Bamfield Trip Fuels Environmental Science Experience

bamfield

Way back in 2013, our AP Environmental Science students travelled to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. Soon after they returned, we received this great report on the trip and some amazing photos, which we are finally sharing with you.

by Jennifer Park, Grade 12

The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre is, in their words, a “world-class teaching and research facility located on the outer west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada” and the AP Environmental Science class explored this facility for four days. It was truly a great opportunity. We were able to not only obtain many hours of field experience during our trip but also meet and learn from researchers and university students studying various aspects of marine or forest environments and biology. Despite the grey weather and isolation, Bamfield is a vibrant and interesting community.

Our schedule during the four days was intense, to say the least. From the moment we arrived around noon on Saturday, to the moment we left — 3 pm on Tuesday, every hour was filled to the brim. From the 7:30 am breakfast to the 9 pm wrap-up, we participated in a myriad of activities. These included: a night-time study of the beach in low tide; a two-hour boat trip around Bamfield and nearby communities to investigate the difference in ocean water collected from different locations; an experiment of the primary productivity of seaweeds; examining plankton-filled waters under microscopes; and presentations on kelp forests and species at risk.

We took notes and kept a record of our activities and lessons in a journal, which, to my surprise, many of us had nearly filled to the very end by Tuesday. From biodiversity indices to phyla of marine animals to seabird types, we took notes on a surprisingly wide spectrum of subjects, which I’m certain we’ll be grateful for come May, when we are frantically studying for the AP exam.

Needless to say, it was a fascinating and informative experience—but also an exhausting one. By Mr. Jackson’s count, we had about 30 hours of class in four days! We were exposed to new concepts, new terminology, and new issues not just daily, but almost hourly; and though I wouldn’t have thought I could retain that much information, the large number of hands-on activities and explorations ensured that a vast majority of it was truly learned (the aid of Mr. Jackson’s cookies and candy should not be discounted). And though, on Tuesday night, I was rather glad to collapse upon my bed and simply sleep, I think this trip was an experience we all enjoyed and appreciated. After all, it isn’t every day we have the chance to share a great facility like Bamfield with leading researchers and other passionate students.

Our students also have the opportunity to look at marine life a little closer to home. See some student artwork based on a trip to the nearby Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre.

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