School Programs

Program descriptions


Preschool: Tiny Tentacles

This one-hour program includes a story time, ocean-related craft, and a guided hands-on exploration of some of the squishy, slippery, and pokey creatures in our touch tank. On the beach we have an interpretive scavenger hunt, helping participants to see the diversity of creatures and objects they can find on a beach, while getting a bit muddy too!

*Please note this is the only program we offer at $4 per participant to increase access for Cowichan Valley families. 

Grades K – 3: Mud Buddies

In this program, students help “Eddy the Eelgrass” get to know his new home. He is a new transplant to Cowichan Estuary and needs a little help from the students to become familiar with his new habitat. Students are introduced to the plants and animals of the estuary by visiting stations on intertidal mudflats, the estuary shoreline and the viewing tower. For younger students, the importance of estuaries and how to protect them is taught thorough hands-on exploration and games. Older students can try their hand at more difficult scientific activities such as utilizing plankton nets and microscopes to see first hand the base of the ocean food web (only available at high tide), designing and testing a hypothesis using shore crabs, and beach surveys.

Program length: 60- 90 minutes

Grades 4 – 12: Estuary Explorers

This program is scaled to appropriate content and challenge for the grade level of students visiting and desired learning outcomes. In this program we take a watershed focus and guide students through understanding how water systems are connected. An engaging modelling experiment will help students relate to the concept of watersheds and human use impacts upon their own watershed. We also learn about some of the interesting creatures to be found in our touch tank and salmon tank. The outside focus of this program is to expose the students to the abundance of life in the estuary through a variety of scientific techniques such as mud digs in the tidal mudflats, beach seines, plankton tows, and bird surveys. Traditional Aboriginal uses of the estuary are also be discussed throughout the activities. Through a combination of direct and indirect instruction, students will be guided to create their own meaning as to the importance of the estuary and its health.

Program length: 90 minutes

Grades 5-12: Immersed In Nature Restoration Program

Programs are designed to immerse students in a deeper understanding of and relationship with the plant and animal life in our watersheds and intertidal zone.
Restoration programming will focus on ways of knowing plant biology/ecology and how to support the health of the fresh water and intertidal ecosystems in which they thrive. Students are guided by our restoration educators, and local biologist in placed-based learning activities, including hands on restoration, that cultivate curiosity and learning in action. Students will be guided to create their own meaning as they come to understand the complex interactions of life in the watershed. Programs close with a knowledge sharing circle, and inquiry-based conversations about how to continue building relationships with and knowledge of native plants to support ecosystem health.  Our hope is that we can provide students with opportunities to return and monitor and observe the positive changes made with their help! 
This program is scaled to appropriate content and challenge for the grade level of students. We welcome the opportunity to add in program elements specific to your curriculum needs, and ask that you send us details with your booking

Program Length: 120 minutes


Home Learner Families:

We are happy to accommodate hands-on learning to meet learning outcomes utilizing our specialized equipment and site access. Please contact us to set up a program that works for your group.


General Information:

Our school programs are scaled to grade level. We split the class into groups of approximately 10, with two groups doing outside activities while one group can investigate inside the Nature Centre with one of our staff. Thus, activities we can do are dependent on the season, the tide, and the weather. Some program components are only available during a low tide, others are best suited to high tide. We are happy to work with you to find the right conditions for your desired class experience.

All programs involve outside activities, often in the mud. Participants will need to bring boots, dress for the weather including rain gear or sun hats, and a change of clothes in case they get very muddy.

We know the challenges teachers face with busing costs, and we do have funding available to assist with busing costs if needed. Please email for more information.

Please note that we accept groups up to 30 students and require a minimum payment for 12 learners.



We have created progamming following guidance from the BC Ministry of Health, BC Centre for Disease Control and Worksafe BC and are looking forward to hosting your group in a safe and fun way! Please find our updated Covid Policy below.

Covid Policy for School Programs 2020


How to Book

To learn about program fees and available dates, please use the contact form or give us a call at (250) 597-2288.

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