Index: BC Coastal Ecological Sustainability

Contents /Index[
1.0 Introduction:
2.0 Environmental Sustainability in our Marine Environment

3.0 The Biodiversity and the Need to Conserve

4.0 Physical Story

5.0 Humans as part of Ocean Systems

6.0 A Choice of FUTURES

7.0 Environmental Sustainability in Education 

8.0 Types of Curriculum Activities which could Complement the Sustainability theme.

9.0 Take-Aways for the student from a Sustainability Approach



6.2 Global Change means Ocean Change


1. Impacts of Climate Change Coming Faster and Sooner: New Science Report Underlines Urgency for Governments to Seal the Deal in Copenhagen…Washington/Nairobi, 24 September 2009

“Recent estimates of the combined impact of melting land-ice and thermal expansion of the oceans suggest a plausible average sea level rise of between 0.8 and 2.0 metres above the 1990 level by 2100. This compares with a projected rise of between 18 and 59 centimetres in the last IPCC report, which did not include an estimate of large-scale changes in ice-melt rates, due to lack of consensus”

2. Widespread Arctic Warming Crosses Critical Ecological Thresholds,Scientists warn.

3. Climate ‘altering UK marine life’

The UK’s coasts are becoming stormier places, the report says
The biodiversity and productivity of seas around the UK could already be suffering the consequences of climate change, a report has concluded.

4. Scientists Warn Of Climate Change Risk To Marine Turtles

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2007) — North American marine turtles are at risk if global warming occurs at predicted levels, according to scientists from the University of Exeter. An increase in temperatures of just one degree Celsius could completely eliminate the birth of male turtles from some beaches. A rise of three degrees Celsius would lead to extreme levels of infant mortality and declines in nesting beaches across the USA.


Climate change impacts on marine life and marine ecosystems are likely to dramatically affect human societies and economies. Notable impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity have been observed throughout the world – principally due to the existence of long-term data series. Evidence from Australian waters is sparse, mainly due to a lack of historical long-term data collection. Importantly, little modelling has been conducted to predict future changes in Australian marine ecosystems and this remains a critical gap. This report identified six key questions that need to be addressed by future modelling and monitoring programmes:

6. Ocean climate change and its effects on marine life at all depths


“British Columbia/Yukon
Climate change will have significant impacts on British Columbia and Yukon, including increased flood dangers in some areas, drought in others, and widespread disruption to forests, fisheries, and wildlife.
Sea levels are expected to rise up to 30 cm on the north coast of British Columbia and up to 50 cm on the north Yukon coast by 2050, mainly due to warmer ocean temperatures. This could cause increased sedimentation, coastal flooding, and permanent inundation of some natural ecosystems, and place low-lying homes, docks, and port facilities at risk.
Other changes that may result from climate change include:

In winter, increased winter precipitation, permafrost degradation, and glacier retreat due to warmer temperatures may lead to landslides in unstable mountainous regions, and put fish and wildlife habitat, roads, and other man-made structures at risk. Increased precipitation will put greater stress on water and sewage systems, while glacier reduction could affect the flow of rivers and streams that depend on glacier water, with potential negative impacts on tourism, hydroelectric generation, fish habitat, and lifestyles.
Spring flood damage could be more severe both on the coast and throughout the interior of British Columbia and Yukon, and existing flood protection works may no longer be adequate.
Summer droughts along the south coast and southern interior will mean decreased stream flow in those areas, putting fish survival at risk, and reducing water supplies in the dry summer season when irrigation and domestic water use is greatest.

Climate change in the Atlantic region has not followed the national warming trend of the past century, and, in fact, a slight cooling trend has been experienced over the past 50 years. This trend is consistent with projections by climate models.
Atlantic Canada is particularly vulnerable, however, to rising sea levels, whose impacts could include greater risk of floods; coastal erosion; coastal sedimentation; and reductions in sea and river ice.
Other potential impacts include:
• loss of fish habitat;
• changes in ice-free days, which could affect marine transportation and the offshore oil and gas industry; and
• changes in range, distribution, and breeding success rates of seabirds”

6.3 Profiles of Individuals

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3.3 Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital

BACKGROUND: A highlight of the sustainability theme is the potential to transmit to an audience a new way to look on and value the physical and living parts of a marine ecosystem which supplies a benefit directly or indirectly to humansThis is one area which provides potential for take away materials and ideas as well as action items.

Services Comments and Examples

  • Provisioning
    Food : production of fish,crustaceans, shellfish, edible marine algae, seabirds and seabird eggs,
    Salt water: a storage and retention of water for industrial use
    Oxygen production
    Biomass : Macroalgae for energy conversion .
    Biochemical: extraction of medicines and other materials from biota
    Industrial products such as marine algal products.
    Aggregate mining.
  • Regulating 
    Climate regulation sink for greenhouse gases; influence local and regional temperature,
    precipitation, and other climatic processes
    Habitat for local and migratory birds.
    Water regulation (hydrological flows)provides precipitation for groundwater recharge/
    Water purification and waste treatment retention, recovery, and removal of excess nutrients and other pollutants
    Retention of soils and sediments
    Natural hazard regulation flood control, storm protection.
  • Cultural
    Vibrant Coastal Communities
    Spiritual and inspirational source of inspiration; First Nations Cultures of the Pacific were nourished by the sea.
    Recreational opportunities for tourism and recreational activities
    Aesthetic many people find beauty or aesthetic value in aspects of marine ecosystems
    Educational and research opportunities for formal and informal education and training
  • Supporting 
    Sediment transfer, beach building.
    Nutrient cycling storage, recycling, processing, and acquisition of nutrients
    Transport of goods and services
    Waste treatment and detoxification,.
    Ocean Energy from Currents and Waves.


1. From Marine Ecosystem Services :
From” : Humans derive benefits (or ecosystem services) from ecological systems. These services are produced by plants, animals, microbes and people interacting with one another and the physical environment. Scientists recognize four categories of ecosystem services: provisioning services such as food, fuelwood, fiber, and water; regulating services such as the regulation of climate, floods, coastal erosion, drought and disease; cultural services including recreational, spiritual, religious and other nonmaterial benefits; and supporting services such as nutrient cycling and photosynthesis. Some key benefits provided by the ecosystem services of functioning marine systems include healthy seafood, clean beaches, stable fisheries, abundant wildlife, and vibrant coastal communities.

Value of biodiversity and ecosystem services

The supply of ecosystem services depends on many attributes of biodiversity. The variety, quantity, quality, dynamics and distribution of biodiversity that is required to enable ecosystems to function, and the supplying benefits to people, vary between services. The roles of biodiversity in the supply of ecosystem services can be categorized as provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting, and biodiversity may play multiple roles in the supply of these types of services.

  • For example, in agriculture, biodiversity is the basis for a provisioning service (food, fuel or fibre is the end product),
  • a supporting service (such as micro-organisms cycling nutrients and soil formation),
  • a regulatory service (such as through pollination), and potentially,
  • a cultural service in terms of spiritual or aesthetic benefits, or cultural identity.

The contributions of biodiversity-dependent ecosystem services to national economies are substantial. The science of valuation of ecosystem services is new, and still developing basic conceptual and methodological rigour and agreement, but it has already been very instructive, since the value of such services is generally ignored or underestimated at decision and policy making levels. Identifying economic values of ecosystem services, together with the notions of intrinsic value and other factors, will assist significantly in future decisions relating to trade-offs in ecosystem management.

  • Value of: Annual world fish catch – US$58 billion (provisioning service).
  • Anti-cancer agents from marine organisms – up to US$1 billion/year (provisioning service).
  • Global herbal medicine market – roughly US$43 billion in 2001 (provisioning service).
  • Honeybees as pollinators for agriculture crops – US$2–8 billion/year (regulating service).
  • Coral reefs for fisheries and tourism – US$30 billion/year (see Box 5.5) (cultural service).
  • Cost of: Mangrove degradation in Pakistan – US$20 million in fishing losses, US$500 000 in timber losses, US$1.5 million in feed and pasture losses (regulating provisioning services). Newfoundland cod fishery collapse – US$2 billion and tens of thousands of jobs (provisioning service).

Of those ecosystem services that have been assessed, about 60 per cent are degraded or used unsustainably, including fisheries, waste treatment and detoxification, water purification, natural hazard protection, regulation of air quality, regulation of regional and local climate, and erosion control Most have been directly affected by an increase in demand for specific provisioning services, such as fisheries, wildmeat, water, timber, fibre and fuel. “

Aquatic ecosystems provide many services contributing to human well-being .Maintenance of the integrity and the restoration of these ecosystems are vital for services such as water replenishment and purification, flood and drought control.

1. Ecosystem Services : Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems

2. Assessing the Non-Market Values of Ecosystem Services provided by Coastal and Marine Systems;

3. Economic Valuation of Ecosystem Services

  • “It is most important to raise consciousness of the general public and of public officials and managers of the value of ecosystem services. Here are some ways that individual friends might choose.
    1)    Educate ourselves about ecosystem services.
    2)    Monitor local news for issues that impact ecosystem services to point out areas of public concern when ecosystem services are destroyed or disregarded.
    3)    Speak truth to power — communicate with local officials and congressional representatives about the implications of their decisions on ecosystem services.
    4)      Hold agencies to the environmental and public input requirements of the laws.
    5)       Make certain that preservation of ecosystem services is among the options presented.
    6)    Write letters to the editor to educate the public about ecosystem services”

4: Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing

5. Amory Lovins lecturing on Natural Capital in a lecture at Berkley8. 

6.   Ecosystem Services: The Role of Natural Capital

A assignment that defines the ecosystem services of Race Rocks
This page with curricular ideas is based on the original found at:
Although it is targeted as an exercise for Race Rocks, It could be used similarly in any other ecosystem.

See below for a preview:

In recent years, we have started to acknowledge that “Ecosystem services ” are something to which we must start paying attention as to fail to do so leads to a rapid decline in our quality of life: This file explores that idea further and invites you to contribute to a new project :
It is our hope that while you are helping us to assemble the values of these Ecosystem services for Race Rocks, you may be motivated to look in your own back yard and start placing a more realistic value on your own Ecosystems’ Services. ” Even today’s technology and knowledge can reduce considerably the human impact on ecosystems. They are unlikely to be deployed fully, however, until ecosystem services cease to be perceived as free and limitless, and their full value is taken into account.”

OBJECTIVES: After doing this assignment,students will beableto:

1. Define what is meant by the terms ecosystem services.

2. Define what is meant by the term Natural Capital.

3. Enumerate the Ecosystem services of Race Rocks.


1. Using the references below, investigate what is meant by Natural Capital and Ecosystem Services. Make a table where you can list the ecosystem services which you think are provided by an area like Race Rocks. In the table make a dollar estimation of the value of that service per year.

2. Using the area where you live, make a list of the ecosysterm services provided by your local ecosystems, and rate which you think are the most important.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • You will observe commercial whale/marine mammal/bird/-watching boats in the area.. how many passengers do they carry and what is the value generated per trip.
  • You may see tankers and others vessels going by which you can also record . Race Rocks has a lighthouse and foghorn.. What is the value to ships of this set of islands for navigation?
  • Research is done at Race Rocks by students of schools, colleges and universities? What is the value of this location for research and education?
  • An Integrated Energy System was developed at Race Rocks. What is the value of this to BC Parks, to the BC government, to Pearson College?
  • A number of viewers around the world use Race Rocks as a location for bird and animal viewing. See the examples from England which are linked to the Daily Log
  • The role of marine protected areas in conservation is a world wide goal. How does the Management Plan for Race Rocks reflect ecosystem services provided by the area.
Ecosystem services‘Ecosystem goods’, such as food, and ‘services’, such as waste assimilation, represent the benefits humans obtain from a properly functioning ecosystem and are usually referred together as ‘ecosystem services’. Unsurprisingly a large number of ecosystem services have been identified, especially for the oceans which cover the majority of the planet and the coastal zone where the majority of humans live.The red high-lighted topics below might have a relevance for RaceRocks:These include: gas regulation (e.g. maintaining a balanced chemical composition in the atmosphere),
climate regulation  (e.g. control of global temperature, precipitation, greenhouse gas regulation, cloud formation)
disturbance regulation (e.g. storm protection, flood control, drought recovery),
water regulation (e.g. regulation of global, regional and local scale hydrology through currents and tides),
water supply (e.g. storage of water returned to land as precipitation),
erosion and sediment transport/deposition (e.g. moving sediments from source areas and replenishing depositional areas),
nutrient cycling e.g. the storage, internal cycling, processing and acquisition of nutrients, nitrogen fixation, phosphorus cycles),
waste treatment (e.g. the breakdown of excess xenic and toxic compounds),
biological control (e.g. the trophic-dynamic regulation of populations),
refugia  (e.g. feeding and nursery habitats for resident and transient populations of harvested species),
food production (e.g. the portion of gross primary production which is extracted as food for humans),
raw materials (e.g. the portion of gross primary production which is extracted as fuel or building material),
genetic resources (e.g. sources of unique biological materials for medicines),
recreation (e.g. opportunities for tourism, sport and other outdoor pastimes) and cultural (e.g. opportunities for aesthetic, artistic, educational, spiritual activities).The value (the theoretical cost of artificially replacing the services were they not to be provided by nature) to humanity of these ecosystem services has been estimated at $8400 billion per year for the open oceans and 1.5 times this for coastal ecosystems. Consumptive use (production of food and raw materials) is a minor (<5%) component and therefore the true value of marine ecosystems is in non- consumptive use. However quantifying such use is notoriously hard.Adapted from the reference:
The structure and function of ecological systems in relation to property right regimes. In: Hanna, S., Folke, C., Maler, K.G. (Eds.), Rights to Nature. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp. 13 34. Authority. Research Publication No. 35, Townsville, Australia, pp. 83.   ( DOCUMENT ) Author(s) / Editor(s) Costanza, R., Folke, C., 1997.OTHER REFERENCES ON THIS TOPIC:
Patterns of a Conservation Economy: True Cost Pricing
Ecosystem Services:
Ecosystem Services: Benefits Supplied to Human Societies by Natural Ecosystems
Millennium Ecosystem Assessments of the world Health organization
Securing Canada’s Natural Capital:

4.0 The Physical Story

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9.0 Take-Aways for the student from a Sustainability Approach

When students have had the experience of studying about ocean sustainability they should have something they can take with them in terms of information and or commitment to join the movement to create sustainable oceans. The goal is to make an educated and aware public who can participate in solving the problems of humans living sustainably in the marine area.
These are things they can do immediately.

Published Information to take with them

  • The Implications for individual responsibility can be an integral part of many parts of education. They could be presented with a list of areas where they can take on roles of responsibility. Backgrounder sheets on marine issues that they can take with them with clear directions for how to get involved in the issues..
  • There is a responsibility of people who recreate and use the sensitive areas of our coastal ecosystems in these areas, stay on paths, no dune buggies, nesting habitats should be off limits to recreational vehicles and water craft, bird islands– importance of no disruption of coastal margins should be presented.
  • Tools to lobby for action..a set of addresses.. e-mails of who is in charge of the issues at various political levels.
  • A take away recipe book for responsible marine eating could be developed.(see the Sierra Club’s example–only make it more informative..i.e. why certain fish species are at risk.)
  • Advertise the local restaurants which serve sustainably harvested marine food.
  • A good index of web resources that promote marine sustainability
  • Information on alternatives in life styles/residences/forms of transportation, even green roofs to catch runoffs, holding ponds to enhance on land habitat that prevent runoff and stop coastal siltation .

Actions for the public to follow up

  • Passive ecotourism is not an option!!
    Students can be encouraged to make a follow-up pledge The goal is to get 100% involvement in some form of follow-up action, perhaps with a monitoring scale which gives feedback on how successful this is? Highlight right up front in the goals, the important role of public participation in marine issues.
  • A commitment from students to help in a role in building the Southern Vancouver Islands Sustainable Ecosystems Map and the directions and the tools to do that.
  • There is a need for large areas to be set aside for habitat now while it is available, later it may diminish. Everyone should leave with a commitment to lobby for better marine protection in the form of Marine parks and protected areas.. Present a map where students can mark off the areas they think should be used as conservation-related marine reserves.
  • Follow up on the RAMSAR enigma.. of why there are no Ramsar sites on any of Canada’s marine Coasts
  • Encouragement for individuals to be involved in “Adopting a Marine Ecosystem” could be done in the form of a range of suggestions from doing regular beach clean-ups to being a guardian of an island.
  • Responsible sports and commercial fisheries are desperately needed. Anyone who lives near the oceans can be considered a stakeholder in committees and public hearings.Students could build a website which will keep people informed of upcoming opportunities for involvement in their area. Backgrounders could be linked to the website in order to provide individual citizens with the information necessary to make a statement about their concern for marine sustainability.
  • Responsible eating of marine food will help to conserve some rare species and habitats. Use a check list where people can do an evaluation of their sustainability index in their diet. Often threatened species in other countries and on the high seas are not protected from unsustainable fisheries. Develop case studies of mariculture which does not harm environment yet which supplies our needs for marine food production.
  • See the references available already on this topic in the Ocean food file:
  • Goal to get 100% involvement in some form of follow-up action, how about a monitoring scale which gives feedback on how successful this is?

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8.0 Types of Curriculum Activities which could Complement the Sustainability theme.

In order to emphasize the over-arching principles of marine environmental sustainability the following are a few suggestions for educators:

  • Forensics Stations:
    What is wrong here? Present a problem, provide the tools for investigating the crime scene, solutions and recommendations. Call it “CSI is all wet”. The crime scene could be beach closure results from the dept. of public health, along with locations of sewer fields and outfalls or storm sewers and agriculture runoff.. information on patterns of rainfall and runoff could be part of the evidence.
  • Energy budget of a disturbed seabird or mammal escaping from boats and human activity:
    • total food taken from our waters.
      effluents added
      traffic in waters
      disruption to nesting areas
      boat traffic..speed kills.
      Mariculture facility locations and indications of the level of their sustainability
      Worst-case scenario collision pictures of boats with marine mammals etc… for example.. something like this video:
  • The roles and obligations of foreign tourists: connections with activities of specific countries with the sustainability of ocean resources. Disclose which countries have the best and worst records for marine resource sustainable practises. Who has better laws, rules for protection, also some positive examples of how some marine food dependent countries — Japan, Taiwan, HK have or have not met the responsibilities. Full disclosure on “scientific whaling” would be appropriate for instance.
  • A three pronged diagram.. Social, environmental economic .. How does southern Vancouver Island rate ?
  • A Google map type of pop-up where dive spots are represented and related back to the ecosystems that they represent.
  • Commercial diving and sustainability of resources.
  • Economic benefits of diving enterprize. This can be one of the subsets of what the ocean provides as a service emphasis for no take to keep it sustainable.
  • A large flowchart showing (clickable) the spinoffs for our economic activities from such things as diving The marine industries of the Georgia strait.. the positive things that are happening
  • .How marine industry can be sustainable.
    Environmental Impact
  • First Nations. What are their traditional and current methods of interacting with marine resources.
    How does the mythology relate to the sea? statements.. examples .. case studies, their value for sustainability..
  • An interactive way of accessing all the current marine sustainability research projects going on in the British Columbia Coastal and open ocean area.
  • Highlight case studies of how we restore eel grass beds: why is eel-grass important as habitat, how we can lessen destruction, how we can lobby for its preservation, beauty of the sea grasses… as the only monocots in the sea.. ecosystem roles..
  • Energy budget of the ocean shores.. how kelp contributes energy and materials through the decomposer food web,
  • Ecosystem Integrity : define an ecosystem in terms of its structure and function. Have what if scenarios developed so that students can see how manipulating/changing/impacting on an ecosystem can have wide reaching implications.

8.1 The Southern Vancouver Island Marine Ecosystem Map.

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7.2 Educational Rational –Pan Canadian Perspective

For a Canada-wide perspective, we have only to refer to the Councils of Ministers of Education . Over the past few years they have produced several publications which emphasize environmental sustainability and the role of science in education and which can provide us with direction into the types of learning objectives to be linked to the educational processes in the NMC.



1. Report to UNECE and UNESCO on Indicators of Education for Sustainable Development

2. The Common Framework of Science Learning Outcomes K to 12

The following are the PAN-Canadian Objectives for different grade levels.. Links from these objectives to our program at NMC can be created.

Grade: K to 3, Grade 4-6, Grade 7 to 9, Grade 10 to12

3. A Vision for scientific literacy in Canada

The framework is guided by the vision that all Canadian students, regardless of gender or cultural background, will have an opportunity to develop scientific literacy. Scientific literacy is an evolving combination of the science-related attitudes, skills, and knowledge students need to develop inquiry, problem-solving, and decision-making abilities, to become lifelong learners, and to maintain a sense of wonder about the world around them. Diverse learning experiences based on the framework will provide students with many opportunities to explore, analyse, evaluate, synthesize, appreciate, and understand the interrelationships among science, technology, society, and the environment that will affect their personal lives, their careers, and their future.

3.The scientific literacy needs of Canadian students and society

Canadian society is experiencing rapid and fundamental economic, social, and cultural changes that affect the way we live. Canadians are also becoming aware of an increasing global interdependence and the need for a sustainable environment, economy, and society. The emergence of a highly competitive and integrated international economy, rapid technological innovation, and a growing knowledge base will continue to have a profound impact on our lives. Advancements in science and technology play an increasingly significant role in everyday life. Science education will be a key element in developing scientific literacy and in building a strong future for Canada’s young people. Consistent with views expressed in a variety of national and international science education documents, the following goals for Canadian science education have been established for the purposes of this framework.

4. Foundation statements for scientific literacy in Canada

Scientific literacy should remain the abstract image that leads science education reform. Eisenhart, M. et al. (1996)
In light of the vision for scientific literacy and the need to develop scientific literacy in Canada, four foundation statements were established for this framework. Curriculum developers should note that these foundation statements delineate the four critical aspects of students’ scientific literacy. They reflect the wholeness and interconnectedness of learning and should be considered as interrelated and mutually supportive. The learning outcomes in this framework are stated in relation to these foundation statements.
Foundation 1:
Science, technology, society, and the environment (STSE) ?
Students will develop an understanding of the nature of science and technology, of the relationships between science and technology, and of the social and environmental contexts of science and technology.
Foundation 2:
Students will develop the skills required for scientific and technological inquiry, for solving problems, for communicating scientific ideas and results, for working collaboratively, and for making informed decisions.
Foundation 3:
Students will construct knowledge and understandings of concepts in life science, physical science, and Earth and space science, and apply these understandings to interpret, integrate, and extend their knowledge.
Foundation 4:
Students will be encouraged to develop attitudes that support the responsible acquisition and application of scientific and technological knowledge to the mutual benefit of self, society, and the environment.

8.0 Types of Curriculum Activities which could Complement the Sustainability theme.

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7.1 Application of the BC Ministry Of Education Curricula


The BC Ministry of Education sets the standards of learning for Kindergarten to Grade 12. These standards of learning are outlined in the Integrated Resource Packages (IRPs) which constitute the provincial curriculum. IRPs contain standard-based learning outcomes and achievement indicators for each subject area. (

Specific learning experiences could be  developed for for an educational institution that will address the General learning outcomes for K to 12 in the BC School Curricula. Presented below are the curriculum organizers for grade 1 to 7 and selected K-12 Learning Objectives which have connection to the goals of the NMC.

Sample Boxes like this are inserted below with suggestions of the objectives can be addressed with resources of the Institution.  They identify possible lab or research exercises which could be carried out by students .




  • Kindergarten
    describe features of local plants and animals (e.g., colour, shape, size, texture)
    compare local plants
    compare common animals
  • •Grade 1
    classify living and non-living things
    describe the basic needs of local plants and animals (e.g., food, water, light)
    describe how the basic needs of plants and animals are met in their environment
    •Grade 2
    classify familiar animals according to similarities and differences in appearance, behaviour, and life cycles
An exercise on grouping and classifying marine organisms can be done at several grade levels. Each habitat display tank could supply a set of unique organisms. The challenge to the student could be to make a classification scheme for each habitat or to make one that encompasses all of the habitats represented. The purpose would be to emphasize biodiversity , showing similarities and differences in the different ecosystems. An example of the type of dichotomous key to be constructed is here:
  • describe some changes that affect animals (e.g., hibernation, migration, decline in population)
  • describe how animals are important in the lives Aboriginal peoples in BC
The 13 Moons display could address the wide range of ideas here. There is a model of some such exercises at the following URL:
  • describe ways in which animals are important to other living things and the environment
  • •Grade 3
    compare familiar plants according to similarities and differences in appearance and life cycles
    describe ways in which plants are important to other living things and the environment
Plants of the ocean, as habitats for animal life, as symbionts, as a source of food for humans if harvested sustainably could be the target of this objective.
  • describe how plants are harvested and used throughout the seasons
A display on algal aquaculture done in a sustainable way would provide the resource here. Also relate to First Nations use of marine algae.
  • •Grade 4
    compare the structures and behaviours of local animals and plants in different habitats and communities analyze simple food chains
Labwork allowing the examination of microscopic organisms and the larger ones in tank exhibits should be designed to emphasize webs not only chains.
  • demonstrate awareness of the Aboriginal concept of respect for the environment
    determine how personal choices and actions have environmental consequences
The section on Choice of Futures section fits in well here.
  • •Grade 5
    describe the basic structure and functions of the human respiratory, digestive, circulatory, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems
Although this objective relates to humans, A good opportunity exists to do comparative labs with other organisms here. Whale skeletal anatomy compared to human anatomy could form the basis of an assignment. See example here:
  • explain how the different body systems are interconnected
  • •Grade 6 demonstrate the appropriate use of tools to examine living things that cannot be seen with the naked eye
Labwork in the wetlab area allowing the examination of microscopic organisms such as marine plankton would be useful here. Dependency of different levels of the food web would be part of the presentation. The use of microscopes to identify bacteria for water quality monitoring could be demonstrated.
  • Analyse how different organisms adapt to their environments
Labwork allowing the examination of microscopic organisms and the larger ones in tank exhibits should emphasize wide variety of adaptations present but emphasize the susceptibility to extinction if humans render the natural environments extinct.
  • Distinguish between life forms as single or multi-celled organisms and belonging to one of five kingdoms: Plantae, Animalia, Monera, Protista, Fungi
Taxonomy can be introduced with a hands on exercise of whether creating a dichotomous key or using one already provided. Here is one example of a key that could be designed to accommodate all the organisms in the ecosystem displays. this example, student are urged to create their own classifications for specific ecosystems.
  • •Grade 7 Analyse the roles of organisms as part of interconnected food webs, populations, communities, and ecosystems
The section on Ecosystem Integrity addresses this
  • assess survival needs and interactions between organisms and the environment
Observations of remote video cams can be used to analyze the effect on organisms in different exposures. The emphasis should be on how these abiotic factors affect organisms: See this example of pages linked to each factor being monitored.
  • Assess the requirements for sustaining healthy local ecosystems
The sustainability theme is central to this. Suggestions in the  take away section allow student to practise the theory.  A major display on the Earth Charter could focus the goals that students my wish to encompass.
  • Evaluate human impacts on local ecosystems
The Ecological Footprint parts of exhibits and the problems that humans have created in coastal environments are useful here.

    demonstrate the ability to observe their surroundings
    describe features of their immediate environment••
    Grade 1 describe changes that occur in daily and seasonal cycles and their effects on living things
    describe activities of Aboriginal peoples in BC in each seasonal cycle••
The 13 moons materials are useful here:
  • Grade 2 describe physical properties of air, water, and soil
    distinguish ways in which air, water, and soil interact
    explain why air, water, and soil are important for living things
    •Grade 3 describe characteristics and movements of objects in our solar system
    compare familiar constellations in seasonal skies
    demonstrate awareness of the special significance of celestial objects for Aboriginal peoples
    •Grade 4 measure weather in terms of temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, wind speed and direction
Weather stations, of which there are now many in the UVic sponsored Victoria schools weather network can be accessed along with real time weather information coming from similar sensors using a Davis weather Instrument in the school.
  • Analyse impacts of weather on living and non-living things••
Observations of remote video cams can be used to analyze the effect on organisms in different exposures. The emphasis should be on how these abiotic factors affect organisms: See this example of pages linked to each factor being monitored.
  • Grade 5
    analyse how BC’s living and non-living resources are used identify methods of extracting or harvesting and processing BC’s resources
Aggregate extraction, Coal port facility, and some of the industrial uses of the area could be profiled especially if the are examples of environmentally sustainable enterprises. Whereas fisheries, fishing down food webs and ecological footprint display would provide the living resource examples.
  • Analyse how the Aboriginal concept of interconnectedness of the environment is reflected in responsibility for and caretaking of resources
The 13 moons stories and a display on clam gardens could provide many examples of this interconnectedness. Sustainable harvest techniques of First Nations should be profiled … for instance the herring or salmon ones..
  • describe potential environmental impacts of using BC’s living and non-living resources
  • Grade 6
    explain obstacles unique to exploration of a specific extreme environment
An exercise can be built up here around a deep sea exhibit. The physical factors present at these depths make research particularly difficult, and the fragility of species encountered here can emphasized to be taken into account for any operations carried out, such as marine mining or gas and oil extraction.
  • assess technologies used for extreme environments
  • describe contributions of Canadians to exploration technologies
Canada’s Oceanographic pioneers can be referenced in several exhibits.
  • Grade 7
    compare the characteristics of the Earth’s core, mantle, and crust, and describe the formation of rocks
  • analyse the dynamics of tectonic plate movement and landmass formation
    explain how the Earth’s surface changes over time
Change underwater is also obvious and examples of humans hastening the change can be illustrated in an aquarium sandy bottom exhibit or a  rocky shore exhibit or a deep sea area.


Specific learning experiences will be developed for the New Marine Centre that will address the General learning outcomes for K to 12 in the BC School Curricula. The numbers of the objectives that conform to the BC Curriculum website reference are included here:


Science, technology, society, and the environment

By the end of grade 3 It is expected that students will…

100 investigate objects and events in their immediate environment, and use appropriate language to develop understanding and to communicate results
101 demonstrate and describe ways of using materials and tools to help answer science questions and to solve practical problems
102 describe how science and technology affect their lives and those of people and other living things in their community
103 undertake personal actions to care for their immediate environment and contribute to responsible group decisions
Students of all ages can be encouraged to participate actively in marine stewardship issues when they leave the aquarium. The take-aways section addresses this. .

By the end of grade 6 It is expected that students will…

104 demonstrate that science and technology use specific processes to investigate the natural and constructed world or to seek solutions to practical problems
105 demonstrate that science and technology develop over time
106 describe ways that science and technology work together in investigating questions and problems and in meeting specific needs
Case studies of local issues..sewage treatment, marina development, shoreline modification can be profiled here.
107 describe applications of science and technology that have developed in response to human and environmental needs
108 describe positive and negative effects that result from applications of science and technology in their own lives, the lives of others, and the environment

By the end of grade 9 It is expected that students will…

109 describe various processes used in science and technology that enable us to understand natural phenomena and develop technological solution
110 describe the development of science and technology over time
Marine Science depends on the ability of scientists to be able to measure, make models and then predictions for models. The techniques for doing such quantification have evolved considerably in the recent past. Part of how we determine if we are maintaining ecological integrity depends on new technology. Examples of types of equipment and how they have been useful in this aspect of science could be profiled here.
111 explain how science and technology interact with and advance one another
112 illustrate how the needs of individuals, society, and the environment influence and are influenced by scientific and technological endeavours
113 analyse social issues related to the applications and limitations of science and technology, and explain decisions in terms of advantages and disadvantages for sustainability, considering a few perspective


Skills :
By the end of grade 3, 
It is expected that students will…

200 ask questions about objects and events in their immediate environment and develop ideas about how those questions might be answered
201 observe and explore materials and events in their immediate environment and record the results
202 identify patterns and order in objects and events studied
203 work with others and share and communicate ideas about their explorations

By the end of grade 6, It is expected that students will…

204 ask questions about objects and events in the local environment and develop plans to investigate those questions
205 observe and investigate their environment and record the results
A check list can be developed which enable students to gather data as they move throughout the exhibits . Suggestions for methods of comparisons and analysis of the data would form the basis of a good set of exercises.
206 interpret findings from investigations using appropriate methods
207 work collaboratively to carry out science- related activities and communicate ideas, procedures, and results

By the end of grade 9, It is expected that students will…

208 ask questions about relationships between and among observable variables and plan investigations to address those questions
209 conduct investigations into relationships between and among observations, and gather and record qualitative and quantitative data
210 analyse qualitative and quantitative data and develop and assess possible explanations
Data can be found in many forms in a science lab. Everything from feeding rates, Oxygen, pH , temperature, salinity levels in tanks can be made available for students to analyze. Make the physical parameters of each exhibit transparent and therefore encourage the understanding of how physical parameters help to create marine ecosystem diversity.
211 work collaboratively on problems and use appropriate language and formats to communicate ideas, procedures, and results

By the end of grade 12, It is expected that students will…

212 ask questions about observed relationships and plan investigations of questions, ideas, problems, and issues
213 conduct investigations into relationships between and among observable variables, and use a broad range of tools and techniques to gather and record data and information
The design of school-specific activities should anticipate the use of technology that is available both in the lab area and from real-time displays of virtual oceanographic data-recording . To monitor such things as climate change and impacts of human activities on marine ecosystems, exercises could be designed which allow students to draw on these resources .
214 analyse data and apply mathematical and conceptual models to develop and assess possible explanations
Recent controversy over the application of mathematical models to explain the relationship between salmon farming in open net pens and sea-lice infection in wild fish could form part of a case study here.
215 work as a member of a team in addressing problems, and apply the skills and conventions of science in communicating information and ideas and in assessing results



By the end of grade 6, It is expected that students will…

300 describe and compare characteristics and properties of living things, objects, and materials
301 describe and predict causes, effects, and patterns related to change in living and non-living things
302 describe interactions within natural systems and the elements required to maintain these systems
303 describe forces, motion, and energy and relate them to phenomena in their observable environment
The energy implications of tides and currents could form part of an exercise here.

By the end of grade 9, 
It is expected that students will…

Life science


304 explain and compare processes that are responsible for the maintenance of an organism’s life
305 explain processes responsible for the continuity and diversity of life
The biodiversity section relates here
306 describe interactions and explain dynamic equilibrium within ecological systems

Earth and space science

310 explain how Earth provides both a habitat for life and a resource for societ
An objective that will be addressed in many displays if we use the Sustainability theme.
311 explain patterns of change and their effects on Earth

By the end of grade 12, It is expected that students will…

Life science

313 compare and contrast the reproduction and development of representative organisms
Sea-urchin embryology or for that matter, embryology of many marine invertebrate species can be profiled in microscopic exhibits. In fact it could be organized as a good lab experience for high school students.
314 determine how cells use matter and energy to maintain organization necessary for life
315 demonstrate an understanding of the structure and function of genetic material
Recent research on the genomes of marine organisms could be highlighted . This ties into the biodiversity theme as well.
316 analyse the patterns and products of evolution
Given the resurgence of creationism in many American educational systems, every opportunity possible should be provided in the exhibits to emphasize examples of natural selections and evolution.
317 compare and contrast mechanisms used by organisms to maintain homeostasis
There are many examples of the counter-current exchange adaptation for temperature regulation in marine organisms which could be highlighted in exhibits. Wading birds, come to mind as a good example. (Biodiversity example also)
318 evaluate relationships that affect the biodiversity and sustainability of life within the biosphere


319 identify and explain the diversity of organic compounds and their impact on the environment
Through the section on Pollution, the effects of various organic compounds on marine environments can be profiled. Microscope setups showing transgender modification from tributyltin would be an interest-catching resource.


326 analyse interactions within systems, using the laws of conservation of energy and momentum
329 analyse and describe different means of energy transmission and transformation

Earth and space science

330 demonstrate an understanding of the nature and diversity of energy sources and matter in the universe
A display on sustainable ocean energy should address this objective very well.
331 describe and predict the nature and effects of changes to terrestrial systems
332 demonstrate an understanding of the relationships among systems responsible for changes to Earth’s surface


GRADE K to 3 It is expected that students will be encouraged to…

400 recognize the role and contribution of science in their understanding of the world
401 show interest in and curiosity about objects and events within their immediate environment
402 willingly observe, question, and explore
This section on Attitudes should be a focus of many of the examples used.
403 consider their observations and their own ideas when drawing a conclusion
404 appreciate the importance of accuracy
405 be open-minded in their explorations
406 work with others in exploring and investigating
407 be sensitive to the needs of other people, other living things, and the local environment
408 show concern for their safety and that of others in carrying out activities and using materials

GRADE 4 to 6

It is expected that students will be encouraged to…

409 appreciate the role and contribution of science and technology in their understanding of the world
. Recognition of how our knowledge of marine systems has developed and why we have concern for their conservation can be pointed out in displays.
410 realize that the applications of science and technology can have both intended and unintended effects
411 recognize that women and men of any cultural background can contribute equally to science
412 show interest and curiosity about objects and events within different environments
413 willingly observe, question, explore, and investigate
414 show interest in the activities of individuals working in scientific and technological fields
415 consider their own observations and ideas as well as those of others during investigations and before drawing conclusions
418 work collaboratively while exploring and investigating
A feature for the school assignments should be that they are designed to encourage collaborative learning.
419 be sensitive to and develop a sense of responsibility for the welfare of other people, other living things, and the environment

GRADE 7 to 9

It is expected that students will be encouraged to…

422 appreciate the role and contribution of science and technology in our understanding of the world
423 appreciate that the applications of science and technology can have advantages and disadvantages
424 appreciate and respect that science has evolved from different views held by women and men from a variety of societies and cultural backgrounds
425 show a continuing curiosity and interest in a broad scope of science-related fields and issues

426 confidently pursue further investigations and readings

427 consider many career possibilities in science- and technology-related fields
Sustainability of an ocean culture depends on individuals in a wide variety of fields. Sustainable industries should be profiled as part of the examples.
428 consider observations and ideas from a variety of sources during investigations and before drawing conclusions
Issues such as Aquaculture under different conditions.. sustainable vs non sustainable should be examined. An exercise could be made involving role playing of different community members in an area where there is economic implications of these activities.
429 value accuracy, precision, and honesty
430 persist in seeking answers to difficult questions and solutions to difficult problems

431 work collaboratively in carrying out investigations as well as in generating and evaluating ideas

432 be sensitive and responsible in maintaining a balance between the needs of humans and a sustainable environment
Examining the implications of sustainable fisheries and sustainable communities on the West Coast could prove to be a challenge brought on by displays and data presented here.
433 project, beyond the personal, consequences of proposed actions
434 show concern for safety in planning, carrying out, and reviewing activities
435 become aware of the consequences of their actions

GRADE 10 to 12

It is expected that students will be encouraged to…

436 value the role and contribution of science and technology in our understanding of phenomena that are directly observable and those that are not
437 appreciate that the applications of science and technology can raise ethical dilemmas

438 value the contributions to scientific and technological development made by women and men from many societies and cultural backgrounds

For every  example highlights at least one individual or group who is contributing to sustainability on marine ecosystems this goal can be achieved.
439 show a continuing and more informed curiosity and interest in science and science-related issues
440 acquire, with interest and confidence, additional science knowledge and skills, using a variety of resources and methods, including formal research
Opportunities for research using the data and resources on line could be suggested to high schools so that there may be on-going interaction.
441 consider further studies and careers in science- and technology-related fields
442 confidently evaluate evidence and consider alternative perspectives, ideas, and explanations
Issues of impacts of human activities in the marine environment can be examined here. The real costs of all of our interactions with the oceans should be analyzed.
443 use factual information and rational explanations when analyzing and evaluating
Many of the displays can provide a resource for factual data on the ecosystems or organisms represented. The ecosystem services section could provide an exercise which would enable students to interpret data and evaluate its legitimacy.
444 value the processes for drawing conclusions
445 work collaboratively in planning and carrying out investigations, as well as in generating and evaluating ideas
446 have a sense of personal and shared responsibility for maintaining a sustainable environment
Takeaway features should address this goal. Students should all be challenged to submit to a central database, their anecdotes of how they are helping to address this objective. Perhaps an Adopt an Ecosystem Approach could be promoted:
447 project the personal, social, and environmental consequences of proposed action
448 want to take action for maintaining a sustainable environment
The takeaway experience can be a challenge to get involved, to document the process and provide feedback to allow the public to know what young people are doing for the environment. Stream side restoration, baseline ecological studies in biology classes, salmon enhancement and adopted ecosystems should all be highlighted here. Students could also be presented with a long list of ways they can personally get involved in issues of ensuring marine sustainability, and a follow-up mechanism can be devised to document the choices students make given the tools.

7.2  Educational Rational –Pan Canadian Perspective

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7.0 Environmental Sustainability in Education:

With the curricula listed below I have included examples which could generate specfic exercises designed for various grade levels.

  • 7.3 UNESCO has produced a very useful website which can help to guide the Educational Curricular materials of the NMC: Unesco
    In this resource, the sections on Teaching and Learning Strategies, Interdisciplinary themes , Sustainable Development across the Curriculum and Curriculum Rationale give insight into how the theme of Sustainable Development can be achieved through an educational program .
    Background Rationale :

The World Commission on Environment and Development promoted the concept of ‘sustainable development’ in the late 1980s. ” ..Until then, environment and development tended to be thought of as two distinct actions—the need to promote development on the one hand and the need to protect the environment on the other. At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the environmental side of sustainable development emerged as a main focus. Poverty eradication was viewed as important but the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 which were the main documents to emerge from the Earth Summit, laid priority emphasis on the importance of protecting the natural environment. They recommended that there be a global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem.”.
In Paragraph 105 of the Final Declaration endorsed by all countries states the following:

  • Education for a sustainable future should engage a wide spectrum of institutions and sectors, including but not limited to business /industry, international organizations, higher education, government, educators and foundations, to address the concepts and issues of sustainable development, as embodied throughout Agenda 21, and should include the preparation of sustainable development education plans and programmes, as emphasized in the Commission’s work programme on the subject adopted in 1996. A more fully developed paradigm of sustainable development was endorsed at the highest political levels at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, in 2002. The Political Declaration states that “sustainable development is built on three interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars”—economic development, social development and environmental protection—which must be established at local, national, regional and global levels.

Recommendations concerning education also appear in each of the action plans of the major United Nations conferences held after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development as well as in the three conventions (on biodiversity, climate change and diversification). For this reason, education can be seen as the cornerstone of sustainable development in all its dimensions.

  • Education for Sustainable Development represents a catalytic process for social change that seeks to foster—through education, training and public awareness—the values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future. Thus, sustainable development can be seen not so much as a technical concept but as an educational one—not so much the end goal of a government policy but a process of learning how to think in terms of ‘forever’. This means that ESD involves learning how to make decisions that balance and integrate the long-term future of the economy, the natural environment and the well-being of all communities, near and far, now and in the future.
    Education for Sustainable Development is a visionary approach to education that seeks to help people better understand the world in which they live, and to face the future with hope and confidence, knowing that they can play a role in addressing the complex and interdependent problems that threaten our future such as poverty, wasteful consumption, environmental degradation, urban decay, population growth, gender inequality, health, conflict and the violation of human rights.
    The goals of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development is to have this vision of education integrated into education plans at all levels and all sectors of education in all countries.
  • 7.1 B.C.Curricula Prescribed Learning Outcomes and K-12 Objectives
  • 7.2 Pan-Canadian Objectives of the Council of Ministers of Education of Canada

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6.3 Profiles of Individuals with a Contribution to Marine Environmental Sustainability

Role Models and Leaders in the promotion of Marine Environmental Sustainability.

To highlight from the page on sustainability: One way to have continuity of this theme may be to choose 10 individuals who are working to achieve sustainability of marine resources. Profile individuals who are “doing sustainability” in their professional or personal lives.
BC examples are:

The list should be very broad and could include

community leaders
school children with salmon enhancement or storm drain marking projects
enhancement societies
First Nations Elders

By profiling such people, the concept of everyone’s own role in personal responsibility for these issues may be highlighted In the takeaways section on getting involved in Issues of marine sustainability are outlined.

7.0 Environmental Sustainability in Education Curricla

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6.1 Thresholds in Ecological Systems:

The following references are intended to highlight the concept of thresholds, and the implications this may hold for Marine Systems: They delineate problems of the uncertainty of thresholds and the implications when there is interference in ecosystem integrity by Global Climate change and poorly managed fisheries and habitat conservation in marine areas.

1. This reference on “Thresholds in Ecological and Social–Ecological Systems: a Developing Database explains some research into this problem:

“Increasing interest in regime shifts in ecological and linked social–ecological systems (SESs) has placed a strong focus on the thresholds of change. However, research into this topic has been hampered by a lack of empirical data. This paper describes a developing database established to address this need. The database is freely available and comprises a set of summarized published examples and a searchable bibliographic database of publications on the topic. Thresholds in the database are characterized in terms of a standardized set of 24 descriptors, including the variables along which they occur, the variables that change, and the factors that have driven the change. Readers are encouraged to contribute new examples. Examples range from conceptual models to empirical evidence. The former predominate in the literature and, although they make valuable contributions and will continue to be included, the intention is build up the number of examples based on data. Examples are presented in terms of whether the threshold occurs in the ecological system, the social system, or both, and the direction of interactions between systems. The paper concludes with some initial observations on thresholds based on the examples included so far, and poses some questions for future research. Research on a typology of thresholds is a priority topic in the emerging area of “sustainability science” and it requires a rich database of empirical data.”

2. Confronting he coral reef crisis:

The worldwide decline of coral reefs calls for an urgent reassessment of current management practices. Confronting large-scale crises requires a major scaling-up of management efforts based on an improved understanding of the ecological processes that underlie reef resilience. Managing for improved resilience, incorporating the role of human activity in shaping ecosystems, provides a basis for coping with uncertainty, future changes and ecological surprises. Here we review the ecological roles of critical functional groups (for both corals and reef fishes) that are fundamental to understanding resilience and avoiding phase shifts from coral dominance to less desirable, degraded ecosystems. We identify striking biogeographic differences in the species richness and composition of functional groups, which highlight the vulnerability of Caribbean reef ecosystems. These findings have profound implications for restoration of degraded reefs, management of fisheries, and the focus on marine protected areas and biodiversity hotspots as priorities for conservation.

3.Ecological Thresholds in Aquatic Ecosystems: The Role of Climate Change, Anthropogenic Disturbance, and Invasive Species Progress Review Workshop

4. A Balancing Act
A leading UMaine marine scientist says better management is needed to save the world’s oceans that are drastically out of sync

Pointing to a growing list of health threats to the world’s oceans, Steneck describes a common pattern of slow, incremental overload and sudden collapse, suggesting that the Blue Planet’s ability to absorb the insults of human misuse have clear limits. The notion of ecological thresholds is at the core of Steneck’s assessment of the seas. As pressure on the marine environment continues to grow, these thresholds are being met — and surpassed.
A classic example of the threshold phenomenon can be found in the sad tale of the green sea urchin. Prolific and plentiful across the Gulf of Maine, urchins spent decades quietly munching at the Atlantic’s undersea salad bar, unaware of the socioeconomic tsunami on the horizon.
As urchin populations in other parts of the world were rapidly depleted by overfishing through the 1970s and ’80s, a seemingly insatiable Asian market turned its hungry eyes toward Maine, creating a boom-and-bust fishery that crashed a multimillion urchin population in less than two decades.

6.2 Global Climate change means Ocean change

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