Columbia River Field School

Discover the Columbia: Paddle, learn, and make friends from across the Basin in an immersive two-week experience.

The Columbia River Field School is an immersive learning experience for students ages 15-18. Over 15 days, students travel the Columbia River by canoe while exploring important aspects of the river’s story through lessons in geography, ecology, hydrology, technology, economics, politics, history and culture.
 

Applications closed for 2022



Participants gain certifications from the Recreational Canoe Association of BC and learn from a diverse set of qualified experts from Indigenous leaders and knowledge keepers, scientists and writers, to life-long Basin residents and government officials. The Field School is an opportunity to meet other young people from all over the Basin who are passionate about our wild places and conservation on and off the water.




On our journey, we will paddle key sections of the river and visit important places including the headwaters, the Columbia Wetlands, historic First Nations’ sites, dams and reservoirs, and more. The Field School is designed to give you a much-needed understanding of the complex challenges and opportunities of the Columbia, so you can help shape its future. Expect to gain new friends, rich memories, and a holistic understanding of the river that flows through the place you call home.
 



Discover our itinerary

 
The Field School explores the Canadian part of the Columbia River by canoe, from the headwaters at Canal Flats, through Columbia Lake and the Columbia Wetlands, the Revelstoke area, the Arrow Lakes Reservoir, and to the confluence with the Kootenay River at Castlegar. Participants learn canoe skills and safety at the start of the journey, camp out on the riverside along the way, and paddle important sections of the mighty Columbia.

Along the way, place-based workshops, speakers, activities, and discussions will cover the history and the future of the river, including:
 
Key species and ecology: River and wetland ecosystems, endangered and threatened species, invasive species
Water quality and quantity: Flows, flooding, glaciers and snowpack, water quality monitoring, nutrient flows
Dams and hydroelectricity: Energy and environment, reservoirs and flood control, the history of dam construction
Columbia River Treaty: Impacts and opportunities, the ongoing renegotiation
Climate change: Causes, current and projected impacts, challenges and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation
Youth on policy: What can young people do to have a voice in decision making?


“I found that many of the lessons learned when canoeing can be applied to other aspects of life, such as trust, teamwork, and communication.”



 
For more info, please contact Graeme Lee Rowlands (Program Manager) at fieldschool@wildsight.ca or Monica Nissen (Wildsight’s Education Director) at monica@wildsight.ca. You can also leave a voicemail for Graeme at 250.427.9325 extension 230.

Wildsight thanks the Arjay R. and Frances F. Miller Foundation, the Columbia Basin Trust, the Province of B.C., the Real Estate Foundation of BC, the Recreational Canoe Association of BC, and School District 8 for making the Columbia River Field School and Teach the Columbia possible.

 

 


Education News

Teaching the Columbia

September 29, 2022
It was the last evening of our four-day, three-night adventure. Peaceful calm was in camp as chores were wrapping up, bellies full from…Read More 
"I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. These 12 days are some of the best in my life, and the memories and…Read More 

The chickadee's song

September 28, 2022
It’s a warm day in early September and my daughter and I are exploring the nature park behind our house. While we walk the…Read More 
Ten young women returning from a science-wilderness expedition will share what they've learned at a public event Thursday, September 1st.The group began…Read More 
It was the views that cinched the trip for Tanner Banman. The views, and the smell of rain mixed with pure mountain air that made…Read More 
“This experience has become one of the building blocks of my future life, in relation to both my career path and my personal endeavours.” - Faye…Read More 
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Want to protect wildlife, clean water and wild spaces? Volunteer with us! Wildsight volunteers are a very special group of people who give generously of their time to stuff envelopes, attend rallies, help run events, put up posters, keep tabs on forestry practices in their communities and participate in citizen science initiatives.

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