Information Evening
Monday, February 3, 2020 | 6:45-7:15 PM
West Vancouver Secondary School – Room C301

If you are interested in this program, please complete the Student Information Form.  We will contact you to complete the registration process.

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There are two options for the Environmental Science Program:
Life Sciences 11 – For grade 11 students
AP Environmental Science 12 – For grade 11 & 12 students

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Overview of Program: Variety and Opportunity

This program provides students with the opportunity to perform experiments and field research under the tutelage of a qualified Science teacher and the guidance of scientists who are experts in their own fields of research. The collaboration between high school students and professional scientists in authentic research at the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre (PSEC), engages scientists, interested community partners and our West Vancouver Schools students. Students will also have access to professional resources, laboratory space and equipment and be taught at the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre (PSEC) facility located at 4160 Marine Dr, West Vancouver.

Goals & Program Overview - Life Sciences 11

Research Mentorship

  • Access to PSEC and Oceanwise scientists who are experts in their field
  • Guided Experiments familiarize students with the research process
  • Active collaboration in students’ own experimental design projects in shoreline habitat, terrestrial ecology, fish genetics, fish nutrition, and plastic pollution
  • Concrete academic writing research, reading & writing skills to optimize success in undergraduate and graduate studies

Experiential Learning

  • Exposure to diverse prospective and careers, giving students insight to shape their own professional future
  • Field experiences take place at the stream, forest, flats, beach and ocean, offering meaningful connections with coursework
  • Motivated learners deeply committed to personal growth see themselves as empowered agents of change

Skill-Based Learning

  • Experimental design and data analysis
  • Collaboration on multiple levels
  • Effective reading and note-taking strategies
  • Dynamic presentation styles
  • Seminar-based discussions for high-level learning

Sample Learning Experiences

  • Skills-based lessons targeting reading & note-taking strategies, dynamic presentations, effective web-based research, and writing for publication
  • Introduction to research methodology in guided lab experiments and fieldwork led by seasoned researchers
  • Experimental design project with formal mentorship guidance in research areas of shoreline habitat, fish genetics, terrestrial ecology, fish nutrition, and plastic pollution
  • Data analysis workshops, including computer modeling with specialists from UBC’s Dept. of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, as well as Bird Studies Canada
  • Guest presenters from numerous community partners add professional insight to topics such as invasive species, artificial reefs, and endangered species
  • Collaborative presentations based on student’s individual reading of a non-fiction book relating to ecology, conservation and environmental issues
  • Multiple peer review sessions on writing tasks, note-taking quality, and presentation skills
  • Case-studies approach to current environmental issues, including aquaculture and pipelines
  • Community-based volunteer opportunities with West Vancouver Streamkeepers’ Society, Lighthouse Park Ecology Society, and Wild Research BC

Goals & Program Overview - AP Environmental Science 12

Students who successfully complete the program will earn credit for Advanced Placement Environmental Science 12 (APES) and will be competent in the following skills:

  • Identify and analyse natural and human-made environmental problems
  • Evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems
  • Examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them
  • Recognize that environmental science is interdisciplinary and requires embracing of topics from geology, biology, environmental studies, environmental science, chemistry and geography

There are several unifying big ideas that cut across topics:

  • Science can be studied as a series of processes
  • Energy conversions underlie all ecological processes
  • The Earth itself has interconnected processes creating a unified system
  • Humans alter natural processes
  • Environmental altercations have a cultural and social context
  • Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable processes and maintain functional systems

The following are sample topics of study:

  • Earth systems and resources
  • The living world
  • Population statistics
  • Land and water use
  • Energy resources and consumption
  • Pollution and toxicology
  • Global change

As the program is designed to be a course in environmental science rather than environmental studies, the APES course includes a strong laboratory and field investigation component.

  • In addition to the instruction provided by the science classroom teacher, students will learn through a variety of learning experiences, such as Seminar-based learning, where key concepts/facts are discussed and clarified from the selected chapter readings of the APES course material
  • Skills-based lessons targeting reading & note-taking strategies, effective web-based research (including data bases), and the ‘how-to’ of dynamic presentations
  • Case-studies approach (based on the UN Framework for Sustainability) applied to current, hot topics including aquaculture, pipelines, the Site C Dam, micro-plastics and genetically modified organisms
  • Mentorship from scientists
  • Access to learn in a world-class, academic institution located in our community
  • Collaborative proposal and research investigation (February/March) with a formal analysis of the findings
  • Guest sessions from federal, municipal and community partners, with a focus on field experiences or relevant, local issues
  • Community-based volunteer opportunities with the West Vancouver Streamkeepers’ Society, Lighthouse Park Preservation Society, Wild Research BC and potentially the Burrard Inlet Enhancement Society

Students selected for this program will strive to demonstrate:

  • Motivation and passion for environmental science
  • Interest in environmental issues
  • Strong academic performance
  • Effective communication skills
  • Confidence and the willingness to take initiative
  • Ability to work collaboratively with both peers and adults
  • Ability to work independently at times with minimal supervision
  • An interest in future studies and/or careers related to environmental science and/or research


  • Designed for boys and girls, Grades 11 & 12, who are registered as full time students at West Vancouver Secondary, École Sentinel or Rockridge Secondary.
  • Conducive to scheduling students’ full academic requirements in the mornings in order to allow students the ability to participate in this program of environmental science every other day last period in the afternoons (e.g., Day 1:4).
  • Students receive the Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science 12 course by participating in this program.
  • The program provides course credit toward graduation; AP Environmental Science 12 is a university admissions course.
  • Students must have completed Science 10. In addition, exposure to laboratory science (life sciences and physical science) is recommended. Due to the quantitative analysis required in the course, students should be familiar and comfortable with algebra.
  • The program will be held at the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre (PSEC) facility located at 4160 Marine Dr, West Vancouver.
  • One-way transportation will be provided for students the facility. Parents are responsible for picking up the students at 3:00 p.m.
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Fact Sheet

The Pacific Science Enterprise Centre:

  • A world-class institute actively advancing scientific knowledge, the Pacific Science Enterprise Centre (PSEC) is a hub of innovation and collaboration with multiple community partners
  • Learning with the Environmental Science program happens at PSEC on the stunning West Vancouver waterfront


Bus Transport:

  • Bus transportation is provided from Rockridge, Ecole Sentinel and West Vancouver Secondary Schools. Parents are responsible for pick-up at 3:00pm from PSEC facility:
    4160 Marine Drive, West Vancouver

Tuition $1000 per year or $100 per month (September – June)

Requirements & Registration

A student applying to participate in the Premiere Environmental Science Program must provide:

  • A copy of your most recent report card
  • The Name of a teacher you have spoken to who will support your application
  • The student information form, which includes a short set of written questions

*Students must have completed Science 10. In addition, exposure to laboratory science (life sciences and physical science) is recommended. Due to the quantitative analysis required in the course, students should be familiar with algebra. Also, desirable (but not necessary) is a familiarity of Earth Science.

Contact Information


Diane Nelson
Director of Instruction
West Vancouver Schools Premier Academy

Office Direct Line: 604-981-1150
Cell: 604-786-3575


Students interested in the Premier Environmental Science program must submit the Student Information Form.

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