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Project Details

Québec, QC, Canada

Spencer Chaisson

Project Lead

A youth workshop series aimed at exploring the "secret life of plankton".

Project Description

My project aimed to spark a curiosity from children in ocean science and the unseen beauty and importance of plankton. My workshops included providing a fun narrative on what plankton were and how they were important for sustaining everyone’s favorite marine wildlife from turtles to whales. I provided access to a plankton net and to a microscope attached to a TV to look at real plankton from their local beach.  I completed 3 workshops in early Fall 2020, with the largest being a tailored workshop for a group from Big Brothers Vancouver in October 2020.

“The Secret Life of Plankton: Learn about the microscopic but big world of plankton! What are plankton and what do they look like? Why are they important for all ocean life like clams, fish, and whales? And what can we do to help keep our ocean plankton health and happy? These are all questions that will be answered in this fun and interactive workshop. The workshop is split into three parts – 1) An overview of the basics of plankton; 2) Going outside to a nearby beach or dock to collect our very own plankton from the ocean; and 3) A look at the plankton we collect using a microscope.”

Biggest Challenge

My biggest challenges were gaining the confidence to run a workshop, and getting the equipment and space needed for this kind of workshop. Ocean Wise helped with all three by 1) including me in a network of other youth to learn and grow together, 2) providing me a microscope to train with and use for workshop demonstrations, and 3) providing me free space to use at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Most Valuable Takeaway

The most amazing things is that I still have parents thank me and say that I inspired some of their kids to become marine biologists, and that they’re taking school seriously because of it. So they act as an inspiration to me to keep pursuing my ocean science career.


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