By Sydney McCabe, Senior Marine Biologist

What do seals, sea lions, bull kelp and bald eagles all have in common?

They’re all vital parts of the Salish Sea ecosystem. And they were all stars of the morning on Feb. 3 when we turned our semi-covered catamaran, 4 Ever Wild, into a floating classroom, hosting 50 young guests from NatureKids BC and their parents on an educational tour to Race Rocks Ecological Reserve near Victoria.

Recent studies show that as cities grow, green space shrinks and technology becomes more distracting, increasingly disconnecting children from nature. There’s a pressing need to get these young and active minds  – the conservation champions of tomorrow – into the outdoors to explore, play, learn about and take action for nature!

This fits right in with the core mission at Eagle Wing Tours where we encourage all our guests to become more involved in the conservation of sustainable, healthy and more balanced marine ecosystems. We want to connect people of all ages with our big blue backyard. That’s why we contacted Nature Kids BC, an amazing organization that shares the same values.

Through a province-wide network of family nature clubs, citizen science initiatives and NatureWILD magazine, Nature Kids BC connects children between the ages of 5–12 with the outdoors to foster a love of the natural world and the skills to take action for nature.

On the tour, our excited young guests saw and heard (and sometimes smelled!) harbour seals, elephant seals, California sea lions, Steller sea lion, eagles and a special sea otter we call “Ollie”.

The squeals and excitement from the children provided a contagious positive energy throughout the entire adventure from the moment they stepped aboard the vessel.

They also enjoyed activities such as a marine scavenger hunt, a hands-on bull kelp talk, examining whale tooth replicas, and more. The “orca-stra” of bull kelp horns and laughter was the highlight of the trip.

The feedback from the tour has been fantastic. All the parents raved about the experience and said we did a fabulous job at making it comfortable, educational, engaging and fun for all the families. Many of them say they’ll be returning for more adventures on the Salish Sea.

This is just the beginning of Eagle Wing’s long-term commitment to helping children see, hear and feel the beauty of this special place we call the Salish Sea. The ocean needs our help, so what better way than by inspiring future generations to get excited and passionate about making a difference?