Swan Haven School Programs

Class Trips to Swan Haven

Program Overview


Program: Cost:

Swan Haven School Programs:
April 6th – 29th, 2020

  • Grade 2: Swans Need to Swim
  • Grade 3: Connecting the Dots
  • Grade 5: Aquatic Birds: Built for Water
No Cost to Yukon Students

School programs have always been a large part of spring activities at Swan Haven. Hundreds of school children make the trip with their classes to participate in hands-on activities and games, in a spectacular outdoor classroom. The Yukon Wildlife Preserve delivers Swan Haven School Programs on behalf of Environment Yukon’s Wildlife Viewing Program.

Class Trip Program Descriptions

Grade 2 - Swans Need to Swim
Spring: Up to 48 students (2 classes)
½ Day Program (2 hour)
9:30am to 11:30am or 12:00pm (noon) to 2:00pm

What makes Swan Haven such an important stop for migrating swans? The open water! 

In this half day program, students will learn about why open water at M’Clintock Bay is so important for swans.  Students will learn about swan behaviors using dress up and storytelling, explore the challenges of migration through an interactive game, and make observations of swans on the water using spotting scopes. 

Teachers are responsible for bus transportation to and from Swan Haven.

Curriculum Connections:

  • Water is essential to all living things, and it cycles through the environment
    • Water sources including local watersheds
    • Water is important for all living things
    • How does water cycle through the environment
  • Living things have life cycles adapted to their environment
    • Lifecycles of local animals
    • Local actions have global consequences
    Grade 3 - Swan Haven: Connecting the Dots

    Spring: Up to 48 students (2 classes)
    ½ Day Program (2 hour)
    9:30am to 11:30am or 12:00pm (noon) to 2:00pm

    Swan Haven is a diverse and unique ecosystem. Energy is transferred through the system in many ways, and swans have an important part to play. In this half day program students will observe the different ecosystem roles of swans using spotting scopes, participate in a hands-on activity to explore how swans interact with their ecosystem and witness thermal energy in action with an exciting experiment.

    Teachers are responsible for bus transportation to and from Swan Haven.

    Curriculum Connections:

    • Living things are diverse, can be grouped, and interact in their ecosystems
      • Biodiversity in the local environment
      • Energy is needed for life
      • Flow of energy in a community
    • Thermal energy can be produced and transferred
      • Sources and transfer of thermal energy
      • Convection and radiation
      Grade 5 - Aquatic Birds: Built for Water

      Spring: Up to 48 students (2 classes)
      ½ Day Program (2 hour)
      9:30am to 11:30am or 12:00pm (noon) to 2:00pm

      Swans are the largest waterfowl in Canada, and their unique anatomy is what makes Swan Haven such an important rest stop for these magnificent birds. By exploring swan and bird anatomy, we will discover how Swan Haven is specially matched to the needs of waterfowl. In this half day program students will observe swans using spotting scopes, investigate the problems faced by migrating waterfowl and get hands-on to learn about waterfowl anatomy!  

      Teachers are responsible for bus transportation to and from Swan Haven.

      Curriculum Connections:

      • Multicellular organisms have organ system that enable them to survive and interact within their environment
        • Digestive, musco-skeletal, respiratory
      • Machines are devices that transfer force and energy
        • Examples of machines found in nature

        Class Trip FAQs

        How to Book

        • Swan Haven 2020 Online Booking Request Form
        • Or contact our Manager of Programming & Education at 334-3338 or email education@yukonwildlife.ca.

        We will need the following information to make a booking:

        • Preferred dates:
        • Preferred time (morning or afternoon):
        • Your school/association;
        • Teacher Name(s) (if more than one class is coming, we’ll need contacts for each class);
        • Email addresses;
        • Grade(s) and class sizes:
        • Anticipated number of chaperones:
        • Your mode of transportation to and from the Preserve (yellow bus, white 20-24 passenger bus, personal vehicles, etc);
        • Any mobility related challenges or exceptional circumstances (the more we know the better experience we can provide you).
        • We can accept two classes (not exceeding 48 students) per session


        Why bring my class to Swan Haven?

        Swan Haven is one of Yukon’s incredible natural wonders. Each spring, Swan Haven (located on M’Clintock Bay on Marsh Lake) hosts a spring spectacle of migrating swans and waterbirds. Featuring the first open water in the region, the bay has many attractions for early migrants. This bay offers shallow water, access to food, good visibility, and little disturbance to waterbirds, making it a critical stopover on the long migration to northern nesting grounds!

        Students are treated to the sights and sounds of a magnificent spring migration. Yukon Wildlife Preserve programmers lead students through engaging, hands-on programming that is curriculum connected.

        This is an incredible opportunity to take learning out of the classroom and into our amazing back yard!

          Who can book Swan Haven School Programs?

          Programs are specially designed for Grades 2, 3 and 5.

          To ensure a high quality experience, the maximum number of students is 48 (2 classes maximum).

          Teach another grade? We are happy to book Grade 4 classes in for the Grade 3 program, and Grade 6 or 7 classes into the Grade 5 program.

          Where do Swan Haven School Programs take place?

          All interpretive programs during April take place at the  Swan Haven Interpretive Centre at M’Clintock Bay on Marsh Lake – about 40km south of Whitehorse.

          When can I bring my class?

          Fifteen (15) days of programming are offered during the month of April (excluding holidays). We will do our best to arrange special timelines for schools travelling from communities outside of Whitehorse. Swan Haven programs are free to Yukon students, all you have cover is the cost of transportation.  Book early to avoid disappointment.

          Morning programs: 9:30am-11:30am

          Afternoon programs: 12:00pm-2:00pm

          Teacher Resources

          It all begins with a sense of place. We invite you to share this interactive 360 video with your students. This video provides a jumping off point for hosting a discussion on the features of this landscape. After exploring the video with your students, you may wish to extend the impact by trying one of the activities listed below.

          We reference the BC/Yukon curriculum, but hope that teachers anywhere feel welcome and encouraged to try some of our suggestions with their students.

          Swan Haven / Yukon Specific Classroom Explorations

          Trumpeter Swan Lifecycle Discussion (Grade K-2)

          Curriculum Connections (BC/Yukon Curriculum)

          • Science K Big Ideas: Plants and animals have observable features;
          • Science 2 Big Ideas: Living things have life cycles adapted to their environment.

          Using the lifecycle images and chart (Life Cycle of a Swan.pdf), talk to your students about the lives of swans and ask them connecting questions such as “In your family, who is the young grey swan? Who is the full grown adult swan? Is anyone in your family the egg?” Encourage then to demonstrate curiosity and a sense of wonder about the world, and to consider swans in familiar contexts. Talk to your students about when they think swans are ready to fly, when they think swans are ready to have their own babies, and how long they think swans live. Make comparisons between the students and swans to foster a sense of connection using questions such as “Would they be as tall as Ahmed? Do you think they weigh the same as Sam’s little brother?”

          After sharing and brainstorming, solve any mysteries that came up using the Swan Cheat Sheet 2020.pdf.

          Graphing Challenge (Grades 3-9)

          Curriculum Connections (BC/Yukon Curriculum)

          • Mathematics 3 Content: one-to-one correspondence with bar graphs, pictographs, charts, and tables
          • Mathematics 4 Content: one-to-one correspondence and many-to-one correspondence, using bar graphs and pictographs
          • Mathematics 5 Big Ideas: Data represented in graphs can be used to show many-to-one correspondence
          • Mathematics 6 Big Ideas: Linear relations can be identified and represented using expressions with variables and line graphs and can be used to form generalizations.

          Using the daily visit data from 2018-2020 (available here: .xlsx .pdf), challenge your students to create graphs depicting the daily visits for the month of April each year. Depending on the level of familiarity they have with graphing, the lesson may consist of simply learning how to create graphs and discussing how and why graphs are useful. If they are ready for a greater challenge after they are finished graphing, the students may wish to discuss any trends they see, and form generalizations based on the data.

          Here are some examples of graphs made using the data above:

          For a more advanced daily/weekly graphing activity in the classroom, access a daily species counts from Swan Haven here: https://ebird.org/hotspot/L767519 (official updates from Jukka Jantenen are typically posted daily throughout April). You can graph your way through the month!

          Further Classroom Explorations

          We’ve collected up our favourite links to classroom activities, lesson plans and resources from around the web. While not Swan Haven specific, they will allow your students to make broader global connections!

          Water Lesson Extensions

          Water is a wide-ranging topic with both local and global implications, and is one of the most urgent and pressing concerns of our time. Below we have listed our favourite links to support wider classroom units and discussions of water. 

          • Grades 2, 3, and 5: “Wetlands and the World”: The Wetlands and the World program features an activity guide consisting of a series of engaging lessons designed to increase student understanding and appreciation of wetlands and at the same time developing their English language literacy skills. This resource explores the wetlands while integrating different cultures and languages into the lessons. http://resources4rethinking.ca/en/resource/wetlands-and-the-world
          • All learning levels: “Project WET’s mission is to reach children, parents, teachers and community members of the world with water education that promotes awareness of water and empowers community action to solve complex water issues.” https://www.projectwet.org/
          • Grades 6-9: ‘Water and Diversity: Cleaning up our act’ is intended to raise awareness of the impact humans have had on aquatic ecosystems. Moreover, they are intended to make students aware of the conservation efforts that are ongoing in their communities, and to inspire hope and encourage action towards the protection of our critically important freshwater resources.” http://resources4rethinking.ca/en/resource/water-biodiversity-cleaning-up-our-act
          • Grades 8-12: Tapped out: the World Water Crisis- “Students research current issues surrounding water from both a Canadian and an international perspective. Several exercises allow them to experience through role play and discussion, the emotional issues surrounding water.” http://resources4rethinking.ca/en/resource/tapped-out-the-world-water-crisis
          • Grades 10-12: “More than 100 First Nations communities across Canada do not have clean, safe drinking water. Thirst is a glimpse into Keewaywin, an Oji-Cree community north of Red Lake, Ontario, where the water is contaminated with uranium and residents are forced to purchase expensive bottled water.” http://resources4rethinking.ca/en/resource/thirst-2
          • Grades 9-12: The Peel Watershed: Assessing the Complexities of a Land Use Issue: “In this lesson, students will use the Canadian Atlas Online to locate and gather information about the Peel Watershed. They will explore the Recommended Peel Watershed Land Use Plan to identify land use issues and different viewpoints on development in the Peel Watershed. Finally, students will develop an advertisement that expresses their personal position on the issue.” http://www.canadiangeographic.com/atlas/lessonplan.aspx?ID=LESSON223 
          • Grades 9-12: Water Music: A Creative Exploration Dedicated to the Importance of Rivers and Lakes in Our Regional Watersheds: “This lesson will explore the vital use of language (oral, written, musical, rhythmic) to convey the important role water plays in our lives. Students will be given the opportunity to explore a range of musical/lyrical/multimedia expressions to describe their understanding of the role that water/waterways/bodies of water/watersheds play in our everyday lives.” http://www.canadiangeographic.com/atlas/lessonplan.aspx?ID=LESSON217
          Migratory Bird Extensions:

          Migratory birds are master travellers. They travel great distances to find food and nesting habitat throughout the year. Here are some links to lessons and activities that can enhance understanding of the lives and needs of migratory birds.

          Swan Haven in 360

          360 videos allow you to click and drag around (if using a computer). If viewing from a phone, you can tilt and turn your phone to explore the video. For a more immersive experience, you can use a VR headset, or put your phone in something like a google cardboard.

          You can view the Swan Haven in 360 video directly on youtube, and find other educational wildlife videos on the Yukon Wildlife Preserve’s youtube channel.

          To get the most out of the video, we recommend watching on the highest resolution (that your internet connection / plan will support). Of course at higher resolutions the video will require more bandwidth. To adjust your resolution:

          Swan Haven is located at M’Clintock Bay, on Marsh Lake, Yukon Territory. This is an area of early season open water. What does this mean? It refers to the fact that early in the Spring, when many nearby bodies of water are still frozen over, this area has open water earlier than many surrounding places. This open water allows the swans to access food, and to rest as they make their way to their summer nesting grounds. This area is essential for swans and other migratory birds, and we can help them out by making sure that we give them space and let them do their thing. Trust us, they’ve got this.