Coastal Naturalists on BC Ferries this Summer

Coastal Naturalist Program
The Coastal Naturalist program begins on Friday, June 25th on BC Ferries sailings between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Photo by Sara Borck - © Parks Canada

Have you ever wondered why Orcas are called ‘Killer Whales’ or what an eelgrass meadow is? Did you know that during the BC Ferries sailing between Victoria and Vancouver, you are actually in the midst of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve? While traveling onboard BC Ferries this summer, join us for an onboard presentation where our Coastal Naturalists will inspire you to learn about the natural world around you.

Now in its fifth year, the Coastal Naturalist program offers BC Ferries passengers an opportunity to get to know the wonders of BC’s coast, introducing topics about the ocean, BC’s unique wildlife and marine environments, coastal, nautical and cultural history, and what to see and do in local Parks Canada places. The 2010 Coastal Naturalist program is celebrating BC Ferries 50th anniversary of maritime history, 125 years of national parks in Canada and the 150th anniversary of Fisgard Lighthouse!

Queen of Cowichan, BC Ferries
Look for the Coastal Naturalist program on-board BC Ferries this summer.

“Are we there yet?” won’t be ringing in your ears this summer. Our ten Coastal Naturalists are armed with a heap of new programs, and some great new props for your kids to try on – yours might become a giant purple sea star or the next Great Blue Heron! Last year, the Coastal Naturalists engaged with over 174,000 passengers, helping to inspire, educate and inform them about the great experience they are part of on this amazing coast. Passengers love this program and have complemented it frequently – they tell us it exceeds their expectations and increases their appreciation of the area. One passenger commented, “the value of learning about our natural environment is a way to form a closer, connected relationship with our community of life around us. This connection will help us protect and save our environment and wildlife.”

Purple Stars (Pisaster ochraceus)
Become a giant Purple Sea Star during a Coastal Naturalists program!

For locals and tourists, young or youthful, seasoned BC Ferries traveler or your first time onboard; the Coastal Naturalist has something for you. Additionally, each presentation is prepared with you in mind; created with a variety of themes and interesting facts. You might learn about the amazing creatures found under the waters in the Strait of Georgia on one sailing, or on another, the compelling stories of the people who call Coastal BC home. You will also learn about the fragile and complex environments of Pacific Rim and Gulf Islands National Park Reserves. All this while catching a glimpse of wildlife and marine life from the deck, on almost half of the coastal naturalist sailings.

The 2010 Coastal Naturalist program begins Friday, June 25th and runs until Monday, September 6, 2010 onboard BC Ferries vessels traveling between Vancouver/Tsawwassen and Victoria/Swartz Bay, and West Vancouver/Horseshoe Bay and Nanaimo/Departure Bay. Coastal Naturalists are onboard mid-day sailings Friday thru Monday. In addition, beginning mid-July, Naturalists are onboard the Spirit Class vessels sailing between Vancouver and Victoria daily. Watch for a Coastal Naturalist onboard your vessel during these times, introduce yourself and join the presentation. A detailed schedule of sailing times with onboard Coastal Naturalists is found on through a link to the Coastal Experiences starfish logo on the bottom right corner of the homepage.

The Coastal Naturalist Program is proudly brought to you by BC Ferries and Parks Canada.