The gym at Mile 108 Elementary School was filled with marine life exhibits and a massive map of the Arctic circle from the Vancouver Aquarium AquaVan (AV) on June 1.
Students from Mile 108, Forest Grove, and Lac la Hache Elementary schools came in the gym and sat around a large map of the Arctic Ocean.
The AV educators taught the students about the erosion of the Arctic ice sheet and how it affects wildlife that live in and around the ice sheet.
The AV mobile education program visits schools and communities throughout western British Columbia to create bridges between communities and aquatic life.
The program has garnered several awards, including the Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion and the Eva Savory Award for Science Communication from the Science Council of BC.
The educators split the students into groups and talked about the different aspects of the living ecosystem. They talked about the scavengers, hunters, whales and other marine animals, and how they all are connected to the effects of the Arctic ecosystem.
Every session ended with the students being brought back to the map and shown how the Arctic ice sheet has eroded from 2000 to 2012.
AV education co-ordinator Tamara Loney told the students improving and maintaining the environment in their community can help improve the Arctic ecosystem. Loney says she was impressed by the students curiosity and willingness to learn.
“They are really excited and full of so many great questions. There has also been great feedback from the teachers.”
Local education faculty members sat in on the presentations and were just as intrigued as the students.
“These are really engaging and informative sessions,” says Lac la Hache principal Cindy Neufeld.
“The AquaVan educators are able to relate the land environment to the ocean environment and it’s very engaging for students.”