Sea level will be brought to eye level with a temporary pop-up aquarium as a new feature for family fun and learning during the month of July, Caitlin Birdsall Chairperson of North Coast Ecology Society (NCES) said, on June 15.
The centre will have saltwater tanks, marine invertebrates, starfish, sea cucumbers, possibly some crab, and anemone exhibits with educators on hand to assist with learning.
“[There will be] all kinds of really colorful, beautiful things that live just below our oceans surface that we so infrequently, actually get to see,” Birdsall said. “Our goal is to kind of bring the ocean to eye level and introduce people to what is in these dark green waters off the coast of Prince Rupert.”
Thanks to a Canada Summer Jobs grants the pop-up will be staffed and open from July 21 through to August 15 pending a permit approval from the DFO.
The fun interactive sea exhibit is a trial for the future vision of a permanent centre by the Prince Rupert ecology group which was formed in 2018.
“Our goal is to create a permanent ecology center in our community, that helps us learn about local ecosystems and species from mountain peaks all the way down into glass sponge reefs,” Birdsall said.
The permanent peak to reef centre development is still in the foundational stages having been slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the idea pop-up testing will be seen over four weeks during the summer for the community to visit.
“The goal of this process is not only to bring something fun to our community after a tough year and to help us sort of educate about local ecology but also for us to learn more about how a permanent center might work here in Prince Rupert,” she said.
Costs for the temporary pop-up aquarium run into the $35,000 range Birdsall said, and the costs are significant for the non-profit ecology group. Some community donations have been received and the organization is currently soliciting donations. A Go-Fund-Me campaign to compliment community donations has been set up to raise $10,000 to assist with further funding needed for the pop-up aquarium.
The space for the temporary exhibit is being donated by the Port of Prince Rupert after NCES group realized that the Northland terminal would be empty due to cruise ship season being cancelled.
The Port of Prince Rupert has been awesome. They have really helped facilitate us to use that space, so we’re going to be using a component of it.”
K-J Millar | Journalist
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