What grows in a kelp forest? Where can you find a clam garden? Do salmon have superpowers? Customers travelling with BC Ferries can learn the answers to these and other questions this summer with the return of the popular Coastal Naturalist Program.
From June 14 through September 4, enthusiastic Coastal Naturalists will be on board select vessels and at several terminals to present a free 20-minute educational program for customers of all ages. Visitors and locals alike will learn about the world beneath the waves, find out more about B.C.’s wildlife, marine life, geography, culture and history.
“The Coastal Naturalists are a highlight for many people who travel with us. We’re happy to offer this experience again this summer, on more sailings and at more terminals than ever before,” said Janet Carson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Marketing & Customer Experience. “To meet demand, the program is starting early this year, and we’re adding more than 100 additional presentations to the schedule.”
For the 2019 summer season, travellers will have plenty of opportunity to catch one of the programs, with more than 1,300 presentations scheduled. Customers can find Coastal Naturalists on the outer decks of vessels servicing routes linking Metro Vancouver with Vancouver Island, with coastal scenery as a backdrop.
They will also be at the Tsawwassen, Swartz Bay, Duke Point, Departure Bay and Horseshoe Bay terminals. Now in its 14th year, the Coastal Naturalist Program is presented in partnership with Parks Canada and Ocean Wise.
“It is a sure sign of summer when Coastal Naturalists liven up BC Ferries travel by sharing the wonders of the coast through on-board presentations and engagement at ferry terminals. Parks Canada is proud to be a partner in this well-loved program and raise awareness of the incredible cultural and natural resources visitors can discover at protected places like Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, as well as many other locations in the region,” said Helen Davies, Field Unit Superintendent for Parks Canada’s Coastal BC Field Unit.
“Ocean Wise is thrilled to be partnering with Parks Canada and BC Ferries this year on the Coastal Naturalist program,” said James Bartram, vice president of Ocean Wise Education and Youth. “We look forward to engaging, amazing and inspiring ferry passengers this summer by sharing our passion for the world’s oceans.”
Approximately 150,000 passengers participate in these presentations each season. Since the Coastal Naturalist Program began in 2005, close to two million people have enjoyed these free educational programs.