The Salish Sea Research and Education Society is a platform for post-secondary research which also provides opportunity for K-12 students and the community to learn from current research projects, experience the flora and fauna of the ocean, and make discoveries of their own about the marine ecosystem.
Four Essential Pillars
The Society is built upon the historical success of UBC's Open Water Research Station to provide scientists and graduate students with a unique opportunity to undertake cutting-edge research, such as examining the effects of climate change, ocean acidification, and development activities on species biodiversity and ecosystem health. For most researchers, work in the aquatic ecosystem entails either travelling far afield or setting up temporary study sites that do not provide the support essential for research. The new floating station will help provide a bridge between traditional laboratory research and field studies, as well as between research and education, and finally, between conservation science and citizen science. The location will provide a convenient base for local researchers from UBC, Simon Fraser University, BCIT, Capilano University, Douglas College, and Kwantlen Poytechnic University, with the ability to attract researchers from across Canada and abroad.
Place-based education is a primary objective. Studies have shown that nature education in children results in physical and mental wellness. Currently, most outdoor education experiences are only available to select classes and gifted programs. Our goal is to make such programs available to all school-aged children. A mobile floating education station will host education programs, with activities aimed at understanding local biodiversity, learning basic scientific techniques (working with microscopes, identifying local species), and gaining an appreciation of global environmental issues.
It is critical that we become an integral part of the local and wider community. An emphasis on hosting activities, as well as partaking in community events, will cultivate a social base as we grow and work to provide more research and learning opportunities to the broader community. This will be achieved by forging dynamic partnerships with educational institutions and organizations, First Nations, governments, businesses and industry.
In addition to containing Canada’s most southern deep-water fjord, Burrard Inlet is also relatively undeveloped with localized commercial activity. Home to several salmon-bearing streams, diverse seabird species, and both resident and transient marine mammal populations, the local waterways – Burrard Inlet and Indian Arm – can serve to address both local ecological (human impact) concerns, while being a case study to address global conservation issues. The vast flora and fauna found in the local waterways provide countless opportunities for field studies and restoration ecology. We plan to provide opportunities to protect and restore the health of Burrard Inlet, while promoting cutting-edge conservation practices.