We celebrated the 5th annual World Oceans Day event this weekend and it was fantastic! A whopping 1098 people attended. Kids and adults were able to interact with students, staff and faculty from the StFX Biology department to learn about marine biodiversity and explore the touch-tanks.

A huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers, presenters and special guests who made this event possible.

Here are some of the highlights:

Elizabeth Wallace greeted the public at the main entrance with a smile and directed traffic like a pro!

Nick MacInnis from the Nova Scotia Salmon Association (NSSA) and Kris Hunter also from NSSA and Sr. Lab Instructor of the StFX Biology dept. talked to the public about the on-going projects the NSSA is working on.

Dr. Jennifer Jamieson from the Human Nutrition dept. explained the health benefits of omega-3s found in fish and shellfish, as well as the importance of purchasing certified sustainable seafood.

Grace Campbell from the Department Fisheries and Oceans talked about the importance of managing the fisheries in the Maritimes.

Brenna Martell informed the public about the work Bird Studies Canada is doing to conserve the piping plover population.

Joey Lever from the Sydney Coast Guard College gave people a glimpse of some of the marine engineering and navigation programs they offer and the important work they do in safeguarding our waterways.

Nicole Haverkort from the Eastern Region Solid Waste Management motivated youth on preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean starting with proper waste management and diversion.

Dr. Justin Gregg educated the public on the ever-fascinating dolphins and their complexe communication systems.

Dr. Joke Adesola educated the public about striped bass aquaculture, farming potential, its local and global importance as well as how people can get involved.

Dr. Lynn Patterson from the StFX Aquatic Resources talked about the ever-growing interdisciplinary program which involves everything related to our water; environment, sustainability, conservation of biodiversity, climate change, and public policy development, to name a few.

Dr. David Garbary, an expert in seaweed at the StFX Biology dept., educated youth on the importance of seaweed and gave the public an eye-full of the vast diversity of local seaweed, which can often be overlooked when strolling nearby beaches.

Aneal and Lisa Virick came all the way from the Sydney Odditorium to showcase their very impressive collection of prehistoric bones, fossils, rocks and amazing unique treasures!

The Sydney Odditorium’s Benedict penguin was part of the display too.

Mosasaurus and Plesiosaurus jaws, bones and fossils were also on display.

Grad student Emil Jurga talked about the importance of plankton and various microorganisms that represent the first link in the food chain.

Underdrad student Sydney Silver encouraged youth to hold and touch interesting marine organisms housed in one of the touch-tanks, including this pink sea anemone.

Undergrad student Jayden Marion educated youth about a variety of crabs, including decorator crabs, rock crabs and the invasive species of green crabs.

Undergrad student Breton Fougere educated people about stingrays, skates and their fascinating life cycle.

Undergrad Lia Blakett talked about the anatomy and behaviour of local and tropical sea urchins.

Undergrad student Aaron Cogger encouraged youth to hold and learn about seastars, their habitat, behaviour and unique water vascular system.

Grad student Ella Maltby shared her knowledge about local lobsters and encouraged youth to touch these juvenile lobsters.

Undergrad student Austin Farrell educated youth about extinct marine molluscs and helped kids make their own fossil prints of trilobites and ammonites.

At the craft station, Katie Kirkham and Michelle Hodgson were busy throughout the event helping kids make colourful ocean themed crafts.

Undergrads Danny MacDonald, Katrina Ferrari, vet school student, Veronica Ells, and high-school student Madalynn Proctor did an amazing job at the face painting station!

Nadia Tarakki did beautiful intricate ocean themed designs at the Henna tattoo station.

Biology Lab Instructor Katelyn MacNeil, with undergrads Erin Samson and Amy Graham who were in charge of educating the public about this show-stopping two meter blue shark, which will be used in the comparative anatomy course lead by Mr. Randy Lauff, Sr. Biology Lab Instructor and curator.

This year’s presenters and special guests were: (from the left) Joke Adesola, Joey Lever, Jessica Haverkort, Nicole Haverkort, Justin Gregg, Lynn Patterson, Brenna Martell, David Garbary, Grace Campbell, Aneal Virick, Stella Virick, Lisa Virick, and Jennifer Jamieson. Missing from picture: Kris Hunter and Nick MacInnis

And finally all the volunteers who helped make the event possible: from top left; Lia Blakett, Aaron Cogger, Katrina Ferrari, Jayden Marion, Emil Jurga, James Millar, Kayleigh Trenholm, Amy Graham, David Garbary, Elizabeth Wallace, Erin Samsom, Veronica Ells, Katelyn MacNeil, Austin Farrell, Breton Fougere, Nadia Tarakki, Ella Maltby, Michelle Hodgson, Reg Cozzi, Katie Kirkham, Madalynn Proctor, Sydney Silver and Danny MacDonald. Missing from picture: Leah Rogers and Jennifer Van den Heuvel, who helped tremendously with the displays and setup!

Local jellyfish, one of many marine organisms housed in the touch-tanks, brought in by Dr.Russell Wyeth and Michael Gerhatz.

I hope everyone had a great time!  😀


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