Donor Visit


  • Visibility: 10 miles, then down to 5, up to 15.
  • Wind: 5-10 knots NE, E, and NW.
  • Sky: overcast, then foggy, then sunny, then rain.
  • Water: calm
  • Beautiful evening.



  • The cackling goose was gone today.
  • 7 elephant seals on the grass near the students’ house.


  • Added one 55 gallon barrel of diesel to the tidy tank.


  • Kyle came out with a group of 4 donors.
  • We gave them a tour of the island and buildings.


  • 4 donors from Toronto Ontario/London England came out with Kyle.

Back Online

Saturday evening as the storm was subsiding, the communication lines went dead out here at Race Rocks. After trying all the normal fixes on my side, I was informed via cellphone that the problem lay at Pearson College. The College had lost power from some internal breakdown, and so no internet or phone line was being sent my way over the air. Once things were up and running again this morning, I was able to reestablish connection to the internet and phone lines.

Rather than submitting a log entry for each missed day, I will simply provide a summary of each day’s main events. And pictures as always!

Saturday 15 October 2016-Fierce Storm

  • Day began at 7:00 with winds of 15-20 knots NE.
  • 9:45 30 knots East
  • 13:00 35 knots East
  • 13:30 45 knots East
  • 14:30 50~ knots East!
  • 15:20 45 knots East, communications down.
  • 16:50 communications returned.
  • 17:00 30 knots East
  • Around 18:30 communications down for good.
  • 19:00 15 knots West
  • 20:30 30 knots South-West
  • One month remaining in my shift.

Sunday 16 October 2016-Pelican

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 10-15 knots East
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: 1′ chop
  • Saw a single brown pelican today!
  • Failed to get a picture though.
  • Branded California sea lion 8465.
  • 8 elephant seals on Great Race today.
  • A small group of California sea lions began sleeping on top of the e-seals.
  • To my surprise the elephant seals don’t seem to mind.

Monday 17 October 2016-Peregrine Falcon!

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 5 miles
  • Wind: 0-5 knots East
  • Sky: overcast
  • Water: calm
  • In the early evening a pigeon flew into a window, presumably breaking its neck.
  • Immediately a Peregrine falcon swooped down to inspect its prey.
  • I assume the falcon was the reason the pigeon hit the window at such a speed.
  • The falcon then flew way up into the sky, before returning to make off with the meal.

Tuesday 18 October 2016-Bio-mimicry Visitors (and Alex!)

  • 7:00 Weather
  • Visibility: 15 miles
  • Wind: 0 knots
  • Sky: clear
  • Water: calm
  • A rainstorm appeared from about 10:00-12:00.
  • A rather sunny afternoon!
  • Kyle came out with Alex Fletcher and a biology group.
  • The 6 visitors were studying bio-mimicry.
  • How can humans improve our technology by copying successful animals?
  • The organization that they are involved with is one of our donors.
  • They were very interested in the sea lions, seals, and birds.
  • 11 elephant seals on Great Race.
  • Saw 3 brown pelicans; this time got a photo!

Day 2: Solar panel maintenance

Wednesday June 5/13
Day two: Fog and moderate winds early in the morning. A good part of the morning was spent cleaning the Solar panels on the roof of the Energy building of all the accumulated bird guano. I took note of the power output pre-cleaning : 650W;  it jumped to 980W after being cleaned.

One pleasure boat in the Reserve this morning 0945hrs

We were visited by BC Parks’ new Area Supervisor to familiarise herself with the site and the Race Rocks File; and to meet the crew.

Race Rocks Now a 1% for the Planet Recipient

Lester B. Pearson College funds the operation of the Race Rocks Ecological Reserve by raising funds specifically dedicated to the Race Rocks Project. Recently this project has been accepted as a recipient for funding from the 1% for the Planet organization. Below is a statement from their web page . Click on the icon for more information and find out how you may help by persuading members of the business community to contribute.

partner_badge_200x250_white “It’s about businesses recognizing that industry and ecology are inherently connected. It’s about realizing the positive effects of connecting businesses, consumers and nonprofits through philanthropy. And it’s about understanding that the true cost of doing business can be mitigated by a simple pledge to the planet.
Since 2002, 1% for the Planet has inspired members of the business community to contribute 1% of sales to environmental groups around the world. In return, this growing alliance of companies is given the opportunity not only to see their self-worth rise, but their net worth climb as well.”


Return to the Race Rocks Project Sponsors Page

Report on Pearson College and Race Rocks Activities Dec 2002

December 16  Report
Race Rocks Marine Biology Project
By Garry Fletcher
Faculty Member, Lester B. Pearson College
Ecological reserve Warden for Race Rocks.
Education Director,

This report outlines the activities of the Race Rocks Marine Biology Program at Lester Pearson College from December 15, 2001 to December 15, 2002. During this second year of the Richard Ivey Foundation’s three-year commitment to this project, there has been  on-going advancement in our project objectives. Additional funding has been forthcoming this year from the World  Wildlife Fund,  the Georgia Strait Alliance, a private dive charter group and a member of our Race Rocks Advisory Board.  The provincial government has completed a long term lease agreement with us and is assisting us to upgrade the sewage system to a composting system and with repairs to buildings at the islands.
Project Objectives Report
Objective 1: To provide appropriate staffing and a pool of skilled volunteers who are dedicated to monitoring the local marine environment.
    I have continued to devote part of my teaching schedule to educational work involving Race Rocks. I am in constant communication with Mike and Carol Slater, the eco- guardians at Race Rocks as they provide assistance in monitoring the cameras and computers and alert us to any issues involving enforcement of the guidelines of the reserve.
    A further improvement to our Daily Log kept by Mike and Carol was developed this year. We were fortunate to have the volunteer services of Alec Matthews of the software design company WhiteAtom Design, work with us in the development of a database into which the daily observations of Race Rocks are entered. This now runs on a server on the island, with the added advantage being that in the database form, we are able to do reports on selected fields of the database. This makes our reporting to BC Parks and Fisheries more efficient, and allows us to link the content of the database to the resources on the web pages.

    Chris Blondeau, our seafront manager, has been active with the college divers, teaching them underwater camera skills and adding to the underwater video library for the college.  We have made a video of one of the incidents that Chris was involved with while assisting with the ongoing public education role which we conduct with the local community in the monitoring and enforcement of infractions in the reserve.
    My two colleagues in the biology and environmental systems department Catrin Brown and Laura Verhegge have incorporated a number of the resources of the website and Race Rocks into their teaching program. We were able to webcast live two of their low-tide field labs last spring. A video was added to the education section of the archives that shows Laura’s first year environmental System classes doing their final exam at Race Rocks.
    The popularity among the students of the “new media” approach in education has led to an increase in demand for facilities to do video editing on campus. Examples of producing video on-line provided by the experience, led one of the students in the activity to produce video clips of our annual “One World Show .
I gave this same student a video camera when he went home to Kenya this summer. He was able to take his skills learned in the webcasting experience from activity and produce several excellent videos of the life of the children in rural Kenya. In the new year, the students of the activity  will be live webcasting a bi-weekly program presenting events of the week at Pearson College.
    The college has been able to set up a new computer media room for students to work on other video editing projects.  Adding this option for our students has been a valuable spin off of the program. Sylvia Roach, another science faculty member is supervising the students involved with this option.  We were also fortunate to be able to hire Scott Nichol this year. He is a software and web specialist who also helps us in sorting out some of the technical problems with the computers at Race Rocks.

Objective 2. To supplement environmental monitoring through 24 hr video monitoring through the website.  Our cameras and computers set up in the Millennium project have served us well in providing continual live access to the islands resources through live streaming video.
    In January of 2002, we were introduced by our contacts in Apple, to the computer software company Channelstorm and their software “LiveChannel” which  we now use in webcasting on several of the cameras.
I worked extensively in collaboration with the software engineers of the company to adapt the webcasting software to our application. They have freely provided us with the software as they are able to use our site as a valuable example of the success of their software.  After going through several Beta versions of the software, we now have a very useful tool for involving creative input from the students for our webcasts.  On campus we have used it to broadcast the weekly International Affairs program and have webcast two evening performances for the International Day presentations on campus. At Race Rocks, we use it in the live webcasts from the portable camera and the students of the activity have developed expertise in this software and are now interested in expanding their use of it to provide a bi-weekly live web cast which will be a presentation of events of the week at the college.

Objective 3: To educate Pearson College students about the marine environment and to involve these students in a direct stewardship experience.  
    In October, our college hosted the CISTA  schools conference. Four of the students of the activity gave 6 workshop presentations to the delegates.  Their topic was the use of technology for Environmental Conservation as a method of Community Action. Since the delegates were made up of teachers and students from across Canada, the US and Latin America, they experienced a great interchange of questions and ideas. It was clear that the “ownership“ of the process, gave our students confidence in their role as environmental stewards, and this was clearly evident to the participants.
    During our November Project week, this year, three of our first year students stayed at Race Rocks producing daily programs about the wildlife and the ecosystems of the island. They also were trained at  that time to operate the MPA when our eco- guardians are on leave. As a result of their work several videos have been added to the archives. Two of the students had been in the activity , and the other student was already familiar with the editing video program so that they were able to do the video and editing work in the making of the following QuickTime movies.

Daily Duties For Assistants to the MPA Guardian
Tidal Variation at Race Rocks at
Race Rocks Tour: with an English Version,  an Arabic Version , and a German Version at
    For some time we have been concerned with the effects of the demolition blasting at the nearby Department of National Defence facilities on the marine mammal and bird populations at Race Rocks.  It has been our belief that mitigation of this impact could be done by controlled levels of blasting and proper timing. On November 7, 2002, the DND were still doing their demolition blasting exercises at Bentinck Island. These students were able to video the images of the impact of these blasts on the first day from the science centre window and on the second day from the top of the light tower. In the tower, they interviewed Mike Demarchi of LGL who is currently doing a contract for the Department of National Defense to monitor the impact of these blasts and to compare them with other disturbances at Race Rocks. This video will help in public education and is now included in our marine mammal archives at:  In doing the work, they had a keen sense of the role that they were providing in terms of our on-going stewardship of the island  and they felt they had contributed by this process.
    The spring 2002 field lab program was completed with involvement of the following students in direct contact at Race Rocks.
    Spring 2002- 40 Biology first year students in three classes were involved in field research at Race Rocks. They did a population study in tidepools and an invertebrate survey.
    Spring 2002- 30 students of Environmental Systems did  several field labs on intertidal transect methods.
    Fall 2002- In orientation week ten students  were involved in a program of interpreting Race Rocks Live by webcasts for an afternoon at Race Rocks.  These webcasts were viewed by other students as an introduction to Race Rocks
    These environmental systems students also did their final exam on the island in May of 2002 and
    Fall 2002 – 36 students in first year biology did an introductory field survey at Race Rocks.

    In May 27 of 2002, I was invited to participate as a finalist in the New Media Awards ceremony in Toronto, having been nominated in the category of Educator of the Year.
    While there, I was able to visit the offices of the World Wildlife Fund  in support of an application for funding from this organization. Visits were also made to the Ontario Science Centre  and the Royal Ontario Museum to investigate the possibility of getting our educational resources available through the internet to these institutions.

Objective 4: To lead environmental field trips for local school children to Race Rocks.  Our school trips have been reduced to lessen the impact on the island but we have continued with using a system of student “reporters” from a school :
    In June three groups of such  students went with us to Race Rocks  where our students provided an informative introduction to ecology of the organisms at Race Rocks. This 17 minute video shows the kinds of experiences they have while out in the field,
The complete webcast went live to their schools and to other schools who could be on line. We also re-webcast the tapes of the sessions several times.
Objective 5: To facilitate marine education programs for schools across the country and internationally through
    In March a major project was undertaken at the request of the Apple Learning Interchange. Apple Computers were planning to set up a “Gallery of Best Practices” on their website.  We were invited to provide the resource materials detailing our innovations at Race Rocks for this special website.  Race Rocks  is currently the featured exhibit and can be found from the education links to the Apple Learning Interchange at
The gallery is set up to encourage others to try to incorporate this form of resource into their own instructional program.
An outline of the exhibit follows:
Introduction:  I provide an introduction by video of the way that Apple Learning Interchange is providing the distribution network making it possible for thousands of student connections per week.  I explain that this exhibit will provide you with a glimpse of our educational programs, the technology that makes it possible, as well as ideas to help use our resources in your classroom.
The Lesson : Here you will find an example learning activity that we use in our curriculum entitled: “A Project to Establish a Digital Taxonomic File.” We have also included a learning activity contributed from the Apple Learning Interchange which may give you ideas on how to use our live video streams and web resources in your classroom.  A weblink to an index of files that may be useful for statistics labs in biology or environmental systems and a link to the new section on resources for the Jason project are included.
Assessment : As well as showing the video on the environmental systems exam, a video with Garry and Laura discussing assessment is included: “ Every Field Lab in which the students are involved at Race Rocks becomes part of a portfolio of student work which is graded according to a number of criteria, as suggested by the International Baccalaureate Science Syllabi. We are particularly concerned with observational and interpretational skills, although manipulation, attitude, and planning skills may also be assessed. This first video presents a short discussion on assessment between Garry Fletcher and Laura Verhegge, faculty members in Biology and Environmental Systems at Lester B. Pearson College.
Student Work : In this file Example Student Research videos are highlighted. Rocks Island is a valuable component of the IB Environmental Systems and IB Biology curriculum at Pearson College of the Pacific. This island research center makes it possible to immerse students in real inquiry as they investigate ecosystems both on the surface of the island and below the surface of the surrounding water. Students work in small groups often with visiting scientists adding to the growing knowledge about life at Race Rocks. It is also possible for students at remote schools to participate in observational research and to join live reports by the students and staff at Pearson
Reflections : Video segments of students  and the faculty discussing their experiences  are provided.
Administrative Support: Angus Matthews provides an administrators perspective on the program, encouraging other educational administrators to take the leap and get involved in programs like this because of the spin-offs possible to other aspects of education.
Resources: This site summarizes the links to the website which relate to education in four areas
A)    Race Rocks Ecosystems
B)    B) History of Race Rocks
C)    Video
D)    Communications

Technology: I use an annotated slide show, to explain how one can use Apple streaming technology to share their local ecosystem with the world. By following through the process of how we use technology on the islands,  a model is presented for similar projects as part of educational programs elsewhere.
Background :Maps showing location and a profile of the history of the project are provided in this section.

    In the fall of 2002 we took on an added responsibility, that of being the Canadian content provider for the Jason Project .
With Assistance from the Jason Foundation, we hired Jane Johnston, to do the middle school level curriculum level work to bring together the resources of our site into Lesson Plans. These are now being made available on our website and are linked to the Jason website which is subscribed to by 70,000 teachers in the US.

Special curriculum guides are being developed for:
1.    Geology and Geography (Abiotic Characteristics at Race Rocks),
2.    Preserving the Past and Present Culture of Race Rocks (The Thirteen Moons),
3.    Maintaining our Coastal Ecosystems (An Ethology),
4.    The Northern Abalone,
5.    Pinnipeds,
6.    Conservation.

    The production of the Race Rocks taxonomy is a curriculum development event that has consumed a great amount of my time this past year.
This is a collaborative project with students and we have the goal of eventually achieving  a comprehensive linking of all the information and media resources for all the organisms of Race Rocks.   In the late fall and early spring terms 44 biology students contributed their records and 21 Environmental Systems students. This is currently being added to with another 48 biology students and a further 30 environmental systems students in the next term. By the end of next term, our taxonomy index will have grown to almost 150 species.  I emphasize to the students that this “digital legacy” which is a valuable addition to the management of this ecological treasure. These students are all exposed to a varying degree of research in doing these assignments, and it is anticipated that the end product  after several years will be a unique addition to the efforts for conservation of Biodiversity in the area.

Objective 6: To facilitate marine research projects by providing facilities and volunteers at Race Rocks.
    Three current first year students from Pearson College and Ryan Murphy, who graduated last year stayed at the Marine Science Centre for the first two weeks of June 2002.
Ryan had returned  to Race Rocks assisted by a research grant from Mt.Allison University  to do research on the macroalgal community. He was able to amass over 400 digital images of the macroalgae of Race Rocks in his underwater and intertidal photography for a digital herbarium project he is doing for the unversioties biology department . He also produced two algal videos  for our archives:
The students conducted daily live and prerecorded webcasts with me from the intertidal and from underwater using camera 4.
    For one of the webcasts we were joined by Sean LeRoy, Graduate Researcher, Georgia Basin Futures Project Sustainable Development Research Institute, University of British Columbia and Dr.James Tansey also of UBC. They came to participate in the webcast with Garry and Ryan on Marine Protected Areas in New Zealand and Canada with Tim Langlois, Leigh Marine Laboratory University of Auckland, and Anne Saloman, University of Washington, Zoology Department.
Two university students have completed their Master’s Thesis on Race Rocks with our assistance over the past year.
    Sean Leroy  of the UBC School of Community and Regional planning UBC, mentioned above, did research on Public Process and the Creation of a Marine Protected Area at Race Rocks British Columbia
As members of the Race Rocks Advisory Board, myself and Angus Matthews had provided our insights into the process in interviews he had conducted in the spring of 2002.

    In 2002, Taco Niet finished his Masters degree in the Engineering Department’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems at the University of Victoria (IESVic)
As a result of his work, several visitations have been made with  Individuals and Companies who are interested in promoting the use of Alternate Energy at Race Rocks.  Currently the Friends of Renewable Energy, BC ( has taken up with the considerable enthusiasm the idea of a renewable energy cooperative and representatives will be making a site visit with me next week.

    We have continued to provide assistance to Dr. Anita Brinckmann-Voss for her hydroid research. In July, I assisted another researcher who was working on hydrocoral to get samples from Race Rocks.  Alberto Lindner is a Brazilian student in a Masters program in Duke University. He is now involved in analyzing the samples to determine if through DNA evidence, the two color morphs of Allopora can be designated as separate species or whether as can be determined by standard methods, they are actually the same species. His report and his masters thesis on this will be linked to this website when he is finished.

Objective 7:  Facilitate marine research projects by providing data from video cameras and data sensors that can be accessed through
Some progress on this objective has been achieved, although accessing of all the environmental data through the internet is still being worked on. It is anticipated that this feature will take on added impetus in the next term.

Two other reports that also give an indication of our role in the operation and stewardship of the MPA  may be found on-line at:
and at


Apple Representatives visit Race Rocks


Keith Mitchell of the Apple Learning Interchange and Jeff , a rep from Apple visit Race Rocks

Keith Mitchell on the right in the picture above was instrumental in arranging for Akamai to carry our live streaming video for the first few years of the operation of He had seen a presentation we did at an Apple Conference in New York where we had webcast live from underwater at Race Rocks.

We stayed overnight at Race Rocks  and did some 360 degree images the next day.


Keith and Jeff viewing the wildlife  on the boat trip out.

gulls feeding

The guls were in a feeding frenzy near the island.


PC students Damien and Jean and Ecoguardian Mike Slater had met us on arrival.



On our way out, Keith took this picture of an eagle on North Rocks. Project Update – Feb.22, 2000

The TELUS Crew Installs the Antenna on Observatory Hill behind Pearson College.

compass 2 tree drill
Compass orientation. Sighting from a nearby tree. Len starts the drilling of the anchor holes.
base drill start susan
The triangular base of the tower is laid out. Holes are drilled in the rock First structure emerges. Susan checks on anchors.
call truck crane sections
Telus truck The crane lifts tower sections into position
susan donsusan don don and susan
Susan and Don from Telus assemble the tower. Getting up rather high.


Ed shows us the microwave cable thickness.


Assembling the antenna to be installed at the top.


Ed with antenna.

half way


Ed and cable spool

clean up

John and the students in village service turn up for “site remediation”


students covering trench
after departure of truck.

teluscrews.jpgNot only has the antenna been donated, but the costs of crew and equipment for several days of installation, and the routers for operation have been provided. Telus has also agreed to assist the college in its bandwidth requirements necessary to run the streaming video from Race Rocks . We greatly appreciate their commitment as a collaborating partner in this unique venture.

Garry Fletcher on behalf of the students and faculty of Lester B. Pearson College

antenna dish at Race Rocks


The view of Race Rocks from the top of the antenna.


The week of February 6 through 13, 2000 has plotted more progress for the project.

With only 27 days remaining until the system is scheduled to go on line, daily progress is required so we will meet the project deadlines.

On Monday, Coast Guard officials granted permission for us to temporarily install a 24 inch radio antenna atop the historic Race Rocks lighthouse tower. Required for the transmission of our Race Rocks video
and data signal, the antenna will be fastened by Coast Guard technicians to the ladder structure above the main light room on the tower. We are very grateful to Coast Guard officials Fred Stepchuck and Noelani Taylor for reviewing our request so efficiently.

Wednesday morning Lyle Kosola, the radio engineer from Comlink caught the 7:00 am BC Ferry from the mainland to Vancouver Island along with Telus antenna and microwave specialists Al Mireau, Dave Farley and Rob Robinson. These top Telus staff members pulled together to make the radio link happen. While Chris Blondeau took Lyle and Dave to Race Rocks Al and Rob drove to the top of the hill near Pearson College’s observatory. As the island crew laboured up the spiral staircase in the 140 year old light tower Dave set about the tough task of hand climbing a 200 plus year old Douglas Fir tree. At the 60 foot mark Dave thankfully and somewhat breathlessly reported seeing the top two stripes of the black and white lighthouse. With a strobe light held just in front of a mirror Dave was finally seen in his tree by Chris Blondeau from atop the lighthouse. With two towering trees framing the radio path like goal posts on a ridge Lyle collected the information he would need to determine the tower height required to make all this work. The swell from Tuesday’s storm was still throwing waves at the Race Rocks jetty despite the pleasant day causing the Pearson College workboat Second Nature to plunge on her spring lines so it was decided to evacuate the island crew as quickly as possible. At the antenna location Al determined the best lay out for the tower and Lyle scouted locations for the radio equipment and wiring. A very good day filled with promise.

On Thursday Lyle completed his calculations and determined that the tower height could be reduced to 60′ provided we shot the radio right through the middle of the Douglas Fir “goalposts” on the Rocky Point ridge. Its worth a try. The shorter tower (as opposed to the 100′ considered) will have much less aesthetic impact at the college site, protect a clear sky view for the College’s telescope and, we hope, save Telus a bit of money. The antenna tower was a late addition to the Telus contribution.

Friday was a very positive day for the development of the project. Work on wiring Great Race Island for the network that system designer Ken Dunham has prescribed is 75% installed. Al Mireau from Telus reports that antenna installation will begin on Tuesday February 15. Our ever watchful professional worry specialist Aengus MacIntosh will review the critical time paths at this stage. Unlike the picture 10 days ago this looks like it can actually happen! We have a few wrinkles in our server delivery plans. We meet with Ian Scott our guardian angel at Telus to devise final plans for delivery of the signal to the internet. Ian as always has some creative solutions. We also have a good conversation with Richard Catinus our contact at Apple. We are very keen on using Apple’s remarkable QuickTime software to stream our video on the net. This will of course also commit us to Apple’s computer equipment. Garry Fletcher has lusted for Apple’s new G4 computer. We are very close to a decision. Mid afternoon we meet with John Nightingale, Director of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and his senior science and external relations staff. Their enthusiastic support backed by a significant financial contribution is greatly appreciated. At the end of a network planning discussion with Ken Dunham it suddenly dawns on me that we have spoken with every one of our sponsors and suppliers today and they are all doing their very best for us.

Saturday, members of the public and various interested groups joined DFO and BC Parks staff to review the status of the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area plans. Marc Pakenham the DFO coordinator has lead an exhaustive series of community consultations on the plan along with Jim Morris from BC Parks. Brian Smiley, a DFO scientist gave a compelling presentation about the ecological values of Race Rocks. There appears to be real enthusiasm for the protection of the Race Rocks area and many creative ideas of how the opportunities for public access and educational uses could be accommodated were suggested. The last public presentation on the MPA plan will be at the Olympic View Golf Club on Wednesday February 16, 2000 at 19:00 hrs.

Thank you for your interest.
Angus Matthews Project Update, Feb 6 2000

We have made very significant advances towards our goal of initiating Phase 1 on March 11, 2000. This is especially true in the week of January 31, 2000 thanks to an extraordinary effort from our lead partners at Telus and LGS.

LGS Project Manager Aengus McIntosh has proven himself to be a stern task master and gifted conductor as he coordinates the various aspects of the project. We have ordered the radio equipment needed to beam the heavy bandwidth of streaming video from Race Rocks to Pearson College and our entry point into “mainland” fiber and the internet. With advice from the specialists at Telus we have selected Tsunami Radio, 5.8 GHz spread spectrum 4Mb equipment to deliver the signal from Race Rocks. This equipment has been ordered from Glentel in Edmonton. Web specialist Scott Nicholl at LGS is working with Garry Fletcher and his students from Pearson College to develop the new web page for the March 11 launch. Scott has sourced our first camera, a SiteZap from Reardon Technology which is on the way to us from California. Aengus McIntosh continues to track our activities to make sure we apply foresight in our design, maximize the value of our purchases and work together to meet the complex and interconnected deadlines.

At Telus, effective support from Ian Scott, has mobilized a dedicated group of specialists in various Telus departments. Telus provided the solution to our biggest challenge when they agreed to provide the tower required to mount the radio antenna at the Pearson College end of our radio link. This was a turning point for the whole project and we are all very grateful to Telus. Staff in their Advanced Communication division are working on the issues around delivering the streaming video out of Pearson College and onto the Internet through the Telus server farm. Tim will have more details on this in the near future.

With a red balloon tethered high above the College’s observatory it is obvious something is happening. Garry Fletcher and a group of students in the know are aware of the work being done by Tom Bates of Telus to find the site for a radio link to the Pearson College campus. Less obvious are the preliminary web activities and documenting of the project that Garry’s students are working on. As the educational leader | and Director of the project, Garry is researching the various needs and options of the project design. We are very grateful to Tom Sampson for his advice on First Nation’s aspects of the educational program. Throughout this time the public consultations onthe establishment of the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area are also proceeding. Garry and several students are very much involved in this process as well. Garry also finds time to teach as well!

We welcome more supporters to the project. Ken Dunham, a Pearson College graduate and the principal of Symmetrical Systems Consulting is a born again partner in the project. It was Ken Dunham and Garry Fletcher that first developed the idea of a virtual Race Rocks web site in 1996 (when the costs were prohibitive). Ken is donating his network design expertise to design and build the local area network on Great Race Island and across the campus of Pearson College to Telus fiber. It is amazing how much today’s design looks like Ken’s 1996 radical version! Vancouver Aquarium and Marine Science Centre have confirmed significant financial support for the project and we look forward to the benefits of the Centre’s extensive experience in delivering marine education programs as we move into subsequent phases of the project.

The Federal Millennium Partnership Bureau has made this project possible. We have been in extensive communication with Bureau staff in recent weeks and they have been of great assistance in developing our contract and accounting systems. Though detailed and precise the systems are efficiently expedited. The good news is that at this point we are exactly on budget.

On a personal note… it is a great experience to work on this project. I have never worked with a group of such eager problem solvers. Thank you to all those mentioned here and to the many others working on specific elements of who will I am sure be recognised as their particular component comes on line.

If you are interested in the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area plan you are welcome to attend a Department of Fisheries and Oceans and BC Parks open house on the plan at Royal Roads on Saturday February 12, 2000 from 9:00 to 15:00hrs or at the Olympic View Golf Club on Wednesday February 16, 2000 from 19:00 to 21:30hrs. Garry and some of our students will be there to discuss the issues and present information about Race Rocks from our existing web site at

please e-mail Marc Pakenham at DFO if you plan to attend.

Angus Matthews


A Bold Initiative :

A Bold Initiative utilizes 21st century technology to maximum advantage to create a dynamic educational web experience utilizing the extraordinary marine eco-system at Race Rocks, Canada’s most southerly point in the Pacific.

Real time streaming video will webcast digital images of marine life from above and below the sea at Race Rocks. In addition, a complete environmental scan will be continually transmitted from the site using an array of data sensors.

The knowledge of the First Nations will be explored and explained as the Salish people share generations of experience in living in harmony with the abundance that once dominated this region and is now threatened.

Creative educators will develop internet-based curriculum to stimulate students and teachers to engage fully in the educational program. Researchers will share their studies and discoveries as we gain a new and deeper understanding of the ecosystem.

The Place

mapFor centuries, deep ocean currents and the great rivers of the Georgia Basin have converged in the Strait of Juan de Fuca between southern Vancouver Island and Washington State. Race Rocks reveals itself as nine rocky outcrops thrust from the ocean floor in the middle of the strait.

For generations the people of the Salish Nation prospered in this region at the entrance to the Salish Sea. The extraordinary richness of this diverse eco-system represented by Race Rocks is valued today as it was then. Race Rocks has been an ecological reserve since 1980 and is likely to become Canada’s first internationally recognized Marine Protected Area.

3dbathThe small, rocky outcrops are home to seals, sea lions, elephant seals and birds, as well as the buildings and equipment of the Race Rocks Lighthouse. These outcrops are literally the tip of the ecosystem. New leading-edge bathymetry reveals Race Rocks as a giant underwater mountain. The diversity of marine life is breathtaking and still not fully explored. The teachings of Salish elders merge with more recent science to explain the mysteries of nature at Race Rocks. 

The Technology

sealionvideoRecent developments have made a complex real time streaming video site possible. As many as seven digital cameras and an array of data sensors above and below the ocean at Race Rocks will collect information. Connected by fire wire to computers on Great Race Island, the signal will be compressed and transmitted by broad band radio from the top of the Race Rocks light tower direct to nearby Pearson College. From Pearson College, through high speed fiber links to the server, the pictures and data will be available throughout the internet. Two-way interactive capability is being incorporated into the design to allow for specific educational programming.

The Partners

Pearson College is one of ten United World Colleges located around the world. Two  hundred students from over 80 countries study the International Baccalaureate curriculum during their two years at Pearson College. Garry Fletcher, a faculty member teaching Environmental Systems and Biology at Pearson College, is the educational director of Garry and his students will guide the educational content of the site. Pearson College operates the former Race Rocks light station facilities as a education centre under an agreement with BC Parks. Pearson College is the lead proponent and partner directing the project.

wolfur1LGS Group Inc. – is Canada’s largest full service IT consulting firm with 2100 employees in 20 offices in Canada, Europe and the US. LGS is donating the time and resources to provide project management and web design services in the creation of Along with their ability to capitalize on emerging internet technologies to promote the project, LGS brings essential knowledge, skills, and expertise. 

Telus– a leading Canadian telecommunications company, is providing the bandwidth and server capability  to host Skilled technical staff at Telus have assisted in the development and implementation of the project assuring high-speed delivery to the internet and accessibility to a large audience. Telus is donating this component to

Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre-a leading organization in marine research and public education on the West Coast of Canada. The Marine Science Centre has committed a significant contribution of funds and expertise to the project. In return it will gain a new window for aquarium visitors into an ecologically sensitive marine world at the South tip of Vancouver Island.

Government Agencies- has received assistance from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in many aspects of the project development. BC Parks has provided the use of buildings and facilities at Race Rocks. Both levels of government are working cooperatively to create the Race Rocks Marine Protected Area.

melpartMillennium Partnership Fund would not have been possible without funding from the Canadian Millennium Partnership Fund of the Government of Canada. We are very grateful to the Federal Government and all those who assisted us in our application.

Affiliated Organizations

  • Apple Computers 

  • Sony

  • Nuytco

  • Royal BC Museum

  • Open Learning Agency

  • Glentel