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Marine Program for Blind and Visually Impaired Youth in BC

The Bamfield Marine Science Centre (BMSC), located on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, hosted a unique week-long Marine Program for students in grades 11 and 12 who are visually impaired. This program, which took place between April 8-12, 2024, aimed to provide an accessible and place-based learning experience through authentic field and research opportunities. Coordinated by two teachers of the visually impaired, Lynn Wales from SD No 23, and Sofeya Devji from SD No. 8, this year’s program welcomed nine students from various regions of British Columbia, including one SD No.8 student from Kaslo.

The BMSC is a world-class marine teaching and research facility situated in the traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht Frist Nations. The facility and program allowed students to engage in marine sciences, explore coastal ecosystems, and gain hands-on experience through labs and field work on land and in ocean-going research vessels while also learning about the importance of marine environment through stories told by an elder from the community. This holistic approach helped foster a deeper appreciation for the importance of protecting BC’s coastal environments. Science and cultural importance of coastal environments is for everyone. We are grateful to the BMSC staff for working with us to ensure that this program is made accessible to any student who is visually impaired.