There’s a new jelly swarm attracting attention at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Jellyfish have always been a popular attraction for us, but these ones are part of a custom art display constructed by students at Byrne Creek Community School. More than 100 jellies created by the students in partnership with the Stream of Dreams Mural Society are now on permanent display in the window outside our AquaQuest entrance. They serve as a playful, and powerful, reminder of the impact of trash in our marine ecosystems.

Led by their enthusiastic teacher, Judy-Kaye Mcleod, art students at Byrne Creek Community School in Burnaby created these jellyfish to celebrate their love of the ocean through a new program delivered by Louise Towell from the eco-education program Stream of Dreams. The jellies were made by art classes in grades 8 to 12 and are suspended from specially constructed scaffolding in the new window display.

Judy-Kaye McLeod and Louise Towell spearheaded this special project to highlight the impact of marine debris.

Judy-Kaye McLeod (left) and Louise Towell spearheaded this special project to highlight the impact of marine debris.

During this project, the Burnaby students learned about marine litter in our oceans and talked about what they could each do to help. They collected quotes from inspirational leaders about ocean conservation, and these quotes were incorporated into their jellyfish design.

“Students are changing the world,” says Judy. “It was an honour for our students to create a beautiful art installation for the Vancouver Aquarium.”

Among the beautiful, colourful jellyfish on display you will also spot ordinary plastic bags. These common litter items found in rivers, lakes, streams and oceans can look like jellyfish to turtles, which means they can be mistaken for food, causing starvation.

You can see our new jelly display in the window outside our AquaQuest entrance. Meanwhile employees get this worms-eye-view from the second floor offices.

Turtles aren’t the only ones who think plastic bags can look a lot like a jelly. See if you can pick them out of this display on your next trip to the Vancouver Aquarium.

If, like the students at Byrne Creek, you feel inspired to take action for our oceans, you can coordinate a cleanup through the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, anytime of year, anywhere that land connects to water. Judy says that her students are planning to do just that in their local watershed next to their school, to prevent the harmful impacts of litter in their precious waterway.

This project was generously supported by the Lagniappe Foundation.

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is a joint conservation initiative of the Vancouver Aquarium and WWF-Canada, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited and supported by Ricoh and YVR.

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