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Winter home of the Snow Geese and one of Canada's top birdwatching sites.
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School Programs

The British Columbia Waterfowl Society school programs are delivered to up to 5,000 students a year, many of which visit the bird observation tower featured above.


(NEW) Note that we have an established quota for the number of visitors on-site at any time, and that if the quota is already reached all other visitors will be turned away, so plan your visit.

Preschool and Day Care Center Visits

We do not do programs for children below Kindergarten age, but welcome their visits. Please phone ahead of time to let us know you are coming, and ask for tips on how to prepare your group and if there are any new handouts for this age group.

Self-guided Groups

We prefer that teachers book the formal Sanctuary programs (below) and register ahead of time to get their date of choice, discounts and a staff tour guide. However, sometimes classes end up considering a self-guided tour for various reasons. As long as the students are supervised and activities are suitable for the curriculum and do not ignore the Sanctuary rules, this is acceptable. Self-guided groups do not get a discount or access to the Museum and do not get parking spots reserved. Please phone ahead to discuss the dates and times you are considering, so that we can place you in the overall schedule on a day when there are not too many other students or visitors already using our facilities.

Formal Sanctuary Programs

Sanctuary programs require pre-registration to reserve a time slot, staff guides and adequate parking for your class. Signing up for a program provides your class with a 50% discount, access to the Lecture Hall and its Museum collections, and a staff biologist to provide a guided walk. Note we take only one class at a time, and some seasons such as October/Novermber and April/May are booked early in the season so call well ahead of time to reserve a time.

K-7 Nature Walks: Learn about the diversity of local wildlife and habitats by exploring the trails and viewing the estuary from the observation tower. Guides discuss the importance of the estuary and the role of the Sanctuary, bird identification, wildlife needs and habitats, and special terms used. Students should be suitably dressed for the weather, as most of this 1.5 hour program is outside. This program is adjusted for different grades and can includes themes such as the migration of birds, winter survival, habitats and communities, and animal life cycles. Note we only take one class at a time.
Visit our Resource Page for the series of resource booklets to help explore different themes before and after your visit.

Migration Studies- These studies also require pre-registration to reserve a time slot and discounts and staff assistance. This program is more suitable for middle and secondary students. Learnabout how researchers census and manage migratory bird populations across North America, and how wildlife habitat is protected. Students practice survey techniques,waterfowl identification and the use oclassification keys. Visit our Resources Page and our Links page for more information on migration, migratory birds and global conservation initiatives.

Specialty Presentations for Secondary, College and University Classes- As with the above,call ahead to book a time slot and to obtain a discount and a staff leader to take student through a more technical program about conservation and management. At the time of booking, please indicate which subject the class is taking. Our staff are versatile, and can help focus your students on themes that address Biology, Social Studies and Geography curriculum topics or Conservation and Resource Management as long as it is pertinent to the management of the Sanctuary.

Work experience placements are available for a limited number of students each year. Enquire at the Gift Shop about opportunities.

Pertinent BC Science IRP's (2005) and Linking to the New Curriculum (2015):

K-1 Life Science : Characteristics of living things; Properties of objects and materials; Surroundings;Needs of living things; Daily and seasonal changes.
2-3 Life Science : Animal growth and changes; Air, water and soil; Plant growth and changes.
4 Life Science: Habitats and communities; Weather.
Earth and Space Science Renewable and non-renewable resources.
6 Life Science : Diversity of life.
7 Life Science : Ecosystems; Earth's crust.

Biology 11 (Ecology, and the factors affecting populations)
Social Studies 11 (Environmental issues)
Biology 8 (The diversity of biomes, adaptations of animals to their environment, impacts of the use of natural resources)
Geography 12 (People and the environment; sustainability and the use of renewable and non-renewable resources).

Class Sponsors

(NEW) For the 2020/21 school year we have temporarily put the sponsor program on hold.

We sometimes have sponsors totally or partially fund admission and/or bus costs for individual classes requiring assistance. HSBC Bank Canada sponsored hundreds of classes for visits to the Sanctuary between 2006 and 2013, for example, and Nature Canada has sponsored class visits since then through their NatureHood Program.
See what classes have said about their program!


Our Museum

Scheduled class bookings often include a short visit to our Lecture Hall, with its museum collections of taxidermy birds, eggs, furs, bones and posters. The Leo Malfet Bird Collection takes up the majority of the space and is housed in cabinets. In 1958, the Malfet family gave their late father's collection of 509 (taxidermy mounted) birds to the Carnegie Museum. The British Columbia Waterfowl Society was chosen as the most appropriate recipient and has taken care of the collection since January 31st, 1984.

Ideas &


Explore our teacher handouts on our Resources page for ideas for before and after your visits. Teachers may also be interested in exploring our Kids & Nature page which provides some basic themes to explore every month with children.


Our school programs are offered at a discounted rate, with most delivery costs borne by our Society. However, we have sometimes received contributions from community partners from time to time to improve programs or displays. In 2000, for example, we received funding from the Vancouver Foundation and the BC Habitat Conservation Trust Fund.

Ducks Unlimited Canada also remains an active education partner since 2000, providing funding or sponsors, or technical assistance with website, interpretive designs and resource materials to help strengthen our programs about wetland conservation.

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