Wake your students up

Get them outdoors and up close and personal with nature

Scout Island Nature Centre offers school programs for grades K-12 from September through June. The programs always offer direct experience with nature and may take place at the Nature Centre, at your school or in the River Valley. The programs offered change with the season and with staff availability. All our programs are linked to Prescribed Learning Outcomes for each grade. Depending on the time of year, the programs are led by Environmental Educators Sue Hemphill and others or by trained teacher-naturalists (university students on staff from May-August). We encourage teachers to contact us to discuss specifics of your field trip – information and activities you would like to have included. We can even arrange an overnight visit for your class. We offer programs in the following subject areas:

  • Adaptations
  • Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • Energy Transfer
  • Evolution/classification
  • Invasive Species
  • Aquatic and Terrestrial Invertebrates
  • Plants
  • Salmonids
  • Vertebrates (birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles)
  • Ecological Footprint
  • Nature journaling and story writing
  • Programs developed by biologist/teacher Sue Hemphill, Environmental Educator at Scout Island Nature Centre.

General Information

These programs are possible because of generous donations from:

  • School District 27
  • City of Williams Lake
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
  • Community members and businesses
  • Volunteer time from the Williams Lake Field Naturalists

Cost: Programs are free to classes from School District 27. Other schools pay $4 per student. Minimum cost is $30 for a program.

For more information about this season's programs or to book a program call 250-398-8532 or e-mail .

Be Prepared:

  • Dress for changeable weather including cold weather
  • Wear good walking shoes or boots for wet weather
  • Bring water, sun hats, sun block as needed


We are guests in the home of the plants and animals living at the Nature Centre. We admire and observe them and then leave them as found.

  • Encourage students to pack No Garbage Lunches and Snacks
  • You are responsible for your own garbage and recyclables (take them home with you). We do have a compost bucket.
  • No electronics should be used by students during any part of the program. We want students interacting with nature directly, not through a camera
  • Stay on trails unless we are doing an exploration off trail

Scout Island Nature Centre works hard at shrinking its Ecological Footprint so that the we are in balance with the web of life. You can help us by packing No Garbage Lunches and Snacks when you visit.


at-dipping-dock-350Primary Programs

  • Spring school programs (May and June): 1½ hour sessions for grades K-3 led by summer staff (university students) on a variety of natural history topics at the Nature Centre or at your school (spring brochure available May 1 each year)
  • Winter (November-April) Half- or full-day sessions at the Nature Centre, led by Environmental Educator: Snow play, tracking, winter birds

Intermediate Programs

  1. Spring school programs (May and June): 2 hour sessions for grades 4 -7 led by summer staff (university students) on a variety of natural history topics at the Nature Centre or at your school (see spring brochure available May 1 each year)
  2. Spring and Fall (September-October and May-June): Half- or full-day sessions at the Nature Centre or in the River Valley, led by Environmental Educator. Ecosystem comparison - aquatic and terrestrial - including field exercises, games and focused walks.
  3. Winter (November-April): Half or full day sessions at the Nature Centre or in the River Valley led by Environmental Educator
  • Winter landscapes at Nature Centre (tracks, identifying plants in winter, adaptations)
  • Intertidal ecosystem and Stream to Ocean connections using Nature Centre tanks
  • Bats and Owls (school or Nature Centre program)

For more information about this season's programs or to book a program call 250-398-8532 or e-mail .

High School Programs

Encourage your grade 7-9 students to join the Greenologists and your grade 10-12 students to join the Enviro Club. We are working with both of these groups on stewardship, citizen science and outdoor adventure activities and priojects. Check out their Facebook pages to see these students in action.

Expeditions to either Scout Island or the Williams Lake River Valley give students the opportunity to investigate first hand the ecosystems they live in. The experiences help them practice and understand Life Science concepts covered in Grade 8-10 Science, Grade 11 Biology, Science and Technology 11, Geography 12. Investigating a variety of materials and outdoor habitats in these programs will reinforce concepts you are working on in class. I will work with you to meet your curriculum needs and would be pleased to do a follow-up classroom visit or provide pre- and post-field trip ideas.
Grade 8 can focus on Water Systems using our local marsh, river and lake and the salt water tank.
Grade 9 can focus on reproduction in aquatic/terrestrial invertebrates or plants using live materials and observation.
Grade 10 can focus on Sustainability of Ecosystems or Energy Transfer in Natural Systems using the ecosystems in the valley or at the Nature Centre.
Grade 11 Biology can focus on identifying plants or aquatic invertebrates (fresh and salt water) using keys they develop. They can review taxonomy while doing this or focus on ecology using the web of life so apparent in the marsh.
Science and Technology 11 can focus on environmental issues related to the animals and plants they come in contact with in the valley or nature centre and can also integrate ideas related to natural resource use in our region.
Geography 12 can focus on the environmental impacts of human activities.

I will integrate concepts related to Ecological Footprints into each field trip. If you would like to emphasize Eco Print concepts, I can do a pre- or post-field trip session in class, having each student measure her personal Eco Print and design ways to reduce it.

pulling-in-chinook-350Grades 9-12 Students — Field Trips related to Salmon and Watersheds
Classes can take part in one-day spring field trips to the Horsefly or Quesnel River. Activities on these trips may include fry counts, fry releases, stream assessments and tree planting.
Individual students can apply to take part in the three-day September “Salmon Trip” at Gavin Lake and Quesnel River Research Centre that offers a variety of activities including brood stock collection, aquatic insect research, stream surveys, etc. Students may also choose to help with Rivers Day Celebrations, festivals (act as leaders) and/or work directly with university students doing research in the area.
Biology teachers and high school students should contact Sue to discuss how to be involved in this program.



The September 2012 trip

For more information about this season's programs or to book a program call 250-398-8532 or e-mail .

releasing-salmon-fry-350Salmonids in the Classroom Program

Scout Island Nature Centre provides this program for Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This program is open to grades K-12 at no cost to the school (SD 27 and private schools). Each classroom has its own tank and all the equipment necessary to raise Chinook fry from the eyed egg stage through to the fry stage. We provide support to the teacher and class through advice, help with tank maintenance and in-class lessons related to each life stage. Classes that do not want to host a tank can also follow the salmon using the tank at the Nature House and using the excellent materials listed below. We will provide the same lessons when the class visits the Nature House. Late spring, all the classes are invited to Scout Island to release fry and take part in a variety of related activities. Contact the Nature Centre early in September to join this program. This is a great program for integrating environmental learning into all curriculum areas. There are easy-to-use resource materials for grades K-12 available online.

  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada Learning Resources
  • DFO Stream to Sea education program
  • The Pacific Streamkeepers Federation

For more information about this season's programs or to book a program call 250-398-8532 or e-mail .

Language Arts and Visual Arts Programs

"Spawning Stories Hatching Change" is designed for primary, intermediate and high school English classes. The program includes:

  • Visit to the Nature Centre lasting from 2-4 hours (teacher’s choice)
  • Nature exploring and enjoyment related to the season of the visit
  • Guided story-writing related to the experience

Be sure to check the Spawning Stories Hatching Change section of this web site for examples of past student work.


Art in Nature. Bring your students to the Nature Centre in any season. We will do a nature walk that fits the season and then the students can create indoors or out. The displays in the Nature House offer realistic models for inspiration.

For more information about this season's programs or to book a program call 250-398-8532 or e-mail .

Environmental Education at Your School

The Environmental Educators will work with pre schools and elementary schools to develop activities that include outdoor nature exploration throughout the year in a variety of ways. The goal is to help you design a class or school program that incorporates outdoor activities and appreciation of nature in language arts, fine arts, science, and math. We will help you explore the areas on your school grounds and nearby forest or wetland on a regular basis - to study, enjoy, and take care of the natural world.

Scout Island Nature Centre
Scout Island Nature Centre
1305 A Borland Rd.
Williams Lake, BC
V2G 5K5 Williams Lake