Friday, June 25, 2010

Coastal Naturalists Onboard BC Ferries With Historical Twist

Coastal Naturalists Onboard BC Ferries This Summer

Starting June 25, the Coastal Naturalists are launching their fifth season of educational programs on BC Ferries and this time they are giving visitors a chance to leap back into coastal history.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of BC Ferries and the 125th anniversary of national parks in Canada. It has given the team of naturalists a reason to share fascinating stories about B.C.’s marine transportation and national park history. Visitors can discover the early days when BC Ferries operated only one route between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay, or imagine a time when a protected Pacific Rim was a dream just beginning to take root among Canadians.
 

The programs are led by nine enthusiastic naturalists who share insights and interesting stories about wildlife, marine life, geography, culture, history, and incredible places to explore including Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. The 30-minute educational presentations are held on the outer decks of the vessels with the Georgia Strait and B.C. coastal scenery as the backdrop.
 
Visitor feedback has shown that making the trip to the upper deck and spending time with a trained naturalist has its benefits: almost half (42 per cent) of those who took in a Coastal Naturalist presentation in 2009 reported seeing wildlife with seals, eagles and orca whales being the most common species spotted.

 
“This is the fifth year we’ve run the Coastal Naturalist program which is designed to engage customers and deliver a more memorable journey with BC Ferries,” said Geoff Dickson, BC Ferries’ Vice President of Catering and Retail Operations. “Our customers thoroughly enjoy learning about the history of local lighthouses, whales and other marine mammals, as well as recreational opportunities on the coast.”

 
The presentations will run on the Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay and Horseshoe Bay – Departure Bay routes Friday through Monday from June 25 to September 6.

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