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Camp Kawartha is known for its exciting summer camp and environmental education programs but its new Environment Centre will make outdoor education come to life for students in a whole new way. Located 1.5 hours northwest of Toronto in Peterborough, Ont., on a 200-acre wildlife sanctuary owned by Trent University, the Centre is a complete eco-haven for environmental learning. Designed and built by students in Fleming College’s Sustainable Building Design and Construction (SBDC) program, it will offer a truly green teaching facility for outdoor and environmental educators.

The 2,000-square-foot structure incorporates dozens of sustainable features: straw bale walls, hempcrete and straw slip insulation, grid-tied solar panels (producing more energy than the building uses in a year!), composting toilets, geothermal heating and radiant flooring, a living green roof, solar-heated water and Ontario’s only thatch roof. The motivation? Camp Kawartha’s Executive Director Jacob Rodenburg says, “Seeing alternative energy in action, to be inspired by the natural world and to provide children with the hope for a greener future, is one of the most valuable tasks we can embark on.”

Not sure you would recognize strawbale construction if you saw it? Click the link below to see shots of the building process and its remarkable green design features.