Participants celebrating World Oceans Day at Blackie Spit in Surrey discovered local sea life and foreshore habitat, and enjoyed a host of fun activities for all ages. See how the event inspired stewardship and showcases the value of our local waters.
At Blackie Spit Park in South Surrey, an annual ocean celebration is underway.
“We’ve got storytelling, there is all sorts of community groups here with booths set up with different crafts and activities and educational information,” says Sarah Brookes from theFriends of Semiahoo Bay Society. “(There’s also) some guided nature walks as well to orient people to this wonderful place that is Blackie Spit.”
City of Surrey Councillor Judy Villeneuve explains how the event came into being.
“We have partnered with the Semiahoo, the Friends of Semiahoo Bay for 11 years. And really it was their idea, that was generated because they do a lot of work on our sea beds, and ensuring that our oceans are well protected and maintained. And a lot of their volunteer effort goes to raising awareness about the importance of the environment around the beach.”
Surrey’s geographic make-up is one reason why the event is important.
“Here in Surrey we have more than 15 kilometers of shoreline that touch the ocean,” says Neil Aven, Urban Forestry and Environmental Programs Manager for the City of Surrey Parks Division. “If this event can connect people to realize how sensitive the ocean front is and the foreshore, then I think we’ve done our job in that regard.”
The nature walks provide an opportunity for event participants to connect ocean health to other issues.
“It really shows the variety of groups that are out there,” says Brookes. “Even though there are groups that are out here that aren’t focused on the ocean. They are protecting the near shore, they are protecting the waterways that feed into the ocean. It’s all connected.”
Villeneuve sees the event as a great way to foster volunteerism and stewardship.
“People start feeling that they have one foot in. And the next foot in is they are going to become a volunteer, they are going to teach their kids that its important to take care of their neighborhood. And really I believe that’s how things change. That’s how you build a sense of responsibility and pride. So I think these events are incredibly important.”