Education Programs

Interactive Science Workshops

River Institute offers interactive workshops on a variety of topics for elementary, intermediate and secondary school groups to learn field and laboratory techniques with real biologists. Using the St. Lawrence River as a natural laboratory, we offer programs in English and in French at the River Institute, Cooper Marsh Conservation Area, the OPG St. Lawrence Power Development Centre, and the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Workshops are designed to meet the goals of the Ontario Science Curriculum in geography, science, environmental science, chemistry and biology. Students learn sampling and analytical techniques used by environmental scientists as they become actively involved in river research while having fun. Workshops can be tailored to incorporate other topics on request and some workshops can be done in-class.

L’Institut du fleuve offre divers programmes interactifs et pratiques pour les groupes d’élèves des niveaux élémentaires, intermédiaires et secondaires. Tout en utilisant le fleuve Saint-Laurent comme laboratoire naturel, nous offrons des ateliers en français à l’Institut du fleuve, à l’aire de conservation du marais Cooper, au centre d’accueil des visiteurs d’Ontario Power Generation et au sanctuaire d’oiseaux migrateurs Upper Canada. Ces ateliers ont été conçus dans le but de rencontrer les exigences du curriculum de l’Ontario en géographie, science, science environnementale, chimie et biologie. Les élèves ont la chance de découvrir les méthodes d’échantillonnage et d’analyse utilisées par les scientifiques, ainsi que de participer à des projets de recherche sur l’écosystème aquatique du fleuve Saint-Laurent. Les ateliers peuvent être personnalisés afin d’incorporer vos sujet d’intérêt. Certains ateliers peuvent être offerts en classe.

Aquatic Invertebrates Ecology

Students will collect aquatic invertebrates from the St. Lawrence River using the same sampling equipment that is used by River Institute researchers. They will identify their samples using scientific keys, dissecting scopes, learn to calculate a biotic index and add their data to the St. Lawrence River Watershed Biodiversity Database.

Fish Ecology

Students will collect fish in the St. Lawrence River using various types of nets, record their length and weight, and learn how to identify the fish. Collected data will be incorporated into the St. Lawrence River Watershed Biodiversity Database. Depending on the netting success, students might learn mark and recapture techniques. The river ecosystem and the interactions of fish with their environment will be discussed.

Water Quality and Its Importance

Students will collect a sample of water from the river, and learn how technological innovations are used to measure water quality parameters such as turbidity, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and bacterial counts in the River Institute’s labs. They will learn how these devices work and how these measurements relate to the health of aquatic ecosystems and human health.

Frogs and Friends

Students will catch frogs using nets, and learn about the life cycle of frogs and their basic needs. They will discover what an environment is and why it is important to protect wetlands.


The River Institute will bring a pond to the classroom, complete with live creatures for students to observe and handle. Students will learn about the amazing biology and adaptations of aquatic pond life.

For more information, contact:

Cristina Charette, MSc

Biologist, Education Coordinator
+1 613-936-6620 ext 232

Education programs are sponsored by/partnered with :