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Fraser River Discovery Centre reaches out to schools during COVID

Students no longer have to visit New West centre to take advantage of its programs
FRDC RiverSchool2
Prior to COVID-19, students ventured to Fraser River Discovery Centre, as shown here, for River School. With restrictions and safety concerns related to the pandemic, FRDC has launched new programs to help students learn about the Fraser River.

Fraser River Discovery Centre has come up with new ways of offering its River School programs to students during the pandemic.

During “normal” times, FRDC’s River School programs attract more than 3,500 students annually from schools in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. COVID-19 has changed that because of concerns about health and safety and many school districts’ restrictions about off-site activities.

In response to the pandemic, Fraser River Discovery Centre’s education staff have come up with two new ways to offer River School, while keeping students, teachers and staff safe. 

“First off, we now have portable ‘education kits’ that contain all the hands-on learning you expect from the FRDC, conveniently packed into one easily transportable package,” said Stephen Bruyneel, the centre’s director of external relations and development. “The kits include all the materials teachers will need, as well as detailed lesson plans, for inquiry-based learning about life right here in the Fraser River basin.” 

School visits are another way students can access River School.

“The other new option is that we can come to you,” Bruyneel said. “Outreach Wednesdays involve two FRDC staff bringing all the materials necessary to safely run some of our most popular programs, either right in the classroom or on the school grounds.” 

Fraser River Discovery School hopes these two new options for delivering River School will allow students to keep learning about the living, working Fraser River.

In addition to the education kits and school visits, FRDC staff is working on the development of online learning options.

“Education staff are working right now to create virtual River School,” Bruyneel said. “They will be using video conference software that allows live delivery by a FRDC educator, who will lead students through a series of interactive activities, utilizing the latest tools in online education. We anticipate these virtual programs will be popular both during and after the pandemic, as well as allowing us to reach schools all across the province.”

Located at 788 Quayside Dr., Fraser River Discovery Centre provides a variety of exhibits, programs and activities related to the Fraser River. More information can be found at