Sometimes we all need a little help finding the right match. No, we’re not talking about dating sites and finding love, but here at the Vancouver Aquarium’s B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, we’re continually working to make connections with various kinds of citizen scientists along the coast. Our observers come from many walks of life: lighthouse keepers, whale watchers, ferry captains, beachcombers, fishermen, and pilots, to name a few. They donate their time recording and reporting their opportunistic sightings of whales, dolphins, porpoises and sea turtles. This year, we hope to add a new category to our observer list: adventure athlete.

We’ve embarked on a new collaboration with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC), an organization that matches outdoor enthusiasts willing to collect data with the scientific projects that need their help. Their aim is to provide opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to make a difference as they play outdoors. Since adventure athletes are often travelling into places that are remote, and time-consuming and expensive to reach, these partnerships provide researchers with information that is valuable and would be otherwise difficult to access.

By partnering with ASC, the Sightings Network is hoping to recruit rowers, paddlers, sailors and hikers venturing along the B.C. coast to collect and record their sightings of cetaceans and sea turtles (see our profile here). As expeditions often cover long distances, and venture into very remote areas of B.C. (with little observer coverage otherwise), the sightings they collect will better the understanding of cetacean distribution and occurrence along the coast. Imagine an expedition paddling from Seattle to Ketchikan, or circumnavigating Vancouver Island – there are athletes out there taking on these amazing feats, and through ASC, we hope to harness some of their observations. We’ll even provide waterproof data sheets and ID cards for that wet, West Coast weather.

Could you be our next adventure-athlete-turned-citizen-scientist match? If you’re interested in getting involved with Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, learn more here.

You can contribute to the collection of data and research of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles by contacting us with your sightings. If you spot a cetacean, please call us toll free at 1-866-I SAW ONE (1-866-472-9663), or via email at [email protected] For more information on the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, please visit our website.

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