World Oceans Day

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So it was quite the event on the weekend, as the Biology Dept. celebrated their 6th annual World Oceans Day event. Here are some of the highlights…

The displays included touch-tanks with different species of live sea anemones.

A sea weed station where algae reproduction was demonstrated.

And a marine microorganism station, where microscopic phytoplankton and zooplankton could be viewed.

Among the stations with live critters, there were various species of sea star and sea urchins. Children learned about echinoderms, locomotion, habitat and behaviour.

Making trilobite and ammonite fossil prints on clay, was one of the many popular stations to visit.

The green crabs station where kids were able to hold the crabs, learn about the invasive species, their anatomy and geographic distribution.

This year we also had a Blubber experiment station where kids learned how arctic animals stay warm.

A plankton race station, where the public participated in making their own plankton then racing it down the water column for a chance to win prizes from the sustainability station (see the winners list below).

The sustainability station which included alternatives to plastic items donated by local businesses was a great addition to the event. The goal was to promote the reduction of plastics use.

Also new, learning how to make nautical and Daisy chain knots.

The dogfish station educated the public about the anatomy, behaviour and location of this fascinating animal.

The Nutrition Dept. volunteers educated the public on sustainable foods and healthy eating habits.

The face painting and henna stations were very popular, as always.

The craft stations were busy throughout the event. This year’s features were salt water raised paintings and Gyotaku fish prints.

The Atlantis photo booth was a pleasant surprise for all DC Aquaman fans.

And finally various local organizations were present to promote healthy oceans and the important work they do for our community.

Kris Hunter from the NS Salmon Association Brenna Martel from Birds Studies Canada & the piping plover conservation Dr. Justin Gregg from the Dolphin Communications Project Nicole Haverkort from the Eastern Region Solid Waste Management Grace Campbell from the Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans

I would like to thank the following local businesses who donated sustainable items for the plankton race draw:

The Posh Peppermint Home & Gifts

Kent Business Supplies Antigonish

Canadian Tire Antigonish

The Plum Tree Gift Shoppe

Nova Scotia Salmon Association (NSSA)

Nova Scotia Fisherman

And congratulations to the winners of the Plancton Race draw!

You have until Friday 12:00pm to pick up your prize from the Biology dept. at StFX, J. Bruce brown building, main office (open 8:00am-3:30pm). Winners will be posted on the Country Parent Facebook page and contacted by telephone.

Heidi MacGillivray – Canadian Tire Greenlid compost bin starter kit

Cheri van den Heuvel – Canadian Tire reusable straws

Tarampreet Kaur – NSSA ball cap

Ryan Shurman – NSSA ball cap

Clara – NSSA ball cap

Elias van den Heuvel – NSSA ball cap

Simon MacDonald – reusable stainless steel straws from the Posh Peppermint Home & Gifts

Kelly Young – nautical pattern paper straws from the Posh Peppermint Home & Gifts

Damon & Liam (Erica Barker) – reusable food wraps from the Posh Peppermint Home & Gifts

Felix Coady – reusable produce bags from the Posh Peppermint Home & Gifts

Lisa Jackman – NS Fisherman’s lip balm

Jesse – NS Fisherman’s soap

Lindsey Bennet – Swedish dishcloths from the Plum Tree Gift Shoppe

Chloe Christensen – reusable shopping bag from the Plum Tree Gift Shoppe

Devin Garvie – reusable shopping bag from the Plum Tree Gift Shoppe

Austin Smith – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Nahla MacAdam – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Anna Mae – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Heni Sampson – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Charlie Overmars – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Molly van den Heuvel – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Megan Lukeman – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Rachel Jackman – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Carson Garvie – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Bentley – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Sawyer Coady – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

Jeanette MacMillan – Grill scraper from Kent Building Supplies

A huge Thank You to all the volunteers without whom this annual event would not be possible!

Katelyn MacNeil, Leah Rogers, Maryann Burbidge, Moira Galway, Lori Graham, Russell Wyeth, Jen van den Heuvel, Michelle Hodgson, Jayden Marion, Carmen Ucciferri, Madeline McDonald, Megan Davies, Meaghan MacDonald, Kayleigh Trenholm, Jessica Swinkels, Matthew Freeman, Arkadiy Reunov, Randy Lauff, Ella Maltby, David Garbary, Grace Moffat, Lauren Sobot, Areej Alansari, Chris Marchand, Randy Lauff, Melissa Howse, Megan MacGillivray, Seta Douglas, Shannyn Burke, Angus Ryan, Marley Ryan, James, Bethen and Alyssa.

Reg 🙂

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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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The StFX Biology Department will be hosting their 5th Annual World Oceans Day 2018 on June 9!

World Oceans Day, a global ocean celebration, promotes Ocean awareness through exploration, education, conservation, initiatives and beach clean-ups around the world.

This year’s theme is: Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.

What to expect?

There will be lots to see and do during the event. Be prepared to touch unusual sea critters, interact with the presenters and learn about local and tropical marine organisms.

There will be displays of preserved specimens (including whale bones, sting rays, cuttlefish, octopus) and many live microorganisms including sea anemones, sea urchins, sea stars, a variety of crabs, and our famous blue lobster!

Also on the list, a sea-weed station, make-your-own fossil print station, face painting, ocean themed crafts, and much more.

Participating Organizations & Special Guests

♦  StFX Aquatic Resources Dept.  

♦  StFX Human Nutrition Dept.

♦  Bird Studies Canada

♦  Department of Fisheries and Oceans

♦  Canadian Coast Guard

♦  Nova Scotia Salmon Association

♦  Eastern Region Solid Waste Management

♦  The Sydney Odditorium

…Stay tuned, as we will be adding more to the list!

See you there!


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The StFX Biology Dept. was delighted to welcome more than 400 people to the World Oceans Day event held on June 11.

This year’s World Oceans Day theme was ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’ with an action focus of

Encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future”

Events were organized all over the world, with a high concentration in the Atlantic regions.

So let’s talk about the event…

First I would like to thank ALL the amazing volunteers who made it happen!

A HUGE THANK YOU to Leah Rogers for helping organize the event and the numerous displays.

Leah Rogers, Senior Lab Instructor in Biology

Lab instructor Katelyn MacNeil for looking after all the live organisms and organizing the seaweed collection.

Katelyn MacNeil collecting Chondrus crispus, commonly called Irish moss (Tor Bay, NS, photo by Maryann Burbidge)

Katelyn MacNeil sharing her knowledge on sea urchins

Meredith Karcz and lab instructor Maryann Burbidge for also helping with the seaweed collection.

Meredith Karcz collecting seaweed in Tor Bay, NS (photo by Maryann Burbidge)

(photo by Maryann Burbidge)

Maryann Burbidge talking about the importance of corals (photo by Leah Rogers)

Katelyn MacNeil and Meredith Karcz

Guest participants included Northern NS Coastal Stewardship Biologist with Bird Studies Canada, Rielle Hoeg, who talked about the importance of the Piping Plover Conservation Program.

StFX Co-op student Sam Gan from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO, Gulf of NS) shared information about the DFO and its role in the Atlantic provinces.

Nicole Haverkort from the Eastern Region Solid Waste Management representing the Antigonish and Guysborough Counties talked about litter prevention.

Alyssa Armstrong, student intern with the Canadian Coast Guard College spoke about the role of the Sydney Coast Guard in keeping the waterways safe.

(photo by Leah Rogers)

Justin Gregg, StFX Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Associate with the Dolphin Communication Project who ahred his knowledge on behaviour, communication and cognition.

And finally, all the volunteers looking after the different stations…

Molly Crosby looking after the sea anemone touch-tank

Sydney Silver at the live sea star station (photo by Leah Rogers)

Amelia MacKenzie at the stingrays, skates and shark station

Hannah Stevens talking about the importance of plankton

Research Associate Sonja Ehlers sharing her knowledge on barnacles and a variety of crabs

Jim Nelson showing the blue lobster (photo by Leah Rogers)

Meredith Karcz talking about seaweed

Ella Maltby at the fossils station

StFX grad and currently veterinary medicine student Veronica Ells in charge of the face painting

Lara Westhaver in charge of the craft station

Jessica Popp, coordinator with the StFX Extension dept. and Emily Bornais for looking after the main floor entrance and guiding the public.

Jaelynn our volunteer tattoo artist (photo by Leah Rogers)

(photo by Kristel Fleuren-Hunter)

Dr. Moira Galway, Associate Professor and Chair of the Biology Dept.

Thank you all for making this event a success!


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More event pictures…

(photo by Leah Rogers) (photo by Leah Rogers)

(photo by 101.5 The Hawk)

(photo by 101.5 The Hawk)

(photo by 101.5 The Hawk)

(photo by 101.5 The Hawk)

(photo by Kristel Fleuren-Hunter)

(photo by Kristel Fleuren-Hunter)

(photo by Kristel Fleuren-Hunter)

(photo by Leah Rogers)

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June 8 is World Oceans Day, a global ocean celebration marked by special events, exploration, awareness, education, conservation, initiatives and beach clean-ups.

This year’s theme is: Our Oceans, Our Future.

For the last three years the St. Francis Xavier University Biology Dept. has been hosting World Ocean Day events for the community. This year marks our 4th event!

On June 11 the department will open its doors for a few hours to showcase the marine touch-tanks to the public. This is a wonderful opportunity to discover and learn about marine biodiversity.

There will be much to see and ‘touch’! We promise, you won’t be disappointed 😀

So, save the date on your calendars and join us this summer. Your kids will LOVE it!

This event has been registered with the World Oceans Day organization.

Click HERE for updates on activities and participating special guests 😉



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