Education on and off the water is essential to ocean conservation. This philosophy is at the heart of everything we do. We build awareness through the guest experience, our innovative “floating classroom” school program, and multiple community outreach activities.
Naturalist Sydney talks to children about bull kelp on one of our “floating classroom” boat tours.
How do we inspire through education?
THE GUEST EXPERIENCE
At Eagle Wing we believe in the power of ecotourism and the difference it can make to the long-term health of the ocean and plants and animals that live there. We offer one of the longest tours in the region and extend our tours when needed.
Our passionate and knowledgeable naturalists provide personalized, science-based interpretation of what our guests are seeing. We stress biodiversity and the interconnectedness of life. It’s important to us that our guests make an emotional connection with this special place and its wildlife. Our goal with every tour is to inform, inspire and protect—to transform our guests into passionate advocates for the health of the Salish Sea and beyond.
OUR FLOATING CLASSROOM
What better investment is there in the health of the ocean than cultivating the next generation of environmental stewards?
In fall 2018 we launched “Exploring the Salish Sea,” an ambitious education outreach partnership with the Greater Victoria School District and the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM). Aimed at Grades 4-8, the program offers participating classes a four-part interactive module to learn about and experience the ocean first-hand:
A classroom presentation by our marine educators reviews the culture and natural history of the Salish Sea.
A guided wildlife tour aboard one of our semi-covered catamarans, where students learn about kelp forests and see a variety of marine wildlife.
A hands-on learning session led by our marine educators. Activities can include beach clean-ups, salmon migration obstacle courses, exploring tidepools, and more.
In the fourth session, facilitated by the RBCM, each classroom creates an artifact reflecting their experiences and what they learned in the first three sessions.
The curriculum focuses on the natural history of the Salish Sea; historical culture and Indigenous perspectives; and current culture, including natural resources and the economy, environmental stewardship, conservation, sustainability and more. To date, more than 2,200 “marine biologists-in training” have participated in the program, which is funded in part by the Wild 4 Whales Foundation. Learn more about the program here.
In 2021, two more partners have joined us in this innovative program. Marine educators from the University of Victoria’s Ocean Networks Canada will join teaching sessions on the boats, contributing to educational content and displaying some of their world-class underwater sensor technologies and equipment. And Pacific Northwest Transportation Services, a carbon-neutral bus transportation service based in Victoria, will transport students to Fisherman’s Wharf for their boat tour!
What our school program partners are saying about us:
“[Our partnership with Eagle Wing Tours] gives our students the opportunity to connect with local experts, to physically get out on the water and to witness the diversity of this area for themselves, helps the students build a connection with this incredible place.”
—Aaron Maxwell, vice-principal of Central Middle School, Victoria
“There’s no better way for our students to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Salish Sea than being onboard with Eagle Wing! This incredible place-based education program allows students to experience our rich marine backyard in a safe and exhilarating way that will stay with them for a lifetime.”
—Kathryn Cook, Teacher, South Park Family School and École Margaret Jenkins School
“The first-hand sensory experience of being out on the water sparks student excitement and curiosity. Cultivating a sense of wonder and connection with the natural world in young people is vital to creating a more sustainable society. Eagle Wing programs help our schools do just that!
—Ken Andrews, Principal, Monterey Middle School (Greater Victoria School District)
ENGAGING THE COMMUNITY
At Eagle Wing, we’re in a privileged position to share our local knowledge and passion with others. Getting to know our neighbours and building awareness about how all our actions affect the oceans will help create a more sustainable future.
Among our outreach activities:
Founded World Oceans Day at Fisherman’s Wharf, a popular family-friendly event that promotes awareness of the world’s oceans. The event is now co-hosted with the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and brings together over 20 organizations dedicated to ocean conservation and education.
Co-founded the Victoria Sustainable Tourism Alliance (VISTA), which
Beach clean-ups with Sea Shepherd Vancouver Island and Surfrider Vancouver Island
Purchase and deploy of reef balls around the harbour to expand marine habitat, working with World Fisheries Trust, the Bateman Centre and others
Science Literacy Week
School Career Fairs
World Migratory Bird Day
Nature Kids Victoria
Royal Roads University – various program streams
Aboriginal Tourism Program
Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea lecture series
Sea Rangers Club
Greater Victoria Naturehood
All Buffleheads Day
Expert participation on social media live events with partners
“Eagle Wing Tours is committed to local marine education and one way of showing this has been through their community leadership for many years in World Oceans Day, and more recently as a force in its expansion to Oceans Week Victoria.”
—Past co-chair, Canadian Network for Ocean Education
“It has been an absolute pleasure working with the Eagle Wing family to bring kids to the ocean and the ocean to kids. Eagle Wing was a critical supporter of Live It’s early-stage growth and marine educational initiatives. Both of our companies care deeply about ocean literacy and in connecting youth to impactful marine experiences.”
Salmonoid incubation programs provide over 60 schools with in-class aquariums and 20,000 salmon eggs to help children learn about the delicate lifecycle of our wild Pacific salmon.
“It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.” – David Attenborough
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