Bison Bootcamp

Elk Island National Park

Prepare to be immersed in the world of bison! This module-based program explores the multi-faceted story of bison conservation in Canada. Topics covered directly link with aspects of the Grade 4 and 5 Social Studies and Science curricula; broad topics being Canadian ecology, history, culture, and current events. Alberta Education’s dedication to incorporating Indigenous and traditional views are also reflected.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will understand links between Indigenous peoples and bison;
  • The factors that led to the near-extinction of this iconic creature in North America;
  • The role that bison play in the plains ecosystem; and,
  • The significant role that Parks Canada and Elk Island National Park has played in the recovery of this species over the last 100 years.

Teacher information

  • To book: Email
  • View cost on fee page
  • Capacity: Two groups maximum per day; 30 students per group
  • Offered: Monday to Friday, each program is 4 hours. Generally, 10 am to 2 pm (can be adjusted slightly if needed)
  • Language: Available in English or French
  • Please ensure that all schools have a fair chance to participate in our programs: give us at least two weeks' notice of any cancellations, so that we may offer the time slot to another class.
  • Supervisor to student ratios:
    • A minimum of 1 supervisor for every 10 elementary students is required
    • A minimum of 1 supervisor for every 15 secondary students is required

How the program works

  • Meet your interpreter at the Visitor Information Centre approximately 10 minutes before your scheduled program time.
  • Your classes will take part in a series of activity based modules including:
    • Build a Bison: a hunt for bison bones followed by hands-on discovery of the physical adaptations of bison
    • Bison Grocery Store: a matching game of pre-contact Indigenous-made items derived from bison and post-contact equivalents
    • Bison Survivin’: an active tag-like game modified to illustrate the decline of bison and the factors that contributed to their near-extinction
    • Bison Backstage: a shortened version of Bison Backstage where you will tour the Plains Bison handling facility
    • Guardians of the Grassland: Equipped with magnifying glasses and a guide, classes will investigate how bison shape grasslands from where they go, what they bring with them, to what they leave behind
  • This program is a total of 4 hours in duration with approximately 3 hours dedicated to program time with a lunch break midway

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