I was very touched when I was invited to come back to my roots and represent Project AWARE in British Columbia, my home province in Canada, where I first learned to dive. The diving community of British Columbia invited me, in cooperation with the Shaw Ocean Discovery Center and the Vancouver Aquarium, to speak about the inspiring initiatives Project AWARE works toward at home and abroad to protect the underwater world.
On the evening of April 26th, Langley Diving hosted a wine and cheese night at their store in Langley, BC. It was a great opportunity to meet local divers and to be able to personally thank all of them, particularly Robbin Knox, Project AWARE coordinator from Langley Diving who has put in a great deal of selfless energy and volunteer hours over the years leading numerous fundraisers benefiting Project AWARE Foundation.
I also had the opportunity to view the cutting edge “Exosuits” and subs at Nuytco Research Ltd. in North Vancouver, BC, followed by an interview discussing marine conservation with Peter Golding from Diver Magazine. That evening April 27th, I spoke at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Center in Sidney, BC. I shared the stage with Angus Mathews, Executive Director of the Shaw Ocean Discovery Center who encouraged citizens to take an active role in sharing and protecting the Salish Sea. I was especially interested to learn that this aquarium on the Salish Sea only takes in local animals with a focus on releasing them back to the ocean quickly in regular cycles. I got a chance to see a baby ruby octopus being nurtured – an experience I will not soon forget.
On the evening of April 28th, I presented to a full house at the Vancouver Aquarium. Dr. Jeffrey Marliave, Vice President of Marine Science at the Vancouver Aquarium, shared information on local efforts working with rockfish in Howe Sound. At the close of the event, I had the profound honor of having representatives of several local dive shops provide Project AWARE with a ceremonial check from BC divers totaling $3,369 CAD. These funds represent local fundraising efforts in the Vancouver area and on Vancouver Island from dive shops and organizations including Langley Diving’s Finathon, Easter Egg Hunt & BBQ. They are warmly received and critically important to ensuring that harmful marine debris is removed from the ocean and sharks and mantas are protected.
Project AWARE is a grassroots movement which relies on support and partnership from the dive community and we are grateful for the goodwill and generosity of BC divers. We simply could not deliver world class marine conservation programs and campaigns without support and engagement from the dive community.
As Executive Director, I am humbled by the effort that went into this marine conservation weekend particularly that all costs were covered by local dive shops and donations from supporting local organizations. On behalf of Project AWARE Foundation, I extend a heartfelt thank you to all of the organizations that supported this trip to Canada including: Dive and Sea Sports, Frank Whites Dive Store, International Dive Centre, Ogden Point Dive Center, Langley Diving, Pacific Pro Dive, Ocean Pro Divers, Rockfish Divers, Ocean Quest Dive Centre, Sundown Diving, The Edge Diving Centre, Union Bay Diving, Vancouver Diving Locker, Wilson Diving, Northwest Dive News, Diver Magazine, PADI Canada, Vancouver Aquarium, Shaw Ocean Discovery Center and The Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa.
Contact Project AWARE today at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss special events and guest speaker opportunities for your next fundraiser. We would love to meet you and help raise funds together for ocean protection.