Confirmation of funding was received on October 26,1999.
Our special thanks to all those in the community who have written letters of support and especially to the former students of Pearson College who responded on short notice with letters that ensured the success of this project. ~G. Fletcher
Race Rocks.com– Introduction
Protection of the wildlife, both above and below the water, is the foundation of this project. Yet, the easily accessible location is under constant pressure from human activities. The experience of the current Reserve Wardens underscores the importance of constant vigilance–they have recorded harmful impacts on nesting populations and other species in the reserve area due to inappropriate use of the area.
Race Rocks Marine Protected Area protects a significant high-current subtidal and intertidal ecosystem. The reserve also has ecologically important populations of benthic and free-floating invertebrates. It protects several rare species including the spiral white snail Opalia, and many rare hydroid species that represent unique Canadian or North American occurrences. It also provides haul out and feeding areas for elephant seals and sea lions as well as breeding areas for harbour seals and nesting habitat and migrating resting areas for seabirds. Further, the area has been closed to commercial fin and shellfish harvesting since 1991.
It is these characteristics that make it such a unique environment for discovery and education, yet also threaten it:
- there is a threat of poaching in the protected area — it is estimated that $10 million worth of commercial marine species could be poached from the reserve
- because of the high concentrations of sea birds and mammals there is considerable tourist pressure — inappropriate activities in the area could threaten breeding populations and resident animals
- it’s unique characteristics make it a highly desirable school outing — again, excessive demands placed on this natural system threaten the very qualities that distinguish it.
We propose to implement an innovative alternative to on-site visits on the reserve by developing a technological link that will provide Canadians with a means of visiting tthis fragile environment without environmental impact. To do this we will:
- initiate 24-hour live interactive web-site connection from the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area.
- relay high quality broadcast information to Canadians that showcases the unique marine environment.
- develop a compelling web site for use in Canadian schools
- create instructional strategies to educate users about marine environment, environmental issues, historical and First Nations use of the Area.
- establish an electronic data bank of marine life and environmental conditions
This project is supported by several community groups and governmental agencies including: The Royal British Columbia Museum, The Vancouver Aquarium, Open School, BC Ministry of Environment, Land and Parks, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
It is an exciting new project that is compatible with the goals of the Millennium Partnership program. In particular, it will contribute to the support of a sustainable environment while developing a unique Canadian initiative that partners technology and conservation.
The security of the reserve could be greatly enhanced by cameras with robotic control. In this way, limited human security services could be augmented by round the clock surveillance and monitoring by video and robots.
Part A – Applicant Information:
|7. Name and title of Project Organizer Garry FletcherMailing address same as abovePhone: 250-391-2441Fax: 250.391.2412
|8. Name and title of Project Treasurer Angus MatthewsMailing address same as abovePhone: 250.391.2406Fax: 250.391.2412
e-mail: Angus Matthews
|1. Full legal name of organization Lester B. Pearson United World College of the Pacific||2. Canadian Mailing Address (with postal code, telephone, fax, e-mail)650 Pearson College DriveVictoria, British Columbia, V9C 4H7Phone: 250.391.2411 Fax: 250.391.2412e-mail:||4. Products or services offered by your organizationEducation|
Part B: Project Information
|1. Name of project:An Island in Time||2. Main theme to which your project corresponds:d. support a sustainable environment and new ways of showing our respect for nature while we progress as a leading economy|
|3. The geographic location(s) in which the project or activity will take place:Race Rocks Marine Ecological Reserve, Victoria, British Columbia||4. Project / Activity Address:650 Pearson College DriveVictoria, BC|
|5. Date(s) on which your project will take place:Nov 1999- March 2001||6. The proposed project or activity complies with federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal laws. Yes x ?No Photocopies of permits (if applicable) are attached. Yes x ?No p|
Race Rocks has been an important part of the West Coast First Nations for many generations. It is known in Clalum as:
which means swift waters. We have begun discussions with several individuals from local First Nations groups including: Esquimalt First Nations Brentwood First Nations Beecher Bay First Nations
We are committed to working with these groups to ensure that their history is honoured and that they will benefit from the project.
( See Appendix 7: The First Nations People and Race Rocks for further details).
|a) Goal of the project / activity:i) Goal:Our goal is to transform a decommissioned lighthouse station into a dynamic example of education and research opportunities which will share the rich cultural and environmental history of the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area with Canadians and the world.Through the development of new high-technology research and education programs and ‘virtual visits’, combined with on-site monitoring and maintenance, the Race Rocks. Com Project will:
The development of this complex project will take place over two years and will leave a lasting legacy of educational and research programs and unique environmental protection strategies that will enhance the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area. As well, knowledge gained through this pilot project will contribute to better management of Marine Protected Areas across the country.
b) Project Activities
Our intent is to preserve Race Rock’s unique environmental legacy (See Appendix 1: The Ecological Values of Race Rocks Ecological Reserve) by minimizing human impacts, yet allowing as many Canadians as possible to have access to the site. To do this, we propose to implement the following activities:
New technology provides an opportunity to explore new frontiers in electronics and, perhaps surprisingly, the natural world. Technology creates a ‘window’ into hidden worlds that many can only dream of. At the Race Rocks Pilot Marine Protected Area, this window opens onto a wide variety of marine mammals, birds and sea-life, as well as dramatic ocean conditions. These are a source of both learning and fascination for the thousands of students, tourists and researchers who visit each year.
However, if Race Rocks, one of only 5 Pilot Marine Protected Areas in the country, is to maintain its unique character, human impact must be kept to an absolute minimum. A 24-hour, live, interactive web-site connection will provide an exciting alternative to disruptive on-site visits. This will ensure that:
Our partners have already expressed their interest in sharing this invaluable resource with even more Canadians:
“There was enthusiasm and interest for the establishment of an electronic link between Race Rocks and the Open Learning Agency. Education specialists were excited about the learning value of the connection and eager to design an educational framework to attract and maintain student interest. The Open Learning Agency was particularly interested in the potential of live broadcasts as part of their new multi-media, interactive facility-Studio 3.” Race Rocks Project-Phase II-An Examination of Technical Connectivity Issues and Educational Options.(Please see Appendix 2 for the complete report).
At this point in time, the best connectivity strategy is the use of microwave. This requires the positioning of a four foot diameter microwave dish on Race Rocks, preferably on the lighthouse, a clear video signal path to William Head (which is approximately 3.5 km from Race Rocks) and a receiving microwave dish on the William Head property.
Central to this plan is internet connectivity from the island of Race Rocks via appropriate microwave and/or satellite technology. This prototype could be a valuable experiment in the provision of educational research images, sound and video to educational institutions around the world. Moreover, it would be a valuable model for others to use in the stewardship process with unique and endangered environments.
Appendix 2: Race Rocks Project-Phase II-An Examination of Technical Connectivity Issues and Educational Options provides further detail concerning the technical options to establish appropriate connections.
b) Project Activities cont’d
New technology can be used to minimize the impacts of human activity on the natural environment. At Pearson College, we have been experimenting with the use of technology for this purpose and have been very successful. Our comprehensive web-site contains sound and video clips so that students can watch a wolf eel wind its way through the water, or listen to the cacophony of bird calls on the islands.
As well, we worked with the Royal British Columbia Museum to produce the Canadian Underwater Safari, a television series that introduced students in British Columbia and across the country to the diversity and significance of marine life in the Pacific Northwest. (See Appendix 3: Canadian Underwater Safari for more details).
Following is a sample of activities that we would undertake to record and broadcast to bring even more awareness to our often ignored and misunderstood marine environments:
Tide Pool Monitoring: The tide pools at Race Rocks are a valuable asset for modeling ecosystems. There are a number of these natural pools of varying sizes and proximity to the water, and one newly constructed experimental pool on the South West corner of the island. The physical factors of these pools such as salinity and temperature, fluctuate widely each day and so, continuous monitoring will lead to a better understanding of these systems. Electronic monitors that would be installed in tide pools will lead to unique opportunities for students and researchers to pursue studies. These monitors would then be supplemented with a visual image of these pools through the installation of a video imaging system underwater in the experimental pool
Robotic Videos: Robotic video cameras can be installed on the light tower and other locations around the island, which would create an unrestricted panorama of the reserve. The following are applications which could be served by these cameras:
Deep Underwater Access: In areas of the reserve too deep for regular diving, footage could be obtained from remotely operated vehicles which, when linked to image maps of the reserve could reveal a fascinating account of the underwater ecosystems. Recent images made with multi-beam acoustical sonar technology by the Canadian Hydrographic Service have revealed a fascinating underwater seascape to a hundred meters depth.
b) Project Activities cont’d
Sharing information with Canadians is an important element of avoiding duplication of programs, but it also builds a sense of unity and community in our vast and diverse country. A key part of our Canadian character is our strong identification with the natural world. Yet, because of out country’s size many people will never have the opportunity to visit the ocean and to understand first-hand its importance to wildlife, the climate and our economy. An interesting and accessible web-site can bring this wealth of information to their doorstep.
“We now understand that sharing our knowledge is equally as vital as coming up with new information. I think out here [at Race Rocks] there is an opportunity to drive the information through the electronic systems, whether it is the internet or a future version of the internet. I would think that over the next fifty years this place is going to be a great focal point for discovery. That’s where we are today, we’re on an outpost that overlooks the oceans. Seventy percent of the surface of this planet is straight out there and straight down there and we don’t know very much about it. This place is going to be one of those windows that allows us to look into that ecosystem.” –Joe MacInnis, Undersea Research Ltd.
Students are very sophisticated in the use of the internet and, in order to be an effective and well-used tool, the Race Rocks web-site must be attractive and visually appealing. In order to communicate the sheer volume of information–environmental data, sound clips, real-time video images–a creative and integrative design is required for ease of use by the widest possible audience.
Along with Pearson College education programs, the educational resources at Race Rocks Marine Protected Area are also highly compatible with the B.C. education curriculum. (See Appendix 4: Report on Educational Opportunities Between Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific and Open School with Particular Emphasis on Race Rocks Ecological Reserve). As well, the Open School and the Vancouver Aquarium have also expressed interest in incorporating a Race Rocks link into their programming. We are confident that once piloted with these agencies, further links will be easily established across the country.
“Environmental Education that involves science students at undergraduate levels in direct action is the goal of our program at Pearson College. We have found that the production by students of internet materials on environmental issues is a vehicle for doing this effectively. This is a tool which provides incentive for environmental understanding and encouragement of an ‘adopting an ecosystem’ attitude that can have important consequences in education. The emphasis is on ‘action’ and seeking methods to enable collaboration with others to help solve environmental problems.” Technology for Sustainability – Race Rocks Web site.
The experience gained with students at Lester B. Pearson College will be instrumental for developing other research and educational resources for the wider community. For example, as part of their studies the students in Environmental Systems have been learning about environmental issues by producing materials for the internet. In this way, their education has the added advantage of serving as a resource for others in the educational system in B.C. and around the world. Likewise, our experience with the Canadian Underwater Safari (see Appendix 3 for further details) was a valuable opportunity to develop non-intrusive environmental education strategies that will form the groundwork for this new project.
In the past , several thousand visitors a year would go ashore at Race Rocks. With the use of technology, and a permitting system the number of actual site visitors can be reduced at times of the year when nesting or concentrated numbers of marine mammals are hauled out on the main island. As well, the actual use of Race Rocks as a resource for education and research can be increased significantly by technological means. When the Underwater Safari series was being broadcast live from Race Rocks, over 700,000 people in schools and science centers across the continent as well as through cable television were virtual visitors in one week alone.
b) Project Activities cont’d
A new feature that will be developed is a comprehensive data bank that contains information on marine life and environmental conditions will be an invaluable resource for researchers and will provide the tools for evaluating data and establishing base line information.
The staff and students of the Diving Service at Pearson have (since 1980) been assisting other researchers in the reserve and doing regular monitoring of some of its basic features. We have the capability to establish an electronic data bank, accessible by internet, of some of the footage of the organisms underwater at Race Rocks. This will serve as a valuable resource for those studying biodiversity and behaviour of marine life. Seasonal changes could thus be accounted for and a series of baseline ecosystem images could be established.
For example, several years ago, we participated with whale researchers to help install a hydrophone in the water off Race Rocks. This experience pointed to the possibility of having real time audio available from the underwater world off the islands. Orca whale vocalizations, underwater sea lion barks as well as the murmur of sounds of fish and invertebrates underwater could be a valuable addition to the web site. (See Appendix 2: The Ecological Values of Race Rocks Ecological Reserve)
Daily measures of salinity(since 1936) and temperature (since 1921) have also proven to be invaluable resources for oceanographic research. We propose to add to this, sea state and tide and current readings, all available in real time, as well as in long term records.
For many years, the light station served as a meteorological station. Wind speeds are still transmitted to the weather forecasting services. Real time recording of a number of physical factors could be obtainable by the internet. UV radiation, temperature, humidity, daily sunlight levels, fog, precipitation, and wind speeds could all be included in an array of data.
In the spring of 1999, a comprehensive searchable database, The Race Rocks Ecological Overview was completed in MSAccess for Fisheries and Oceans Canada by a Pearson College staff member. This database with over 270 literature references on Race Rocks, over 400 slide, photo and video references, hyperlinks to web resources and links to five other databases, will be made available through the increased technological resources on the Race Rocks Internet site. Future research will be facilitated by this on-line compendium of information which will be a valuable compliment to the virtual presence made possible on the internet.
c) Connection to other program themes
Theme b:Encourage Canadians and other people of the world to explore our vast country and its natural diversity
Exploration and conservation are our dual goals. Though we wish to protect Race Rocks, we also recognize that awareness of, and connection to, our natural world cannot be established without direct, personal experience. This project will encourage Canadians to explore, in a new way, one of Canada’s most unique marine treasures–a place that already plays an important role in our natural environment.
Theme c: Exchange ideas and approaches that strengthen Canada and reinforce our position in the world
This project will utilize ‘cutting-edge’ technology that has not previously been used to support a major conservation initiative. This project could become an exportable commodity for use in other protected areas around the world. The unique stewardship approach, combined with an innovative research and education program, will be a unique Canadian contribution to protected areas conservation.
Theme e: Stimulate interest in communities, large and small, and bring our youth together to support the evolution of these communities
Youth are critical to the success of this project. Firstly, they are our primary audience for the internet resources and educational programming. It is through their experience with this type of education that we hope they will become more effective stewards of, and advocates for, the environment. As well, the students at Pearson College are important guardians of Race Rocks, through the Diving Program, Environmental Systems and Biology classes. In fact, student commitment was an important part of the establishment of Race Rocks first as an Ecological Reserve in 1980, then with the subsequent drafting of the first Management Plan for the reserve in 1997 and, more recently, with the promotion of the Pilot Marine Protected Area. Students have, for 20 years ,offered an educational marine program at Race Rocks for local community elementary schools. Further, these students represent each province and territory of Canada and over 80 countries and, over time, represent a powerful force for conservation ideals.
Theme f: Advance Canadian innovation that will benefit individuals and communities, contributing to our well-being
Lester B. Pearson College is an innovative educational institution, the only one of its kind in Canada and only one of ten United World Colleges in the entire world. Our purpose is to inspire responsible citizenship not only with our students, but with the outside community. This novel approach is embodied through the Race Rocks Marine Research and Education Centre a project which encompasses unique partnerships; innovative new technology; and a new alliance between conservation, research, education and technology. Following this pilot program, we expect that we will be able to export this uniquely Canadian model to other communities both in Canada and in other countries.
d) Target audience
Primary Audience: Secondary and Primary School Students
Learning for students at Pearson College, Elementary and Secondary Schools in B.C. and Educational Jurisdictions all over the world is the main goal of this project.
Many Canadian students have had very little experience with the ocean and marine sciences. Yet, when they have the opportunity to see and ‘experience’ the diversity of life and the complexity of environmental conditions it can be the beginning of a life-long fascination with the ocean.
Secondary Audience: Scientific Research Community
One of our main objectives is to provide opportunities for scientific research. Pearson College undertakes and assists in most of the research programs conducted at Race Rocks. The students and faculty provide local knowledge, orientation services, and assist outside researchers. They also monitor permanent transects and conduct their own research as part of their course requirements.
With the addition of the electronic connection, the benefits of this research can be extended to a wider community both in Canada and overseas.
See Appendix 6 for lists of previous research projects.
Once the technological infrastructure and initial programs are in place, this is a resource that will form a lasting legacy for all Canadians and its benefits will continue for many years beyond March, 2000.
e) Community Involvement
The Open School thinks about teaching and learning in new ways, and develops courses and resources to support the K-12 education system in British Columbia, Canada. Their resources are developed by professional course designers and experienced teachers for use in schools, First Nations learning centres, homes, and colleges in the province of BC, across Canada, and around the world.
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, Canada’s Pacific National Aquarium, in Stanley Park, is a self-supporting, non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, education, research and direct action. The Aquarium is internationally recognized for excellence in display and interpretation and was the first facility to incorporate professional Naturalists into the galleries to complement interpretive graphics. Aquarium research projects extend world-wide and our successful rehabilitiation work ranges from marine mammals to reptiles.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ mission is: to manage Canada’s oceans and major waterways so that they are clean, safe, productive and accessible; and to ensure sustainable use of fisheries resources and facilitate marine trade and commerce. Through its activities, it strives to promote the understanding, conservation, and optimum use of marine resources and the aquatic environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
The Royal British Columbia Museum is a place of discovery. Through three unique galleries, the Museum showcases the human and natural history of British Columbia, and features periodic exhibitions of international renown. Highly realistic and inviting displays, such as the Ice Age and Coastal Forest dioramas, provide visitors with a sense of having truly experienced the authentic settings of many exhibits.
B.C. Ministry of Environment
f) Links to mandate of organization
The mandate of Lester B. Pearson College is to provide education in the total sense that encourages:
The Race Rocks project extends this vision beyond the College’s boundaries to share our experience and resources with Canadians across the country and around the world. The faculty, staff, and students at Pearson College have developed a wealth of environmental and scientific experience at Race Rocks, which will become a valuable resource for the entire country.
g) Lasting benefits
“The richness and biodiversity of Canada’s oceans provides them with enormous potential to continue to benefit both the present and future generations.. . . . Canada’s oceans provide numerous opportunities for commercial, recreational and aboriginal fisheries, tourism, transportation, mineral production, education and biological and technical research.
“In recent years, growth in Canada’s ocean sector has resulted in increased pressures on the ocean environment. In many areas, the biodiversity and ecological integrity of marine ecosystems are being threatened. There is a need to proactively conserve and protect marine ecosystem functions, species and habitats for future generations.” from Marine Protected Areas Policy p. 3
Race Rocks was established as a Marine Protected Reserve in 1980, then in September 1998 it was named a federal Marine Protected Area, one of two in the country. Its purpose is twofold: to protect the marine systems it encompasses; and to provide opportunities to increase the awareness of students, visitors and the public about marine systems and ecological reserves.
Race Rocks Ecological Reserve protects a significant high-current subtidal and intertidal ecosystems. Because of its close proximity to both Pearson College and the community of Victoria, Race Rocks is an excellent site for this educational pilot program. It is convenient to the many resources required; presents a varied and interesting ecosystem (both scientifically and popularly); and has some of the basic infrastructure already in place. Further Race Rocks provides:
g) Lasting benefits cont’d
Effective environmental education provides individuals with 1) a real experience with their environment where they can begin to interpret environmental complexity first hand 2) interpretation of information sources to provide a context 3) a connection to the broader global context of issues. At this point in history, most environments have been significantly degraded by human activity and the reverse, environmental protection or rehabilitation, requires conscious human efforts and appropriate decision-making.
Because of the fragile nature of the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area ecosystem, access must be restricted. New technology, however, provides an opportunity for individuals to explore the marine environment–watching for whales, observing the slow pace of life in tide pools, etc.– and gain experience in an otherwise foreign environment. This experience can then be connected to the students’ curriculum for further interpretation and discussion.
“There are, nonetheless, better reasons to rethink education that have to do with the issues of human survival, which will dominate the world of the twenty-first century. Those now being educated will have to do what we, the present generation, have been unable or unwilling to do: stabilize world population; stabilize and then reduce the emission of greenhouse gases . . . , protect biological diversity; reverse the destruction of forests everywhere; and conserve soils. . . . “
“The crisis we face is first and foremost one of mind, perception, and values; hence it is a challenge to those institutions presuming to shape minds, perceptions and values. It is an educational challenge. More of the same kind of education can only make things worse. This is not an argument against education but rather an argument for the kind of education that prepares people for lives and livelihoods suited to a planet with a biosphere that operates by the laws of ecology and thermodynamics.” P. 27 the problem of education
Thus, the long-term benefits of environmental education are not only to learn about the fascination of the marine world, but also to discover those ideas and values that will support a better quality of life in the future. Through the use of technology we can extend limited resources to communities across the country and share the benefit of the education.
Research will assist in the management of this ecological reserve and Pilot Marine Protected Area as well as contributing to the knowledge base about other marine systems and marine ecological systems. This work will function in partnership with the B.C. Environment and Parks Ministry, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It emphasizes conservation, acute and chronic management problems, and rare and endangered species. Close liasion with the Institute of Ocean Sciences Marine Habitat and Environmental Sciences Division will be maintained. Existing links with The University of Victoria Biology department and Whale Research Lab, The University of British Columbia, Royal Roads University, Camosun College, The Vancouver Aquarium and the Royal B.C. Museum will be strengthened. All information collected at Race Rocks must be shared with the scientific community.
Race Rocks was designated as a Marine Protected Area in September 1998. The objective of this program is:
“To conserve and protect the ecological integrity of marine ecosystems, species and habitats through a system of marine protected areas.” Marine Protected Areas Program Policy.
One of its chief goals is to further scientific knowledge and understanding of both protected and unprotected marine ecosystems. However, achievement of these goals relies upon community involvement and broadly based environmental education.
The Race Rocks Marine Research and Education Centre will take this model and breathe life into it–transforming policy into a vital marine adventure. Through research and education, we will fulfill the most important goal of long-term preservation which, in turn, will strengthen Marine Protected Areas throughout the entire country. We will share all information concerning this pilot-project with other organizations, across the country and internationally, so that they can benefit from this experience and adapt this model to their needs.
h) How will results be measured?
Program Use will be one measure of the project’s accessibility and value. This will be measured by:
Program Quality is a qualitative reference to the perceived value of the project to user groups. This will be captured by:
An overall project evaluation and summary will be completed by Pearson College following this project. This will assess not only the success of the project, but will also provide recommendations for other agencies interested in following this model.
i) Promotion and communication
This project will be promoted by Lester B. Pearson College and its partner agencies through existing publications and other channels (ie. websites). As well, upon project launch we will institute a specific communication plan to promote the new educational and research resources. (See Appendix 5 for communication plan).
This plan will include news releases to local and national media including newspapers, television and radio. Race Rocks has already proven to be a site of great interest to different media and this new initiative should provide them with an excellent opportunity for new coverage.
If budget allows, some direct advertising will be done to Canadian Schools. Already, Pearson College is in contact with secondary schools across Canada and we will include information about the Race Rocks project with these packages. Other advertising mediums that will be explored are direct mail to Canadian schools and paid advertisements in national newspapers.
Of course, this new project will be included on the Pearson College internet site and, where possible, on other partner sites. Upon project confirmation, we will work with our partners to promote this project to their audience as well.
|(APPENDICES NOT INCLUDED HERE)
Part C: PROJECT BUDGET
Part D: APPLICANT DECLARATION
APPENDIX 1: The ECOLOGICAL VALUES OF RACE ROCKS ECOLOGICAL RESERVE- Garry Fletcher
APPENDIX 2: AN EXAMINATION OF TECHNICAL CONNECTIVITY ISSUES– Ken Dunham
APPENDIX 3: CANADIAN UNDERWATER SAFARI–Angus Matthews
APPENDIX 4: REPORT OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES–John Crawford
APPENDIX 5: COMMUNICATION PLAN
APPENDIX 6: LETTERS OF COMMUNITY SUPPORT
APPENDIX 7: THE FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE AND RACE ROCKS-– Garry Fletcher
APPENDIX 8: BUDGET DETAILS–Angus Matthews
APPENDIX 9: PROJECT COORDINATOR BIOGRAPHY