More than 150 million years ago, the land that is now home to the Rocky Mountains was a large inland seaway teeming with marine life. Over millions of years, heavy tectonic activity pushed the mountains upwards, bringing with them fossil-rich deposits, reminiscent of an aquatic past. In the next five weeks, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre AquaVan, presented by BC Hydro and BG Canada, will be visiting some of the landlocked communities surrounding the Canadian Rockies and bringing the “ocean” back to these mountains.
On the heels of a fabulous four-week tour through central British Columbia — where it connected with almost 5,000 people in eight communities — the AquaVan is back on the road again. With live animals, such as sea stars, crabs and urchins, and engaging programs, the program reconnects students to the ocean.
“The health and well-being of our world’s oceans affect every person on this planet,” says Catriona Wilson, manager of the AquaVan. “It’s easy to feel disconnected from it when the ocean is hundreds of kilometres away. By bringing conservation-based education to these schools we hope to inspire a sense of stewardship in these students to benefit the future of our oceans.”
Spring is always a busy tour season for the AquaVan, fitting in as much programming as possible before the end of the school year. While on the road in the last two months the team not only managed to conduct programs at 20 venues but fulfilled other basic duties as well, like caring for the aquatic species that live in the truck, coordinating vehicle repair and maintenance, making and treating salt water and finding time to visit Ocean Wise™ partner restaurants in different communities.
Now, after two weeks at home, mechanical upgrades and the acquisition of a brown box crab, the AquaVan is prepared to hit the road again. Keep an eye out for the AquaVan as it travels through northeastern B.C. as well as Edmonton and Canmore in Alberta, where 16 schools will be visited in six communities. Stay up to date on their travels by following #AquaVan on Twitter and feel free to take a picture and tag the team or the truck in action when they visit your school or community.
Learn more about the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and the upcoming AquaVan schedule by visiting us online at: vanaqua.org/learn/outreach/aquavan.