VIU Milner Gardens and Woodland

Shoots with Roots

Our Shoots with Roots program offers place-based, curriculum-linked nature education to local elementary schools. 

An elementary school class at Milner Gardens & Woodland

We believe that a connection to the natural world is an essential part of a healthy childhood. We believe that children should experience the joy of nature before learning of its loss.  We aim to cultivate children's relationships with nature, and hope to inspire children to understand and protect the natural world.  

Milner Gardens & Woodland is located on the traditional lands of the Qualicum First Nation. The Shoots with Roots program recognizes the colonial nature of our site, and is committed to decolonizing our approach to education. We recognize the inherent value of Indigenous knowledge and the deep connection that the Qualicum people have to the Land to this day. We also recognize the importance of protocol and understand that this knowledge is not always ours to share. With the deepest respect, we are building relationships and sharing knowledge if and when it is appropriate.

Five Visit Program

Through a series of five field trips, your class will explore the forest and garden, observe seasonal changes, become familiar with local plants and animals, and cover the majority of the BC Science Curriculum for your grade.

kids pollinate a rhododendron flower  Through a combination of structured learning activities, inquiry-based exploration, and unstructured nature play, your class will build their skills as scientist and naturalists while learning about the natural world and building their connections to nature. Participating classes complete a journal project as they progress through the year, and teachers are also provided with a package of optional pre-visit learning resources prior to each field trip.

Year Outline

Visit 1 - Soil - Everything in nature depends on the soil, so we start here. We'll enjoy spectacular fall colour, rake up a pile of leaves to play in, and investigate how those leaves decompose and turn into soil.   (September / October ) 

Visit 2 - Trees and Winter - Using games and hands-on learning we will become experts at identifying local trees, before heading into the orchard to meet our apple trees for a winter celebration.  (October / November)

Visit 3 - Signs of Spring - We will consider how nature knows when it's time to 'wake up' in the springtime, learn to recognize local signs of spring, and plant peas to take back to school to grow.  (February / March) 

Visit 4 - Pollination -  Students will be introduced to the process of pollination and the importance of pollinators through a series of activities and games before becoming pollinators themselves as our garden comes into full bloom. ( April / May ) 

Visit 5 - Reflection and Celebration - We will practice some nature observation activities that will help students continue their growth as naturalists after the program is over, and reflect on the year by putting together our year-long journal project. (May / June) 

All visits are linked to developing the Core Competencies in the BC Science Curriculum.  

Thanks to the Milner Gardens & Woodland Society and a number of generous donors, the Five Visit Program is offered free of charge.  The application process for the 2024-25 school year  is now open.   

For more information, check our Frequently Asked Questions or Accessibility pages.

Single Visit Field Trips 

Didn't make it into the lottery, but still want to bring your class to experience the Shoots with Roots program?  Single visit field trips are available in May and June.  We offer a variety of nature and gardening topics and can adapt our programming to the interests of your class. 

Field trips are $200 with a maximum class size of 30 students.  Each visit is 2.5hrs long.  

Daycamps Etc

We offer daycamps for children age 5-10 during Spring Break and occasionally during the summer.  

Family Programs:
Our family programs invite children from ages 5-12 and their adults to participate together in a morning of hands-on science and forest explorations in the inspiring setting of Milner Gardens & Woodland.

Information about these programs will appear on this webpage when they are being offered 

Blond child in striped sweater looking at the camera through a magnifying class

Virtual Programming

Looking for inspiration to connect with nature at home?  Our YouTube channel offers a series of short educational videos.   Our videos all list curriculum links in the descriptions, and many include suggested activities to extend the learning.