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List of programs


Teachers and university groups can participate in any of our field study programs as professional development. Come and experience our field trips and learn how to design your own.  It's a great opportunity for teachers not trained in math or science to become more confident with the subjects. Each program can be modified to accentuated the areas you wish to focus on (biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, collaborative work, language arts, and interpretive skills). 


Programs are offered year round at the Barrier Lake Field Station. Over 75,000 students and teachers have participated in this program since its inception in 1988.

As an overall theme, U of C Biogeoscience Institute School Programs incorporate the ‘nature of science’ framework onto a field study. Each program can be adapted to address specific curricular goals of individual groups. Depending on the teacher’s input and time available, some groups go further than others, e.g. completing a statistical analysis of their data (student T test) to determine significance of data; collect additional data for post-trip projects; student presentations back at school, etc. Schools travelling a distance to BGS may arrange for arrival the evening before the trip. We can also accommodate groups wishing to stay longer, or running self-directed programs. 

The following field study programs are currently available:

Science 10 – Biomes of Canadian Rockies & Foothills 

A 2-day program that explores climate, forest patterns, and change around Barrier Lake; a meeting spot of climatic zones at the edge of the Rockies and Foothills, resulting in a mix of montane, sub-alpine, and foothill forests. READ MORE

Biology 20AP/IB – Inquiry Study of Ecosystems (Choice of 3 modules: A. Streams, B. Forests, or C. Winter ecosystems)
A 2-day program where students work together to explore, develop, and implement an ecological field study of their own design, in order to develop an understanding of stream, forest, or winter ecosystem processes. READ MORE

Biology 20/AP/IB Streams and Forest Ecosystems 

A 2-day program where students spend their first day studying a river's physical attributes, water chemistry and invertebrate population. On their second day they compare the terrestrial diversity of two different forests (aspen vs. pine). READ MORE

Environmental Science AP - What can you grow in the mountains of Kananaskis? 

A 2-day program with a special focus on soil biology & chemistry, geology and glaciology. After comparing soil texture & ground cover diversity at two sites, students return to the lab for soil chemistry analysis. Students can then assess what can grow in the soil they've studied. An overview of the geology of Kananaksis and minerals present, as well as importance of glacial features is discussed from a great vantage point in the Rockies. READ MORE

Biology 30/AP/IB – Succession: Competition, Change, or Chance 

A 2-day program that examines various models of succession, competition, disturbance (e.g., effects of flood, fire, and other disturbances), and change in Kananaskis forests. READ MORE

Day trips (all levels - Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, etc.) 

We offer inquiry-samplers, where students ask a question then go outside and test it. They complete their analysis when back at their school. We also offer interpretive science walks/snowshoe. READ MORE

If you are interested in an outdoor field trip not listed here, please contact our school program coordinators ( or to discuss your ideas. We are always willing to offer new programs.