by Tina Kelly
Source: Island Parent Magazine
Originally Published: June 2018
As I sit down to write, my social media news feeds are flooded with Earth Day celebrations and suggestions for making the Earth a healthier and more sustainable planet. Acknowledging Earth with its own special day has been around for as long as I can remember. Celebrating the ocean—which comprises 71 per cent of the Earth’s surface —is a much newer endeavour.
Some may argue, calling our planet Earth is a misstep in nomenclature and it would be more accurately referred to as Planet Ocean. Not only does the ocean represent the majority of the planet’s surface, it holds 97 per cent of the planet’s water and 99 per cent of living space. Okay, not for us, but we are not the only living beings on this beautiful planet.
The first World Oceans Day took place on June 8, 2008. Ten years on, World Oceans Day is celebrated annually worldwide.
But surely, a place this important—a place that provides us among other things oxygen to breathe—deserves more than a one day celebration. Here are my suggestions to celebrate every day in June.
June 1. Find a World Oceans Day event near you. Organizations up and down the Island host outdoor family-friendly events. Keep reading for celebrations in the Greater Victoria Area.
June 2. Head to Esquimalt Gorge Park for World Fisheries Trust’s World Oceans Day. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. you can take in guided canoe tours, children’s activities, vendors, live music and food trucks.
June 3. Venture out to Sidney for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea’s annual World Oceans Day. The outdoor party takes place in Beacon Park along the Sidney shoreline. Enjoy exhibitors, games, prizes and food for purchase from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
June 4. Visit crd.bc.ca/parks-events and mark your calendars for free hands-on learning programs offered by CRD Parks. You won’t be able to resist these themes—Going Crabby, The Beach Rocks!, Forest to Seashore, Tide Ticklers, Sandy Shore Explore, Sensational Seaweeds and Seals! Seals!
June 5. Encourage your child’s teacher to acknowledge World Oceans Day. If they can incorporate an ocean story, activity or craft into the school day even better.
June 6. Pop some popcorn and sit down to watch one of many recent documentaries highlighting current environmental issues—food waste, plastic pollution, coral bleaching, climate change. Start with Chasing Coral.
June 7. Vow to skip the straw and other single-use plastic items.
June 8. Take 3 for the Sea. Imagine if every time we were out, we each picked up three pieces of trash. Even litter far from the seaside can make its way to the ocean through winds, streams and storm drains. Inspire others by sharing on social media—#Take3forthesea.
June 9. Go on a “Sensory Snoop” with CRD Naturalists. Forests are intricately connected to the sea. Families with children five years and under can register for this forest exploration that awakens the senses. crd.bc.ca/parks-events
June 10. Join the World Oceans Day celebration at Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Activities for all ages run between 11 a.m. to 4 p..m.
June 11. Conduct experiments that demonstrate the properties of ocean water—salinity, density, temperatures and currents. Examples and instructions can be found online.
June 12. Take inventory of how you use plastic in the home. Can you replace any items with more durable, longer-lasting non-plastic versions that are also healthier for your family?
June 13. Sign up for a beach clean at shorelinecleanup.ca or vancouverisland.surfrider.org.
June 14. Plant native plants. Native plants need little care and attention but pack a lot of importance for birds and other species in your watershed.
June 15. Grab the mixing bowls and whip up some recipes. Natural ingredients, many you already have, create cleaners that are healthier for the ocean and your family. Remember every drain leads to the ocean and what goes down the drain matters. The Clean Green Cookbook can be found at crd.bc.ca.
June 16. Go “In Seine” with scientists from the Royal British Columbia Museum. Meet at the north end of Willows Beach at noon and discover fish and invertebrates brought up by a seine net. Suggested donation of $5.
June 17. Learn about your ocean at a local aquarium or education centre. There are many scattered over Vancouver Island—Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, Gorge Waterway Initiative, Cowichan Bay Nature Estuary Centre, Alberni Aquarium and Stewardship Centre, Ucluelet Aquarium or the Discovery Passage Aquarium.
June 18. Cook a meal together using only sustainable seafood and local ingredients.
June 19. Become a NatureKids’ club member. Benefits of your family membership include a welcome pack for each child, a NatureWILD magazine subscription and enrollment in your local chapter. This nature discovery and environmental action program is for kids 5 to 12. naturekidsbc.ca.
June 20. Earn a Watershed Warden Badge. Children in grades K to 7 can learn watershed stewardship alongside Ollie the Otter. Visit crd.bc.ca.
June 21. Rejoice in the first official day of summer with staff at Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site. Gather friends and family and enjoy a picnic on the longest day of the year. The sunset over the ocean will be the stunning backdrop for your evening and for the performers and storytellers. Food will be available for purchase. For more information call 250-478-5849.
June 22. Pledge to make your garden pesticide and herbicide free. Challenge the family to a weed-pulling competition!
June 23. Celebrate Aboriginal culture, values, language and cuisine during the Aboriginal Cultural Festival at the Royal British Columbia Museum. Coastal Indigenous groups were inextricably linked with the sea. You’ll witness this connection through performances, storytelling, educational tours and food—salmon, clams and fry-bread (June 21 to 23). Free.
June 24. Explore another component of a watershed—wetlands. Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary’s Wetland Wandering offers hands-on exploration, pond dipping, crafts and games. Admission by donation. Noon to 3 p.m.
June 25. Create a summer reading list of ocean-themed books and place holds at your local library to ensure your top picks.
June 26. Compile a list of your favourite beaches to explore during the summer holidays.
June 27. Add new-to-you beaches, parks and forests to your summer beach exploration to-do list.
June 28. Visit the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve tent at the Sidney Night Market and prepare to dive into a summer of adventure, relaxation or exploration! Discover their programs and services and learn how they work to protect Canada`s wondrous environments of the Salish Sea. 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
June 29. Eliminate products in your home containing microbeads. Sadly, that includes glitter.
June 30. Listen to a Traditional Indigenous Storytime at the Bruce Hutchison Branch of the Greater Victoria Public Library. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org. 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Happy World Oceans Month!
Tina Kelly is the Director of Learning at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea.
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