School Programs

How to Book

To learn more about program fees and available dates, please contact us using this online booking form.  Program descriptions are below.

Booking Form

 

Program descriptions

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

Watershed Warriors: All Grades

This travelling program is offered in partnership with the Cowichan Watershed Board. We engage students by exploring the riparian habitat of the Cowichan River, or a creek within walking distance of your school. Students will identify aquatic macro-invertebrates, fish, and amphibians caught in the river using scientific sampling techniques. Species diversity, niches, habitat dependence and the importance of connected habitats are discussed. Students may participate in a riparian clean-up after the sampling session. They will be introduced to the concept that the Cowichan River is the focal point of our watershed and that we depend on it for many reasons including: drinking water, water for agriculture and industry, fish for food and sport, entertainment and recreation, and tourism.

*This program is seasonal; June and September are the best months. We will assess your local creek for suitability prior to confirming the program.

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.

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 in half, with one half doing outside activities and one half inside activates. 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 are outside and 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 are able to accommodate two classes at once. We can help set up a schedule that works for two class visits.

Questions?  Use the contact form or telephone (250) 597-2288.