Raincoast Field School

“The goal of the Raincoast Field School is to increase outdoor learning opportunities for students in our local public schools.”

Raincoast Field School is an outdoor education program designed to meet BC curricular outcomes while providing hands-on learning opportunities for students in our local public schools. It is a collaborative program developed by the Raincoast Education Society (RES) and the teachers at the Tofino and Ucluelet elementary schools.

Field trips and activities are led by a qualified full-time instructor with extensive experience as a science educator, and encompass multiple aspects of curricular outcomes including science, numeracy and literacy. Many outings also feature traditional Aboriginal knowledge provided by a First Nations Cultural Educator. The program is constantly evolving, with lessons being built or recycled to best fit with the unique themes of each class as determined by the teacher.

Get Outside!

Most students in Canada learn about nature and the environment in a classroom. Here on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, we are lucky to live in one of the most pristine and beautiful ecosystems in the world; a place where nature is right outside and rubber boots are often a better teaching tool than a textbook.

Raincoast Field School takes science out of the classroom and into the forest, the ocean, the beach or the bog….places where students can touch and feel and listen and learn, right in their own backyards.

Making Connections

Raincoast Field School is designed to complement classroom lessons taught by each class’s teacher. The program provides education about the environment in a natural setting and incorporates physical education while reviewing mathematics, English language, arts and social studies concepts that students have learned in class.

Ultimately, the material covered in each class is based on specific requests from the teacher which the Field School instructor then incorporates into a unique activity or lesson plan.


Full programming is provided to the Wickaninnish Community School in Tofino (since 2014) and the Ucluelet Elementary School (since 2018) through Raincoast Field School. Each and every student from K to grade 7 gets to participate in at least one field trip per month during the school year – that’s over 200 Raincoast Field School trips delivered per year!

Follow along

Raincoast Field School programs are currently being run in Tofino and Ucluelet elementary schools (K-7). Follow along with our programs below.


Nov 12th Ocean Acidification Lab

The grade 7 students have been working on the scientific method in class and reviewing chemical reactions. We show the kids how chemical reactions constantly take place in the environment!
The students trekked down to Tonquin beach to first explore the carbon cycle, later creating it out of collected materials found around the beach. We explored how excess amounts of CO2 are entering the atmosphere and how the ocean acts as a huge carbon sink.
Back in the classroom we performed a chemical reactions lab involving an acid (vinegar) and base (seashells) to understand the consequences of an increasing ocean acidity.
#outdooreducation #stem #stemeducation #tofinofieldschool #raincoastfieldschool #naturekids #natureschool #learningoutside #tipsforteachers #lessonplans #experientiallearning #exploreoutdoors #getoutside #optoutdoors #optoutside #theoutdoors #outdoorclassroom #fieldtrips

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Oct 21 Expanding on our bug knowledge.
Last school outing we explored the forest trying to find as many bugs as possible. This time round we focused our attention on the physical and behavioral traits of ants and spiders. We crawled around the classroom hiding out from the rain exploring differences in how spiders and ants look, feed, and protect their homes! The students created some beautiful drawings incorporating their newly gained knowledge of animal anatomy and habitat. We wrapped up with a quick overview of how important these two species are to their environment.
#bugs #spiders #ants #learning #arthropods #spookycreatures #tofinofieldschool #tofino #rainydays #classroom #teaching #science #scienceteachers

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Nov 8th Bats

Did you know that bats can be almost as large as an eagle and as small as a bumblebee? There at least eight different species of bats that can be found on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Students learned all about bats and bat adaptations. Then students took flight outside to learn how bats find their prey using echolocation and how mamma bats find their babies in their roost. You bat-ter believe it!

#ukeefieldschool #raincoastfieldschool #outdooreducation #outdoored #experientiallearning #activelearning #naturebasedlearning #stemforkids #steamed #stemlearning #teachingtips #handsonlearning #stem #fieldtrips #theworldisourclassroom #natureplay #learningoutside #natureschool #ucluelet #raincoast #education

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Nov 4th Bats

Did you know that bats are more closely related to humans than they are to mice and birds? Bats are mammals in the family Chiroptera which means "hand fly". Bats have bones similar to humans but their wings are made up of finger like projections covered with skin. Kindergarten students learned all about the amazing world of bats. We learned where they live, how they find food in the dark using echolocation, how they find their babies in their caves and even what types of special adaptations or tools they have to help them survive. The kids "batted" this one out of the park today!

#Ukeefieldschool #ucluelet #raincoastfieldschool #bats #learningoutside #handson #experiential #learning #schoolprograms #fieldtrips #adventure #getoutside #gooutside #batmask #kidsactivities #educationalactivities

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Oct 29th
Water Cycle

Willamina the water drop, dropped into the Grade 2 class to teach the students all about the movement of water through the water cycle. After reading a story about Willamina, students discussed why water was important and some of the places that Willamina likes to hide. Outside, students played a game on the playground to show the different stages of the water cycle.
#ukeefieldschool #outdooreducation #outdoorclassroom #watercycle #raincoastfieldschool #getoutside #learning #learningoutdoors #teachers #lessons #ucluelet #vancouverisland

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Raincoast Field School is made possible with the support of the administration and teaching staff at local schools, and the generosity of organizations, businesses, and individuals within the community. The curriculum is designed to build upon itself each year, representing a  long-term commitment to the students. Our instructors are highly skilled educators in a full-time position with the RES, committed to the program, and the community they teach in.

Need help?

If you have any questions about our courses, our events, or just us in general – we’re here to help!