Marine Biology and Philanthropy: A Visit to the Vancouver Aquarium


Grade 4 students headed across the water this week for a memorable visit to the Vancouver Aquarium.

This field trip was more than just a great way to cap off in-class lessons on creatures living in the Salish Sea, it was also a chance for the students to present a big cheque to Aquarium staff. This was money the students raised in the fall from a book sale they launched after learning about issues affecting killer whales, and money they wanted to donate specifically to the Aquarium’s rehabilitation and Adopt A Killer Whale programs.

“It’s generosity like this that inspires the staff and volunteers at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. Not only did the students make the trip to visit us, they went above and beyond to donate back to the Aquarium and make an impact,” says Fergal Dempsey, Manager of Annual Giving at the Vancouver Aquarium. “The money raised will help to fund the rehabilitation of the rescued false killer whale, Chester. It will also allow us to adopt two killer whales through our Killer Whale Adoption Program, and continue our research on the wild B.C. killer whale populations. We can’t thank the students enough for their support.”

During their visit, the students toured the Aquarium while learning a lot about the fish and mammals that live in our waters. They also got to learn about Chester, the rescued false killer whale, by meeting with Dr. Martin Haulena (or Dr. Marty), the Aquarium’s head veterinarian.

Student Reflections

“It was amazing to see how hard Dr. Marty and all the veterinarians work to get the animals healthy, and how they get them healthy, and all the tests that they do. It was also pretty amazing because we got to see the two sea lions that were rescued a couple days ago. What I learned about myself is that I’m fascinated by how animals are rescued and how they drive them to the Marine Mammal Center. I definitely was inspired by Dr. Marty. He knows so much about animals and can help them, but he also has feelings for the animals. Dr. Marty has inspired me to learn and to help animals to get inside their shoes and know how they feel.” – by Makena

“My favourite part of the visit to the Vancouver Aquarium was seeing the dolphin show because I loved how synchronized they were and how they could understand the trainers by the trainers just waving their hands. Also, at the dolphin show I learned that to keep a healthy diet, dolphins eat the equivalent of 50 cheeseburgers a day! I also like seeing the dolphins just have fun playing around in the water. I also learned how much a donation can help charities for animals/people/wildlife in need.” – by Ryan

“I learned that I like sea animals because they have a world below us, some farther than ever explored. I think differently about whales after seeing the video about Chester’s rehabilitation and seeing what he had to go through and how hard it was for him just being a baby whale. I was thinking, ‘How could a whale taken from his mother so early be so happy now?’ Raising money for Chester made me feel really nice inside, especially after seeing what he went through and how we helped him.” – by Audrey

“I loved the dolphin show. It was amazing what those dolphins could do; they could jump almost two meters into the air! I learned how amazing the people that work at the aquarium are, and how they help the animals that have been hurt or are sick recover and get better. And I learned how smart the animals are that live there and how they learn so quickly to do amazing things. I also learned how hard the people work and how passionate they are for the animals.” – by Jonah

“What I learned about myself during the visit to the Vancouver Aquarium is that I might like to be a marine biologist because when I saw the video that Dr. Marty put together for us with how they took care of Chester, I wanted to help. One thing that I learned at the Vancouver Aquarium is how hard the staff work to rehabilitate the animals that are injured. This is important to me because now I know how carefully they treat the animals that are injured.” – by Samantha

See more photos of the Grade 4 field trip to the Vancouver Aquarium at the SMUS Photo Gallery.

(photos by Gordon Chan)


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