Since 1969 CFUW Nanaimo Seashore Program has delivered presentations on intertidal marine life to groups of grade four students in Nanaimo. Every spring we collect a wide variety of specimens, which are housed in tanks at the Pacific Biological Station for the duration of the five week program.
Each day, volunteers collect a representative selection of animals from the tanks, and load them into large buckets of salt water to be transported to the local school. As well, we take several jerry cans of salt water which are used to fill the aquariums into which the animals will be transferred at the school. Later our scheduled classes arrive and the presentation begins and includes the following:
- a short lecture with Power Point presentation emphasizing preservation of the marine environment and information on the characteristics of animals that live between the tides,
- a longer period of observation and questions at the tanks of live animals and at displays of dried and preserved specimens, and
- photos taken at local beaches or in local waters.
The Program is funded entirely by CFUW Nanaimo and operates strictly on a volunteer basis. We have applied for, and received, a few grants to help purchase equipment and supplies. One year we were fortunate enough to receive funds to hire a student; in 2004 we were able to host a Katimavik participant. As well as a passion for education, our volunteers are keen and active. Some are already knowledgeable in intertidal marine life but most of our volunteers learn on the job, guided by those who have previous experience.
We also provide learning opportunities for local secondary students who can volunteer to assist us. In return for helping us with the physically heavy aspects, they receive valuable skills, in animal care and feeding, presentation skills and how to work with elementary students. Our CFUW program is provided at no charge to the schools compared to a similar program run by the Vancouver Aquarium which charges $1000 per day. We are very proud of our program and grateful for the help and support we receive from the Pacific Biological Station, School District 68 and our club members.
There are a variety of opportunities for Club members to participate in Seashore activities:
- collecting animals at the seashore,
- feeding and caring for the animals at the Pacific Biological Station,
- decorating and setting up the classroom; preparing dry station materials,
- presenting the program in the classroom, and
- leading discussions at the wet station with live animals.
Learn about the full history of the seashore program here.
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