Raincoast Field School - Fall 2015 (Tofino)

Fall Field School Day 1:
Ms. Andujo’s K/1 class

We spent the day in the Tofino Botanical Gardens for a muddy adventure! The students got mud behind their ears and between their toes, discovered the dynamic habitat of the mudflats and learned the importance of the changing tides. We tested a class hypothesis on mudflat biodiversity - most students’ hypothesis was that we would see 3-5 plants and animals - turns out we saw 10 different species!

Fall 2015 / Raincoast Field School, Day 2:
Ms. Morris's Grade 5/6 class

We went on a paddling trip (with our awesome guides from Paddle West Kayaking) to Meares Island's Big Tree Trail! The students proved the value of teamwork and cooperation while learning to negotiate tandem kayaks in the ebb and flow of Clayoquot Sound. Along the way, the class spotted a variety of coastal birds, including wading Great Blue Herons, Herring Gulls gulping down fish and dozens of Ruddy Turnstones feeding in the intertidal zone.

Fall 2015 - Raincoast Field School, Day 3:
Ms. Michaud and Mr. Clarke’s 2/3 class

With our fantastic instructors from Pacific Surf School, we spent a wonderful, wet day in the surf. The students made weather observations and worked together to create a weather forecast for the day. Then it was off into the surf for aspiring pro-surfers, wild boogie boarders, and crews of wave-splashers. Turns out the class weather predictions were accurate: it poured all day long. Good thing everyone was in a wetsuit!

Fall 2015 - Raincoast Field School, Day 4:
Ms. Burrows Grade 1/2 class

Along with our awesome instructors from Pacific Surf School, we spent a glorious day in the sunshine at North Chesterman’s Beach. Some students tried surfing for the first time and others became masters at high-speed boogie boarding. The students went on a hunt to find a new and unknown beach denizen to learn about, and then they learned to identify juvenile gulls and even found one chomping down on a crab!

Fall 2015 - Raincoast Field School, Day 5 & 6:
Mr. Grigg’s Grade 4/5 class & Ms. Hovi’s Grade 3/4 class

We headed out on stand up paddleboards (along with Tofino Paddle Surf guides) for kelp forest explorations! The students paddled out to the kelp forests, then got their snorkel-covered faces in the water to discover the wonders of the subtidal. They found urchins, kelp crabs, kelp isopods, various fishes, and of course lots of kelp! Then the students became teachers and worked in teams to draw a kelp forest creature and show off their knowledge of this incredible ecosystem.

Fall 2015 - Raincoast Field School, Day 7:
Ms. Renard’s Kindergarten class

We went out in the mudflats of the Tofino Botanical Gardens for some science-filled fun! The students learned the power of predictions in science, while testing hypotheses on weather and species diversity. Throughout the day, students worked together to spot birds in different habitats, investigate predator-prey relationships among birds, and explore the biology of key prey species like herring and crabs. They also learned about the ecological role of bacteria, both in the mudflats and in everyday life!

Fall 2015 - Raincoast Field School, Day 8 & 9:
Ms. Seibel’s grade 1/2 class & Ms. Hansen’s grade 6/7 class

We went out in the mudflats at the Tofino Sea Kayak docks for some sea creature collections! After a plankton tow, the students checked out the drifters of the sea up close with magnifying glasses and microscopes. Then everyone worked together to pull up a beach seine and investigate the wonders of the eelgrass beds. We found sculpins, perch, jellies and more, and scooped up a massive kelp crab with Ms. Seibel’s class! In addition to discovering eelgrass species, Ms. Hansen’s class also did a research project on mudflat diversity and constructed their own marine foodweb!