Raincoast Field School - Fall 2016 (Tofino)

This is the 3rd year that Raincoast Education Society has been collaborating with Wickaninnish Community School to deliver outdoor, experiential programs for Tofino's youth. Students of all 10 classes at the elementary school receive regular Field School excursions, and most are studying a year-round theme such as sustainability, biodiversity or local ecosystem dynamics. Each Field School outing is designed to complement the class theme. Adventures range from hiking on Meares Island to visiting Thornton Creek Hatchery, surfing, and learning about mudflat ecology!

- Ariane Batic
Raincoast Field School Coordinator for Tofino

Raincoast Field School, Fall Sessions (Dec 9)
Ms. Morris’s grade 5/6 class

This rainy day provided students with ideal weather conditions to practice their shelter building skills. After learning the basics of shelter location and overnight survival requirements, students got to decide which shelter would be best suited to the current weather conditions; an A-frame shelter or a wedge shelter. They worked in teams to build a weatherproof shelter using a tarp, rope, and outdoor knowledge.

Raincoast Field School, Fall Sessions (Dec 6)

Ms. Michaud’s grade 2/3 class with Ms. Morris’s grade 5/6 class

Big buddies and little buddies headed to Tonquin Beach for another step of the scientific method: data analysis and communicating results! Students brought the data they collected during their previous Field School session to answer the scientific question: Are there significant changes in the intertidal zone through the seasons? With data sheets in hand, students graphed out intertidal species abundance in the sand, and then communicated their results to other students. Nice work scientists!

Raincoast Field School, Fall Sessions (Dec 6)
Ms. Seibel’s grade 1 class

During this field school session, students headed out for a frosty morning beach seine. They learned how to handle animals with care, the importance of eelgrass habitat, and how to use observations to form predictions about species diversity through the year. Students worked together to pull the seine net up on to the beach. We discovered lots of perch, sculpin, crabs and shrimp! As always, a big Thank You to Tofino Sea Kayaking for letting the Raincoast Field School acess the beachfront.


Raincoast Field School, Fall Sessions (Dec. 5)
In Partnership with Tofino Heartwood School

What a perfect, sunny day to do a beach seine! Today, the Raincoast Field School partnered with the Tofino Heartwood School to learn about eelgrass communities and plankton. It is interesting to see how the eelgrass communities change with the seasons; compared to the summer, there were very few fish and crabs. We did get to see some shiner perch, speckled sand-dabs, and sculpins though! As always, thanks to Tofino Sea Kayaking for letting us access the beachfront.

Raincoast Field School, Fall Sessions (Dec. 2)
Ms. Hansen and Ms. Aujla’s grade 6/7 class

Students geared up and got out in the rain to learn all about the community of plants and animals in the mudflats. After learning about adaptations of mudflat organisms, students gained an understanding of the importance of mudflats for juvenile fishes, migrating birds and invertebrates. Afterwards, students warmed up while watching Finding Dory, and compared and contrasted the ecosystems in the story with the ecosystem they experienced in the mudflats.

Raincoast Field School, Fall Sessions (Nov. 30, and Dec 1)

Ms. Hovi’s grade 3/4 class and Mr. Grigg’s grade 4/5 class

Students headed to the school forest to reinforce their knowledge of food webs with a game of predator-prey! Students were given roles such as herbivore, omnivore or carnivore and their goal was to survive the duration of the game. To do so, they had to collect sufficient food and water while also working hard to aviod getting tagged (eaten) by someone in a higher trophic level!