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.
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.
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. 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 already needing our facilities.
Formal Sanctuary Programs
Sanctuary programs require pre-registration to reserve a time slot for your class, and provide 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 conservation-oriented program. 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.
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).
We sometimes have sponsors to fund admission and 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 through their NatureHood Program. Please email us if you would like to be put on a waiting list for future sponsor funding sources for your class. See what the classes said about their program!