The Flying Shingle
Oceans Day Gabriola getting bigger, better every year
Monday, June 17, 2013
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Oceans Day organiser Deborah Ferens poses with the Oceans Day clown. ~ Photo by Chris Bowers

“We started off small,” Oceans Day organiser Deborah Ferens said June 9, pausing briefly in distributing equipment and information to volunteers at Gabriola’s fifth annual Oceans Day celebration in Descanso Bay park to talk to the Flying Shingle, “and every year Oceans Day is getting bigger and better.”
Those improvements, Ferens said, are “thanks to the marine biologists who came forward with their totally awesome, young, enthusiastic, creative energy, and said ‘let’s show people what’s out there under the waves’. … So they’ve been bringing up live ocean creatures and putting them in viewing touch tanks for people to look at.”
“The other displays are as much marine information as we can share with people,” Ferens said, “including  forage fish, shell fish, marine mammals, marine history on Gabriola, and anything to do with saving our shores and ensuring that all of this beautiful stuff is protected.
Noting a new feature of this year’s event, Ferens also said: “We hope lots of people lighten their footprint on Gabriolan and use the bus to come here today”.
As previously noted the new community bus was organised to provide a park and ride service to the park.
Ferens said she hoped Gabriolans would have a “great family and community day enjoying and celebrating the ocean”.
Community groups such as GROWLS, the power squadron,  and Save Our Shores had displays as did Help the Kelp, a group recently re-launched by organiser Michael Mehta and others.
“One of the most important things for Help the Kelp is to convince the community that what we’re doing is not only very important but timely,” Mehta told The Shingle.
“There are a lot of people on the island who are concerned about marine ecosystems,” he said. When communities work together on such issues, he said, they can make a difference.
June 8 is the official International Oceans Day, Ferens said. She said Canada first suggested that there be an Oceans Day at the 1992 Rio Conference, but it wasn’t declared a United Nations event until 2008.

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