Coastal naturalists onboard BC ferries with new historical twist

by Tim Flanagan on June 24, 2010

Liam Moriarty has this story at KPLU-FM:

SEATTLE (KPLU) – Looking out over the waters of Puget Sound, stomach it’d be easy to think it’s in good shape. But much of the scientific data paints a picture of pollution and declining species. Now, store there’s an online interactive map that allows users to locate both problems and resources around the sound.
Let’s say you want to know if there are any hazardous waste sites in your neighborhood. Go online, click on the menu, and all the hazardous waste sites in the Puget Sound region will pop up on a Google Map. It uses data sets from the Washington Department of Ecology and other agencies.
Chris Wilke says the map is a tool to find out all kinds of environmental information.

Read more, and listen

The map:

VICTORIA – Starting June 25, overweight
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, medical
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, pharm
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.

The Coastal Naturalist program is presented by BC Ferries with partner, Parks Canada, which provides training and resource material to the naturalists. Parks Canada manages seven national parks in British Columbia, including Gulf Islands National Park Reserve near Victoria and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the west coast of Vancouver Island. For more information on Canada’s national parks visit

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