Vancouver Aquarium gives local students a chance to look at sea wildlife

Published Monday, June 10, 2013 in The Cold Lake Sun

The Pacific Ocean may seem pretty far away from rural Alberta.  However students of LeGoff School had the ocean brought to them.  Thanks to the Vancouver Aquarium, students had a chance to touch, examine and learn about some sea creatures from habitats that can seem far away and from some that are closer to home.
“It’s great, because the chances some of these kids will get to the coast are slim to none,” Principal Maryanne Bushore said.  “It’s absolutely amazing.”
The Vancouver Aquariums’ AquaVan, a truck that tours western Canada between January and November, made this possible.   The van is sponsored by Cenovus Energy, and it tailors it’s program to the age group of students it’s working with.
Students got a chance to look at and touch starfish, crabs, sea urchins and snails, as well as several different pelts and skulls from sea animals like sharks and whales.  They learned about different areas of the Pacific Ocean and all sorts of animals that inhabit that area.
The kids were actively engaged with what they were learning.  They asked questions, looked at everything they could, and they learned quite a bit.
The AquaVan also explores the wetlands, an area of subject some of the students are learning about.
“It kind of recaps what the students have learned during the year,” Bushore said.
Lindsay Gibbons, one of the employees with the AquaVan, says it’s one of the best way to teach kids the morals of conservation.   Conservation is one of the main goals of the AquaVan, and how they go about doing it is what Gibbons says makes the difference.
“Because these kids get to actually see and touch these animals, it strengthens their connection with them,” Gibbons said. “They really understand what exactly they’re trying to save.”
The AquaVan is going to continue touring around the area, visiting other towns like Lac La Biche in the coming weeks.  It takes a break later in June and returns to British Columbia in August, before wrapping up its run in November in the Sunshine Coast.
If you’re interested in bringing the AquaVan to your school Gibbons promotes looking at AquaVan.org for details.