Day Tours and Overnight Stays

We are pleased to offer group tours for the general public and school groups, as well as overnight stays to high school and university students during our field season (May to October)! Visits can be adapted for a variety of audiences and aimed to inform everyone about this world-class facility, exposing students to a hands-on field experience and complementing school curricula. Tours are typically 3–4 hours in length (including lunch); the length of overnight stays is based on the school’s interest.


Students and the public can gain:

  • knowledge of ecosystem interactions and fresh water,
  • an understanding of whole-ecosystem research,
  • experience using scientific equipment, and
  • exposure to career opportunities.


Visits can be tailored to meet your interest, but generally, tours include

  • a welcome presentation that provides background on past and current IISD-ELA research;
  • a tour of our facilities, including the chemistry and fish labs, where you will learn about methods and processes;
  • a tour of the Environment Canada meteorological station, where you will learn about the importance of monitoring the weather and the various instruments used;
  • an opportunity to use scientific equipment in our research lakes to monitor temperature, oxygen, and transparency;
  • a hands-on netting activity to collect fish;
  • a hands-on kick netting activity to collect invertebrates; and
  • a visit to a current whole-ecosystem experiment.


Tour participants are required to bring a lunch and appropriate clothing for the season. Overnight visitors will be provided with a list of supplies needed.


IISD-ELA can accommodate various curriculum and course goals. Overnight stays can be geared toward students participating in field experience and/or completing independent projects (independent projects can meet the International Baccalaureate requirements for biology, chemistry, and physics).


Please contact us at with questions or to organize a tour or overnight stay.

I’ve done things I’ve never done before and learned things I never learned before. This experience was super special to me.

Sanela Suljanovic, high school student who participated in our ELSE program

Recreational Visits

Recreational use of the area in which IISD Experimental Lakes Area is situated (for hiking, swimming, canoeing, fishing, etc.), is definitely permitted, and the lakes feature in many popular canoe routes.


However, IISD-ELA does not administer or oversee this usage.


Public access to the area is allowed; however, motorized vehicles travelling on Pine Road beyond the bridge at Lower Stuart Lake are only permitted with a valid travel permit. Should you wish to access the area without a travel permit, you are permitted to park your vehicle(s) at one of three parking areas adjacent to the Lower Stuart Lake bridge. This is the parking spot where canoeists set off on canoe trips via the Lower Stuart Lake route. Recreational paddlers are advised not to park on the Pine Road.


There is a sign at the canoe put-in area advising paddlers about how they can prevent the transfer of aquatic invasive species (such as spiny waterflea) in the lakes near IISD Experimental Lakes Area.

Our facilities

Learn about what to expect when your arrive and how IISD-ELA is built to generate scientifically defensible data used to effect policy change.

Discover our unique facilities