By Erika Verlinden, Fernwood Teacher

Last Wednesday June 8th, people all over the earth celebrated World Oceans Day. For Fernwood Elementary students that meant taking to their local shoreline for some experiential, place-based learning. Nearly 140 students took part in activities led by community member Cate McEwan and parent Leanna Boyer.

With additional parent volunteers, and Fernwood staff, students built mini watersheds using seawater to demonstrate the movement and catchment of water within their systems. Led by parent Natasha Kong, students created impermanent mandalas with found materials from the beach. It was a happy coincidence that the Grade 2/3 class had been creating mandalas recently at school! Meanwhile, for the students that chose it, a scavenger hunt kept curious minds and hands busy.

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In the afternoon, the last two classes benefited from the low tide and got to do a seine net pull – a memorable experience – in which the kids plucked all sorts of marine animal, plant, and algae life from the water for closer inspection in a holding tank. Back at school students tuned in to and were mesmerized by the Fish-Eye project – an interactive underwater viewing of the kelp forest off Ogden Point in Victoria. Fernwood Elementary even got a question through to the divers – “Why is the water so green?” Answer: because there is more phytoplankton in our waters than in other areas around the globe.

Find the full video at

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Photos: Erika Verlinden