April 30, 2024

Tofino: The ultimate outdoor classroom

Tofino is an end-of-the-road playground set in paradise, and here, playing is for kids of all ages.

It’s easy to imagine visiting for leisure or adventure, while learning is often prescribed and seldom synonymous with a holiday – except in Tofino. Here, learning and playing intermingle!

There are some small but mighty Tofino organizations offering education programs, often at little to no cost to learners:

  • The Raincoast Education Society offers a calendar of free, family-friendly summer opportunities (like beach seines and rainforest walks) and adult-learning weekend workshops throughout the year.
  • Cedar Coast Art and Ecology, a quick boat ride from Tofino on Vargas Island, has various nature education programs for groups of adults and students.
  • Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society shares marine knowledge throughout the year, with the opportunity to get your hands wet by participating in activities like a sea star survey.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve also runs several daily interpretation programs in summer.  You can find many of them listed in our events calendar.

Join in one (or more) of these programs for the chance to emerge with a deeper understanding and appreciation of this unique coastal temperate community.

Tofino Nature Kids offers Beach Days from July to September for ages 3-12. Their mission is to cultivate inspired communities who are deeply connected to nature. Children meet on North Chesterman Beach in a Narnia-like setting with rope swings and rainforest obstacles. They sing, play, and use problem solving skills learned throughout the day. Author and nature connection advocate, Richard Louv says, “Passion is lifted from the earth itself by the muddy hands of the young; it travels along grass-stained sleeves to the heart.” It’s precisely this immersion in nature that inspires Tofino Nature Kids, fostering future generations of people who respect the earth and walk upon it gently.

According to Laura Loucks, Research Coordinator at the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust, “Education Tourism attracts visitors who want to stay on the West Coast for a longer period of time to learn something about living here from the local people and to contribute to the stewardship of this beautiful place.”

Tofino’s newest online resource, West Coast N.E.S.T., is for anyone who wishes to come to Tofino to learn. N.E.S.T stands for Nature, Education, Sustainability, and Transformation and its platform helps people find courses and transformative learning experiences. Set aside some time to seize one of the many outdoor learning opportunities that Tofino has to offer. See for yourself how your learning will enrich your playing.

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