School Programs

“Provide hands-on, field-based outdoor education to visiting elementary and secondary schools”

Our school programs offer unique and immersive learning opportunities to connect youth with the rich environmental and cultural identity of the region and build a life-long appreciation and respect for the natural world.

What programs do you offer? We offer a variety of ecology programs for K-12 students – see below for the school programs we offer!

How long are your programs? Each program runs for about 1.5 hours. We will do our best to accommodate your preferred date and time, however some programs are tide and equipment dependent. Click here for local tide information.

How much do your programs cost? We offer our school programs for a flat rate of $250 per group. If you would like to book an additional program on the same day our rate is $200 per group.

How do we book a program? Please contact us to inquire about our availability or for more information – we will do our best to book you in for the ecology program of your choice.

Mudflat Ecology

The Tofino Mudflats Wildlife Management Area (TMWMA) is the only protected area in the District of Tofino, and is home to dozens of marine and terrestrial species, from shrimp, clams and packs of wolves to herons, owls and migrating shorebirds. Our mudflat ecology program provides a unique, hands-on introduction to this rich and complex ecosystem. Depending on the group, we can stay close to shore or take off our shoes and head out into the mud. Our mudflat walks will introduce you to the many invertebrates that are the base of this rich marine and terrestrial food web, from ghost shrimp to clams, and so much more!

In this hour and a half program, you are guaranteed to leave with a greater appreciation of this rich ecosystem and understand that it is so more than just mud. Our spring and fall tours also focus on the spectacular shorebird migrations, when migrating shorebirds, sometimes in excess of 30,000 birds per day, stop over on the Tofino Mudflats to feed and rest during their impressive annual migrations.

Our mudflat walks are suitable for all ages and can be easily tailored to meet the needs of your school group. All mudflat tours are based out of the Tofino Botanical Gardens and are delivered during low tides.

Intertidal Ecology

Our intertidal ecology program is a great way to learn about the fascinating creatures that inhabit our coastal tide pools. Tide pools exist in the rocky intertidal zone (intertidal: the area between the highest high tide and the lowest low tide). We have two high tides and two low tides every day (~6 hrs between each change); thus, half the time the rocky intertidal zone is underwater and half the time it is exposed to the air. Not only do the marine creatures that inhabit this rugged environment have to deal with fierce waves, cold water and marine predation when the tide is in, they also have to adapt to being out of the water for extended periods and avoid terrestrial predation when the tide is out.

Our intertidal walks draw on both scientific and cultural perspectives to provide a unique appreciation of this fascinating ecosystem. Intertidal walks are 1-1.5 hours in duration and are delivered during low tide.

Rainforest Ecology

Coastal temperate rainforests are one of the world’s rarest ecosystems, comprising less than 0.1% of the earth’s surface. British Columbia is home to more than 25% of the earth’s remaining old-growth temperate rainforests, with Clayoquot Sound containing the largest tracts of ancient rainforest on Vancouver Island.

Our rainforest ecology program will provide your group with a unique understanding of this important ecosystem, from the impressive diversity of flora and fauna to the interconnections with the marine environment, to the rich cultural history that defines the landscape to this day.

Our instructors draw on both scientific and cultural perspectives to provide you with a strong understanding of what makes these rainforests so significant.

Oceanography and Plankton Ecology

Plankton (from greek planktos, meaning wanderer) are marine organisms that live in the water column and cannot swim against the current. Some are photosynthetic and use the sun’s energy to grow, while others are true animals, eating other organisms to grow. In fact, most marine invertebrates start off their lives in planktonic form!  Though you may not always see them, plankton are out there, and some will become a feast for tiny fish or giant whales.

Our instructors will demonstrate some of the key protocols that oceanographers use to collect data on our world’s oceans, including collecting plankton for students to examine under a microscope. We’ll also discuss seasonal variation, food web dynamics, and the ecology of this fascinating group of organisms.

Invertebrate Diversity

Invertebrates – animals without a backbone – represent the majority of life in the ocean. In our invertebrate diversity program, students will explore the diversity of marine invertebrates found in Clayoquot Sound.

Instructors will provide a brief introduction to classification systems and characteristics and identification of species. Teaching will be tailored to the grade (curriculum) level and requirements of individual groups. This is a great introduction to the marine organisms found on the west coast! This program is delivered at low tide.

Avian Ecology

Birds – the toothless, feathered, egg-laying animals that inhabit just about every corner of the Earth – are amongst the most diverse group of chordates. In our avian ecology program, students will explore the diversity of songbirds, seabirds, and shorebirds found in Clayoquot Sound.

Instructors will provide a brief introduction to classification systems and characteristics and identification of species, with a focus on habitat preferences. Teaching will be tailored to the grade (curriculum) level and requirements of individual groups. This is a great introduction to the birds found on the west coast! BYOB(incoculars).

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