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Examples of our Programs

The Powell River Youth Advisory Council - Educational Program

The Brooks Outdoor Adventure Tourism Training Program - Educational Program

Paha Kwagen - Therapeutic Program

NEW! Jade Coast Discovery Program - Therapeutic Program

Ecology & Adventure Learning Program - Educational Program

The Powell River Youth Advisory Council (YAC) 

Since its beginnings in 2001 until recently,  Terracentric  coordinated the activities and ongoing development of the Powell River Youth Advisory Council. This innovative education based program uses experiential learning to build self advocacy skills in youth aged 13-19 years. Working in partnership with many local community agencies, Terracentric staff provided consistent adult mentorship and support through workshops, weekly activities, summer events, and also in fundraising so that the youth have a vehicle for self development and for learning valuable life skills.
The Powell River Youth Advisory Council (YAC) was initiated in response to feedback from youth that clearly indicated a desire to have a voice in community planning around health and social issues. Since its beginnings in April of 2001, the YAC has dedicated thousands of volunteer hours working to empower Powell River Youth to make healthy, informed choices in their lives by coordinating and participating in by-youth for-youth activities including workshops, teambuilding retreats, drug & alcohol free events, talent contests, community fundraisers, and peer education programs. The YAC serves as an organizational platform from which young people are supported to test out the power of their own voices, to develop their personal capacity and understanding of community issues, to build healthy connections and a strong sense of personal responsibility/ citizenship.
Using an experiential by-youth for-youth approach, our YAC program facilitators challenge participants to step out of their comfort zones and learn by doing. Currently sponsored and run by the Powell River Child Youth and Family Services Society, this program works with funds from a range of public and private sector agencies.
Goals & Objectives:
  • Involve a diverse cross-section of youth in regular meetings and activities that identify and address current health and social issues affecting youth
  • Engage community youth in healthy and creative activities
  • Provide leadership training and opportunities that will empower youth to directly affect their health and social circumstances
  • Develop opportunities for youth to act in an authentic advisory capacity to local decision making bodies, such that the youth perspective is considered in social and health planning
  • Develop and pursue strategies to ensure the sustainability of an ongoing YAC
Please contact us directly at 604.483.7900 to learn more about our past involvement with this program and our consulting services related to developing by-youth for-youth programming.  For current information on the Powell River YAC, including details on meetings,  please contact Powell River Child Youth and Family Services Society, 604 485 3090.

Please download a copy of our toolkit that details how to start a Youth Advisory Council.(pdf)

Brooks* Outdoor Adventure Tourism Training Program

The Brooks* Outdoor Adventure Tourism Training Program (BOATT) is a full semester credit program that introduces students to the exciting world of career possibilities within the adventure and Eco tourism industries. Coordinated and delivered by Terracentric students have opportunities to combine practical and theoretical learning while being exposed to the natural beauty of the Powell River and Desolation Sound areas.
*(the name of our local secondary school)
History of the Program: 
In January of 2004 Terracentric Coastal Adventures Ltd. was asked to consult with Powell River School District #47 on designing a full time Outdoor Education Program. The School District and its Board of Trustees is very interested in experiential education programs that offer students a jump start on employment opportunities that can dovetail with post secondary education and even more importantly, that can offer the development of valuable life skills.
Program Overview:  
BOATT is a full five-month semester program which combines four curriculum courses with two Terracentric developed courses: Adventure Tourism 11 & Adventure Tourism 12. This program has been developed to equip students with some of the necessary skills and certifications (at least ten different certificates) to find entry level employment in this fast-growing industry. High priority is placed on developing solid leadership, life and interpersonal skills. Students are given hands-on experience in a variety of outdoor activities and are exposed to guest speakers from various sectors in order to gain a solid understanding of the myriad of opportunities available. Towards the end of the program students work at completing 120 hours of work experience in the Adventure Tourism industry and earn credit for this once complete.


Goals and Objectives: 


  • To provide students with opportunities to gain valuable leadership, intra- and interpersonal skills to provide students with building blocks for life
  • To increase post secondary employment and educational opportunities through the provision of certifications
  • To provide students with building blocks to increase lifelong physical and mental well being through exposure to outdoor activities
  • To provide greater enrollment opportunities by attracting students from other jurisdictions within our province and Canada
  • To provide an opportunity to increase high school retention rates through offering diverse / healthy programming
  • For participating students to obtain skill / proficiency certification in a selection of hard and soft skills (e.g.. Sea Kayaking, Canoeing, Wilderness First Aid, VHF Radio Operators, Safe Boating Certification, Belaying, Orienteering, Leadership, Environmental Ethics, Avalanche/Snow skills)
  • For participants to gain greater awareness of environment stewardship
  • For participants to gain greater awareness of environment stewardship for participants to gain an awareness of adventure / eco tourism industry employment opportunities.


Contact us today at 604.483.7900 for more information on this program.
For information on registering for this program as a student from either inside or outside the Powell River School District click here.


Paha Kwagen Yik Meh Thote: “One in spirit, taking care

of others” 

Tla’Amin Community Health Services Youth Program
Since 2003 Terracentric has been working intensively with youth aged 9 to 18 years and their parents in the reserve community of Tla’Amin BC. Funded through Vancouver Coastal Health’s SMART Fund and sponsored by Tla’Amin Community Health Services, this innovative youth centered therapeutic program has four key objectives;
1) Facilitate youth groups, single sex and coed, to discuss issues and concerns that help youth torecognize and identify the triggers that set them on paths to unhealthy behaviors. This objective is accomplished by using workshops, group and individual counseling sessions and traditional talking circles to facilitate the youth to process as a peer group, strategies in managing their social, school, and family and community life.
2) Develop peer advocacy skills in the community through the use of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC), format. Within this objective, the Tla’Amin Youth Advisory Council addresses peer issues and concerns in a by-youth for-youth format. As well, the YAC leads programs and activities that promote healthy lifestyles that support their mental, physical, and spiritual health.
3) To mentor and educate community members and parents to be supervisors, advocates or chaperones of youth led programs, Tla’Amin Health Service programs, and a community led initiatives led by Chief and Council.
4) To open lines of communication for parents and community members to develop neighborly supports for positive healthy choices made by the youth and to further educate the community as to underlying factors leading to harmful behaviors. 
The Paha Kwagen program builds on the strength and assets of the community by helping the community re-build coping and parenting skills. Please contact us for further information on this and other examples of our Therapeutic Adventure Learning programs.

Jade Coast Discovery Program



NEW! The Jade Coast Discovery (JCD) program is a new program for troubled teens that combines change base counselling with leading edge outdoor curriculum.

The Jade Coast Discovery Program operates with the intention of providing a holistic approach to facilitating change by means of a therapeutic wilderness program for young people (age 13-18). Through an experiential education program we support the development of mind, body and spirit, and the skills and attitudes for improved family functioning and pro-social living.  We are committed to ensuring that all our services operate in a manner, which places the safety and security of our students, staff and community as first priority.



Ecology & Adventure Learning Blog - Survival Skills, Fall 2010

December 2, 2010
Ah, so sad to be saying goodbye!   Today was our last session for the Survival Skills, Unit #2 of the Ecology and Adventure Education Program.  The good news - we'll be running a Winter Solstice Hike & Nature Art Session in two weeks, on December 16th, from 1-4.  Hopefully we'll see you all there!
Today we continued our learnings on making fire, finding or creating potable water, and mapping.  The older students also learned how to collect food in the winter time, and we all learned how to make bannock (which is actually a gaelic word - came from the Scots and the First Nations people adapted it, so the story goes).
We started the session by narrowing down our list of items necessary in a good survival kit.  We took the list below, and came to consensus on the five most important items.  Each group (Christine's and Amy's) did their own list, and they turned out quite differently.  Amy's group decided on:
  1. Water-proof matches/lighter/striker
  2. Candle
  3. First Aid Kit
  4. Compass
  5. Knife/scissors
The older group had these things in their list of 5 essential survival kit elements:
  1. Bow & Arrow
  2. Space tarp
  3. (Christine will need to fill in the rest - coming soon!)
After this exercise, we handed out a list of common things for a survival kit (it's in their journals), and we opened up a store-bought survival kit in a can to see what was in it.  While it had lots of stuff, most of the stuff was pretty cheap and I think you could make a way better survival kit on your own for less money (the Survival Kit in a Can was $20).
Once we completed our work on survival kits, we went into our own groups and worked on different things.  Amy's group did a mapping activity, where we created a map on the ground in a hula hoop of our site, using pine cones, leaves, sticks, lichen, and rocks to represent different things on our map.  It's a good way to get the idea of what a map really means, and how it relates to the land.  And, it kept us warm!  
We also talked about how to use a compass, by lining up the red arrow with North.  That orients you to the four directions, and you can follow the compass South or West (or Southwest) to find the ocean.  In our area, people live near the ocean so if you can find your way to the ocean, you can find people.
We then went to check our solar still, which had collected a lot of water, but the water had gotten dirty because the hole we dig wasn't quite big enough and we had left it too long.  You usually only need a day to collect water from a solar still, and we left ours for 2 weeks.  And sadly, after we checked on our solar still, we took down our forts and fire rings.
The younger group at that point returned to the fire pit to start making the fire for the older group to use to cook whatever they could find in the bush to eat.  We all practiced lighting a fire stick, which is like a giant match that you can use as tinder.  We then got some other tinder lit, then the kindling lit, but it took a lot of work to keep the fire going - everything was so wet!  With the help of Sebastien, though, the fire was going until the older group returned with their finds: cedar, rosehips, dried salal, and chanterelles.  They made a broth with these treasures, and we learned how to make bannock.  Just mix flour, a little baking powder, and some salt, with enough water to make a soft but not sticky dough.  Make a snake out of a bit of dough, and wrap it around a green (not dry and brittle) stick.  Cook it over the fire until it's cooked through, then enjoy.  Yum yum!  You can add anything you like to the batter.
And that took us past the end of our class today.  We hope that you have taken some important learnings from the past few weeks:
  1. Layering your clothes to stay warm
  2. Building shelters to stay warm
  3. Packing a survival kit for hiking adventures
  4. Building fires and fire pits for safety, warmth, and cooking
  5. Finding and creating potable water
  6. Finding and cooking things to eat in the bush (older group)
  7. Map & compass reading

Good job everyone!  See you in the bush!

November 18, 2010
Yet another blustery day today as we worked towards building our fires, weather-proofing our shelters, reading maps, and building solar stills.  We also worked on our master list of things that might be good to put into a survival kit, and here are the ideas we've had so far:
map knife lantern
food water hatchet
matches twine/wire cell phone
GPS flares 2 way radio
books mp3 player bug spray
tarp rope flint
hammer/nails antibiotics Bandaids
gun First Aid kits fork, spoon
house/tent lighter sleeping bag
hook fishing wire insulation
batteries tools lights
torch compass tinder - cotton balls
tinder - sawdust tinder - charcoal kindling of different sizes
And here's the challenge: you will need to pick 5 of the most important items from above, that you would want in your own survival kit.  Please come next week with this list of items.  YOU DON'T NEED TO BRING THE ACTUAL ITEMS.  Just bring the list of what you would want in your own survival kit.  You are not limited to this list - if you can think of something else to include, please do!


Apart from this, our fire making practice went very well this week, with all of the older groups creating a good fire, and most of the younger student lighting their tinder with a match.  The younger group also learned how to build a fire pit, namely:
  1. Choose a spot at least 1 metre away from anything else, but close enough to the shelter to provide some warmth.
  2. Dig a small (30 cm), shallow pit, and clear all deadfall & leaf litter away.
  3. Line the pit with rocks, and make a nice circle of rocks around the outside.  We line the pit with rocks to make sure there is good air flow under the fire, and also to make sure that the fire doesn't get into the ground, where it can spread.
  4. Collect tinder, kindling, and fuel, making piles of each close to the fire pit.  We talked about how important it is to collect LOTS of fuel, because once your fire is started, you can't leave to collect more fuel.  NO FIRES LEFT UNATTENDED!
  5. Then make your fire!  Start by creating a nest of tinder, a "teepee" of small kindling with a hole to put the tinder underneath, and a ball of tinder which you will start the fire with.  Light the ball of tinder, and once going, place it into the nest of tinder.  Then gently place the nest of tinder into the teepee of kindling.  Once the smaller pieces of kindling have started, then slowly and patiently add larger and larger pieces until you are burning your fuel.
  6. Your fire does not need to be very big!  You will waste your fuel, as well as all the effort it took to collect the fuel and start the fire if you burn too much of your fuel all at once!

We also touched on mapping this afternoon, and important ways of reading the land.  For example, the younger group talked about how easy it was to find people if you could find a river.  If you follow the river downstream, then you will eventually find a house (people tend to live near streams), or the ocean (people live near the ocean).  In terms of map reading, the younger group started looking at a topographical map, and will continue their mapping activities next week.  The older group worked more with the maps, by creating models out of the topographical maps.


Finally, we talked about how to find water to drink, and solar stills.  Solar stills are very easy to make: 

  1. Dig a fairly large pit in the ground.  
  2. Line the pit with greenery.
  3. Place a cup or container in the middle of the greenery in the pit.
  4. Cover the pit with some kind of plastic that sunlight can get through.  Saran-wrap from lunches works fairly well, although a light coloured tarp would be fine, too.
  5. Put rocks all the way around the plastic so that it doesn't fall into the pit.
  6. Place a very small rock in the middle of the plastic, so that water which has condensed on the inside of the plastic will drip down into the cup.  

After a few hours, or a day, the cup ought to be filled with drinkable water!  Other ways of filtering water include purchasing water filtration tablets and keeping them in your pack, using a water filtration device (found at outdoor stores), and collecting rainwater/snow.


Time has really flown by - next week is our final week!  During next week's session, we will finish up mapping and compass reading, the younger group will continue to practice making fires with tinder and kindling, and we will have a survival challenge or two planned.  Sadly, we will also have to take down the shelters and fire pits, and return the site to its beautiful natural state.  Thus, if you want to come and see the shelters, please come a few minutes before the session starts next week.


We are also looking ahead to the December Winter Solstice activity for Homeschoolers.  Christine and Amy are planning a short hike, and then a series of crafts with found materials.  Crafts we like to do for the solstice are wreathes, pomanders, bird feeders, etc.   We'll likely have some popcorn and apple cider there too!  We'll email everyone about it with registration details.


See you next week!

November 11, 2010
Well, it was a wet and windy and cold day at the Adventure Centre today - perfect for practising fire making!  We actually started the session by making sure everyone had dressed in layers (see November 4th blog, below).  If you were cold today, then you need more or warmer layers next time!  Then we took a look at our shelters again and reassessed how water and wind proof they were.  We continued to make adjustments on our shelters, adding leaf litter and other insulating stuff, and looking at other groups' shelters for ideas.  Working on shelters is one of the best things to do while you are in a survival situation, waiting for rescue, as it keeps you busy and all shelters can use more work.  Just think - after three or four years of working on a shelter in a survival situation, you would have quite the palace!
Once the shelters were in good order, we started brainstorming ideas about fire.  We talked about the "Fire Triangle", made up of the three elements required for a fire: fuel, heat, and air.  If one of these elements is missing, your fire will go out or not even get started to begin with.  We talked about different ways to create heat, including: matches, lighters, magnifying glasses and the sun, flint strikers, and friction (i.e. a bow drill).  We also talked about different types of fuel, namely:
  1. Tinder: this is the stuff that you start your fire with.  Think fluffy, furry, fuzzy.  Think light, think powder.  The idea is to make a "nest" of tinder, including dried birch bark, dried grass, fuzz from cattails, feathers (stinky!), hair (also stinky!), dried pine needles, pine resin (pitch), cotton balls etc.  Really anything that will catch fire very quickly.
  2. Kindling: this is the stuff you build a teepee with over top of your tinder.  You can also just feed it to the flame, adding bigger and bigger pieces of kindling.  Start with toothpick sized twigs, then pencil sized twigs, then finger-width twigs, then branches as wide as your wrist, and ankle.  This can be any kind of wood, but it must be DRY.  Otherwise, it won't start and your tinder will burn out.  This was our main challenge today - we couldn't really find very much dry kindling or fuel.
  3. Fuel: this is the big pieces of wood you place on top of the kindling, once your fire is established.  At the beginning, your fuel should be fairly dry.  You don't need much, just one or two large pieces at a time ought to do the trick.  Once your fire is established, you can put slightly damp pieces of wood on the fire (especially if you want the smoke), or you can build a frame over your fire and put wet wood on the frame to dry out.
We took a look at the different types of tinder and kindling that everyone brought to start fires with, and some of the stuff you can purchase for a survival kit to take with you when you go out into the bush,  This included different kind of matches (waterproof and strike anything matches), lighters (normal and weather-proof), flint strikers, wood sticks, pitch, and "Maya Dust" (a type of resin).  We then went around and collected any other tinder, kindling, and fuel that we could find in the bush.  Needless to say, most of what we found was very wet!
Prior to actually starting any fires, we brainstormed fire safety rules.  These included:
  1. Never leave a fire unattended.
  2. Clear a space of at least 1 metre on all sides of the fire pit, and make sure there are no overhanging branches.
  3. No horseplay around fires!
  4. Do not step, sit, or stand on the ring of stones around a fire pit.
  5. Make sure that a fire is out completely before you leave: douse it with water, stir it up, and then douse it again.  You can also spread it out and let the coals go out by themselves, but it takes a lot longer.
  6. Have all your tinder, kindling, and fuel ready and piled within reach, so that you don't have to leave the fire to collect more fuel.
  7. Always throw burnt matches into the fire.
  8. Never removed sticks from the fire.
In the younger group, once back in the circle with our finds, we practiced lighting tinder.  We used a nest of sawdust, feathers, and straw, and used cotton balls and vaseline as the first "coal".  We lit a match, and used the match to light a candle (rule: whenever you light a match, light a candle, so that you don't have to use up your store of matches if the first try doesn't work).  We then used the candle to light the cotton balls, the cotton balls to light the tinder nest, and the tinder nest to light the kindling.  Our kindling was just too wet, and it didn't start.  In a real survival situation, we would have either kept trying, or found drier kindling, and eventually we would have gotten a proper fire going!  Good fires take patience.  We are going to try again next week.
Also, with the younger students, each student (one at a time), had the opportunity to: try a lighter, light a match (everyone was successful!), and get some sparks from the flint.  These were firsts for most of the students, and they did a great job!  They acted safely with all three.  
Our older group had fun first off doing some tests of how quickly things brought from home items like cotton balls and lint will light up and then we went out to try to find dry materials in the very wet forest. We found some pitch, powdered wood in an dead alder snag that had been well hacked at by woodpeckers, and a little dry cedar bark on the under side of downed log. We then went and found fire location nears our previously built shelter and once each group had their site, fuel and fire ready they were given their choice of flint & striker or matches or lighter. Our group worked hard to get their tinder bundles lit without any "man made" items but eventually we all resorted to a single cotton ball to assist us. By the time we had to go, we had 3 out of 4 fires still going. We definittely have to work more on our tinder bundles next time and also making sure we keep fueling our fire so it doesn't go out! Much fun was had and we realized how challenging it can be (even with our natural dry tinder items we brought from home) and that fires take much patience and perseverance! Can't wait for next time!
Next week, we are going to build proper fire pits for our shelters, and each student will get to try to light some tinder and kindling.  And we will add on to our shelters!   And, we introduce map reading, compass reading, and environment reading.  See you next week!
Questions or comments?  Send them to fun@terracentricadventures.com, and we'll get them posted up here!
November 4, 2010
Welcome to our new blog on the Ecology and Adventure Learning Program, which we are offering this year for homeschooled kids.  We are very excited about this opportunity to share nature with kids, and in this unit we are learning about how to survive in nature.  Today was our first session; here's what we did.
We welcomed 17 students to the Terracentric Outdoor Adventure Centre located at Herondell B&B with a rousing game of chicken tag.  After learning everyone's names, we set out to determine just what we needed to do in case we were left alone, lost, in the bush.  Here's what we decided on, in order of importance:
  1. Call for help! 
  2. Stay in place
  3. Stay warm
  4. Build a shelter
  5. Rest often
  6. Build a fire
  7. Drink water
  8. Eat food
According to this list, the first thing we needed to learn about was staying warm (we assumed that everyone already knew how to call for help and stay in place - no training necessary for those ones!).  The most important part of staying warm is going into the woods prepared, by dressing in layers according to the season.  We learned about 3 layers:
  1. Base Layer: in a cool climate, this is your long underwear.  This type of clothing is best made out of polyester or a sport/fitness material, or other synthetic material, which will dry quickly and wick moisture away from your skin.  It's also nice and warm.  NO COTTON, please, as when cotton get wet it stays wet and lowers your body temperature.
  2. Mid-layer: this is your fleecy sweaters, and your non-cotton pants.  This INSULATION here.  You will need a fabric that provides great heat insulation, but can still breath if the going is heavy and you are sweating.  This is why fleece makes a perfect mid-layer.
  3. Shell:  this is the outer layer that protects you from wind and rain, so your jacket, rain pants, boots, hats, scarves, and gloves all fall into this category.  Hats and gloves are critical, as we lose lots of our body heat from heads and hands.
We will be checking to make sure the students have these layers with them every week.  If they don't currently own them, then the students can simply let us know what they are missing, just so that they still demonstrate their knowledge of layering.  No need to go rushing out to purchase a whole new set of outdoor clothes!  Unless you can find some good stuff a the Hospital Auxiliary!  
Once our activities and discussions around layering were completed, we began to talk about shelters.  The younger group looked at a couple of shelters already there, and assessed them in terms of:
  1. Protection from wind.
  2. Protection from rain.
  3. Sunlight.
  4. Not being soggy, or in a part of the forest that might get soggy.
  5. Visible (i.e. close to the trail so that someone can find them).
  6. Close to running water.
  7. Close to a fuel source.
  8. No other animals holes in the shelter.
Once these criteria were decided upon, we set to making our own shelters.  It wasn't as easy as it seemed!  Our three main challenges were (a) most of the large sticks we could find were bent, and bent sticks don't stay straight on a lean-to shelter; (b) there were so many animal holes; and (c) it was hard to carry the larger logs that make the shelter really secure.  For each of these points, we found a solution.  We can use bent sticks by pushing them into the ground, for a teepee effect.  Some animals holes are better than others (i.e. small mouse and vole holes probably won't cause too many problems, whereas larger raccoon holes will).  And, we needed to use teamwork to move the big heavy stuff.  After about 45 minutes of building, here is what we came up with:
(oops, my photos are too large and I don't have the right software from home....I'll have to upload them at the office on Monday!)
The older group started by brainstorming what materials we can find in nature to use as a shelter, and we talked about designs:  A-frames, lean-tos, and using natural landforms such as hills, logs, etc.  We also discussion what small items would be best to being in a pack, to help with building shelters, and came up with rope & tarp.  Then, the fun began.  We went out into woods and using similar criteria to the younger group above, we began to build the shelters.  One group built an A- frame out of all natural materials and using a hill, another group used a natural depression between two logs and found materials for a flat roof.  We talked about water-proofing the roof.   The third group used a tarp and had the biggest challenge in deciding how best to use the tarp.  We learned about ridgelines & height considerations.  Eventually, the tarp group found a burnt out stump and created a roof and wall with the tarp.  They also created a water collection unit.
The kids were pretty keen about their shelters and asked if they could stay overnight in them.  We are thinking maybe in the summer, we can run another survival camp with an overnight option for the older students.  
After a good chunk of time building shelters, we returned to our meeting places and worked on the Survival Journals.  These journals are meant to be used when the students leave the program and practice the skills on their own, or with their families.  We journaled about layering clothing and building shelters.
The session ended with a circle, and a request for students to start collecting good, natural materials to use for tinder for our fire session next week.  Lichen, dry leaves, dry pitch sticks, etc, can all be collected over the week, dried out at home, and brought to the session next week.
Well, that's enough adventure for one day, this facilitator is going to bed!  See you next week!



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"As our zodiac came close to the island, it was like being in a scene from Jurassic Park... The nature scene we were visiting was bursting with activity" ...read full article

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