Vancouver, B.C. – Back from its first-ever cross-country tour, the AquaVan 150: Connecting Communities to Coastlines tour has returned to Vancouver after eight months on the road. The tour is a Canada 150 signature initiative that brought the ocean and aquatic life to Canadians from coast to coast. Since leaving Vancouver in April 2017, the team of educators and their mobile aquariums have delivered more than 170 programs in both official languages and engaged in more than 100,000 conversations about ocean conservation along the way.
The AquaVan 150 features a 8-metre trailer, with resident creatures including sea stars, sea cucumbers, crabs and sea anemones, among other marine artifacts from the Pacific Coast. The charismatic animals served as ocean ambassadors and travelled, with a full life-support system, in four state-of-the-art mobile aquariums. In addition to receiving hands-on experiential learning, community members also learned about local history and regional environmental issues.
“The Ocean Wise AquaVan program began at the Vancouver Aquarium 23 years ago, and this coast-to-coast tour across our great nation is an incredible milestone. The Education team has brought the ocean to cities as big as Toronto, destinations as cold as the Columbia Icefield, and events as lively as the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market,” said John Nightingale, CEO of Ocean Wise. “Having reached tens of thousands of Canadians, we’re immensely proud to connect with community members far and wide to share the joy of experiencing ocean life up close. Our legacy, we hope, is an even larger contingent of ocean protectors who are now inspired to conserve our country’s precious waterways.”
Stops included community events, schools, museums and camps in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. At many of the public events, locals participated in a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, where communities helped to rehabilitate a local shoreline and clear it of litter and debris through a hands-on cleanup.
There were a number of firsts for the AquaVan on the trip, including a barge trip to an island in Georgian Bay, Ontario and two separate gondola rides with sea creatures while in the Alberta Rockies. The engagement numbers were equally remarkable — the team visited 130 schools and connected with over 40,000 students of all ages.
Ocean Wise and its AquaVan 150 team were proud to be part of the Canada 150 celebrations and recognize the Government of Canada for helping to fund the AquaVan 150: Connecting Communities to Coastlines tour. The 2017 programming was also made possible through the ongoing support of Ocean Wise’s sponsors and donors.
Ocean Wise is a not-for-profit organization whose vision is a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing. Explore with us at www.ocean.org.
Note: photos and footage of the AquaVan 150 are available upon request.
Alexis Brown | Ocean Wise | firstname.lastname@example.org | 604 659 3777