Centennial Project: Marine Connections

Let's Talk Science UBC got a grant from the UBC Centennial fund to run a one-day scientific outreach event for two Surrey secondary school classes from schools identified as having a high percentage of disadvantaged youth. This year's project will take place 25th May 2017.  This is being run in conjunction with Sigal Balshine from McMaster University.


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Project Aims

Our aim is to show these kids how fantastic science is. We want to demonstrate that science is much more than just sitting in a lab with a white coat and a pipette and that scientists are awesome people like you!!  We want them to learn how valuable the natural environment around them is and why science is so important and relevant to understanding and conserving it – and maybe even encourage them to pursue science themselves after high school!


Project Details

The high school students (60 in total) will be taken to an active scientific research site on a beach in White Rock, BC. This beach is a spawning ground of the fish, plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus). At low tide nesting males are easily accessible for study and observation.

Plainfin Midshipman (Porichthys notatus)

The students will engage in hands-on activities including transects, ecological sampling, focal sampling and behavioral observations. These fun, interesting and engaging activities that will not only excite the students, but also teach them about evolution, ecology, conservation in BC and how real science research is conducted. (Not all science is done in a lab while wearing a white coat!) Moreover, these activities will involve collecting real data that will be used in a current scientific project. Visits will take place to each class before the trip to get them prepared and excited!

Thanks to the UBC Centennial fund, this event is completely free for the participating schools and their students. 

Call for Volunteers

We are currently looking for volunteers to help out on the day and potentially visit the classrooms before and after the activity. Knowledge of aquatic biology and ecology an asset but not necessary. If you are interested please email Ruth: ruth@ubclts.com

Date: Thursday 25th May 2017

Time: 10 am – 3pm

Location: Crescent Beach, White Rock.  

Volunteer Training: Friday 19th May; 2pm - 4pm

Volunteer Role: The high school students will be split up into groups of 5 and will rotate through stations on the beach. Your main role will be accompanying one group of students and running each station with them.

The stations will be:
• Predator surveys
• Nest density surveys
• Water quality measures
• Measuring biodiversity indices under rocks with and without midshipman present
• Collecting eggs and measuring fish
• Observing a dissection and blood sample (You won’t have to carry out the dissection!)

In addition you may have to talk to the students about interesting biodiversity and ecological facts on the 20 – 30 minute walk to the beach site.

All your travel expenses will be paid. Lunch will be supplied.

Participating Schools 

  • Kwantlen Park Secondary, Surrey
  • Frank Hurt Secondary School, Surrey

Short Film

In addition we are making a short film about Let's Talk Science at UBC, UBC's Centennial and the importance of science outreach in fighting climate change with film maker Evan Luchkow


Vancouver Aquarium


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