundwater supply, helps protect Lake Superior water quality, helps cool our campus, and provides habitat for pollinators and insects. 

This space was transformed into an outdoor classroom with four demonstration gardens for use by undergraduate and graduate courses, as well as community events. Interpretive signage educates the community about the environmental benefits (stormwater management) of the space, and also identified native plants in the demonstration gardens and their traditional uses, including Indigenous traditional knowledge of plants. 

The four demonstration gardens represent: boreal ecosystem, tallgrass prairie ecosystem, medicinal and edible uses of plants, and pollinator-friendly plants.

Students, faculty, staff, and community members helped remove the concrete and design and install the demonstration gardens.

A photo of the space before the upgradeThe CB Courtyard prior to depaving. This courtyard was almost 50 years old.


Volunteers removing old debris from the spaceVolunteers help remove the concrete and "liberate the soil."


Volunteers removing old concreteVolunteers help remove the concrete and "liberate the soil." Over 100 square metres were removed.


Volunteer team photoVolunteers get their boots on the ground and shovels in the dirt planting the demonstration gardens.


Volunteers planting flowers and other plants such as shrubberies Almost 200 plants were planted, with more to come!



Numerous studies have documented the benefits of the outdoors on student learning, such as increased focus, decreased stress, and increased ecological knowledge. This project is in the old Centennial Building courtyard.The from concrete to classroom infographic which displays stormwater drainage strategies

This project was made possible by: Depave Paradise, TD Friends of the Environment, Lakehead University, and EcoSuperior Environmental Programs.