Living in a large urban centre can sometimes make it difficult to remember that we are an integral part of a complex ecosystem. The Wonders of the Salish Sea program is designed to increase our awareness of the uniquely biodiverse area in which we live and upon which we depend. By discovering a sense of awe and wonder in our natural environment, we can connect to the Salish Sea ecosystem in deep and meaningful ways.

Launched in Vancouver in spring 2016, the Wonders of the Salish Sea program is now in its fifth year. The program gives Vancouver residents the opportunity to learn from local experts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and experience. Each year, the program introduces exciting new topics and speakers. The program is organized by a dedicated group of marine biologists, naturalists, and enthusiasts.

Past participants have said:

Absolutely wonderful, and at such an economical cost. The speakers were so wonderful, so engaging, so knowledgeable, and everything they shared is very much appreciated.

I think the ripple effects of this kind of course cannot be tabulated…  eyes being opened, new information making one receptive to more information, and the sheer delight and awe of being in the realm of the natural world and all it has to offer.

The Salish Sea, beautifully depicted in this map by Stefan Freelan, consists of the Strait of Georgia in BC, Puget Sound in WA, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca that straddles the CDN/US border.

Map of the Salish Sea by Stefan Freelan, Salish Sea ecosystem

Values of the Wonders of the Salish Sea Program

  • Acknowledgement of the ancestral, traditional, and unceded Aboriginal territories of the Coast Salish Peoples, and in particular, the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations on whose territory we will offer this education;
  • Respect for inclusivity and accessibility;
  • Respect for students’ previous knowledge and experience;
  • Respect for the beginner adult learner; and
  • Welcoming of all viewpoints.

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
Jacques Yves Cousteau

Photos courtesy of Susan Banjavich and Heather Wardle