COVID-19 Prevention – Safe Learning

We are based in the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and will be pleased to consider requests for educational programs in and around the area. One of Biodiversity Conservancy International’s (BCI) objectives is to undertake educational programs to increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity and conservation. Our educational programs include talks, seminars, hands-on exhibitions, and excursions to natural habitats, conducted by our scientists and naturalists.

Due to COVID 19 pandemic, BCI provides a virtual education program for safe participation and learning.  The program focuses on the uniqueness, rareness and the threatened status of sand dunes and their associated bio-ecological components, including habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem. The current Virtual Dune Education & Tour will virtually bring participants to the Pinhey Sand Dunes located in the National Capital Greenbelt, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to specifically study the physical, geological and particularly the eco-biological features of these sand dunes. 

Pinhey Sand Dunes

Virtual Education Program 2020

Learning Subject:
Sand Dune Biodiversity, Habitat & Ecosystem

This program is provided to Schools (Grades 1-12), Colleges, Universities, Organizations. Institutions, Community and the Public in Ottawa-Carleton, Ontario, or across Canada

Duration & Presentation Format

  • Format A lasts 1 hour,  including virtual dune education and tour plus interruptions during the tour for questions and answers and other interactive activities.
  • Format B1 lasts 1 hour 30 minutes, including (i) format A presentation; (ii) virtual tour of Sanctuary for Butterflies and Pollinators at Pinhey Sand Dunes; (iii) Insect survival strategies, Mimicry & Camouflage; and (iv) additional interactivity between participants, scientists, and members of BCI Sand Dune Team.
  • Format B2 lasts 1 hour 30 minutes, including (i) format A presentation; (ii) virtual tour of Sanctuary for Butterflies and Pollinators at Pinhey Sand Dunes; (iii) Insect ecosystem services; and (iv) additional interactivity between participants, scientists, and members of BCI Sand Dune Team.

To register: First download the above PDF form, fill out, save, then email it to


Did you know? Canada’s capital has sand dunes! The Pinhey Sand Dunes (PSD) are a unique, desert-like ~9,000 year-old geological and biological heritage site. This dryland habitat is the home of a highly specialized group of organisms which have adapted over thousands of years to the harsh dune environment where (i) the sun is fiercely bright and hot; (ii) sand temperature in the summer can soar to 70-750 C, the wind can be at times gusty; (iii) dust devils occasionally occur.

Pinhey Dunes 2, 150 m south of Slack Rd. & Vaan Dr., Nepean, Ontario, Canada – July 30, 2020
About the Program (Free)Each year from May to October, Biodiversity Conservancy International (BCI) provides a fun, interactive learning experience focused on the unique Pinhey dune habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem.  

During the Covid19 Pandemic, BCI is providing an online dune education program to schools, colleges, universities, organizations. institutions, community and the public in Ottawa-Carleton or across Canada. The virtual session lasts approximately 60-90 minutes. 

(1) Virtual session – Participants will interact with BCI scientists to learn about: (i) the history and formation of the Pinhey sand dunes; (ii) the dune biodiversity and ecosystem; (iii) Pollination and ecosystem services (iv) Butterfly sanctuary; (v) a virtual walk (slides and videos) through the dunes in search of dune organisms, insects, spiders and other arthropods; and (vi) the restoration process to reclaim parts of the prehistoric sand dunes system in Canada’s Capital from the densely planted forest.

(2) An actual Pinhey dune tour (optional) will be provided to students or non student participants who live within driving distance to the Pinhey Sand Dunes.  Participants are required to travel to the dunes on their own on a pre-arranged date and time (younger students may be transported to the Dunes by parents/ Guardians). BCI scientists will meet participants and associates at the site and will provide a 60-90-minute interactive dune tour, including hands-on participation in dune restoration activities as seen in the virtual session described above.

Note: Due to COVID-19 Pandemic social distancing will be maintained throughout the tour.  Group size: 50 participants or less.

Where? The Pinhey Sand Dunes system is the study site. It is located immediately adjacent to north west corner of Slack Road & Vaan Drive, 300 meters east of Woodroffe Avenue.  The dune entrance is at south west corner of Vaan Drive & Pineland Avenue.

For additional information, please contact:

Selected Photos of Past Educational Program

During Spring-Summer-Fall 2019 in Ottawa-Carleton, Ontario, Canada, Biodiversity Conservancy International is providing free, on-site interactive educational programs to study dune biodiversity and ecosystem for students (from elementary school to university), youth organizations (scouts, summer campers…) and adult groups. Free yellow bus transportation to Pinhey Sand Dunes (study site) is provided to groups of at least 15 people on the basis of first come first serve. This program is sponsored by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation.

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Gallery of Past Educational Events

Bringing Nature to Classroom


Classroom seminar


Hands-on snake demonstration


Students learn about reptiles


Spider demonstration

Bringing the Classroom to Nature


An on–site education at Pinhey Sand Dunes (Photo: T.D. Trinh)


Learn, understand, appreciate and protect at an on-siie interactive education session at Pinhey Sand Dunes (Photo: T.D.Trinh)


The future protectors of dune habitat, biodiversity and ecosystem (Photo: T.D. Trinh)


“I am not scared, It is my friend that is desperately in need our help for continuing to have a place to live.” (Photo: P.T. Dang)


This well-camouflaged spider, Arctosa littoralis, is hardly visible on the dune surface. School children love to handle the spider this way (Photo: P.T. Dang).


Reptile demonstration


A lesson on the unique dune habitat


A small but important dune inhabitantS