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Gathering heightens awareness of Prince Ruperts outdoor education opportunities

A meeting hosted by Northwest Community College (NWCC) in Prince Rupert opened the eyes of post-secondary educators to the advantages of studying the natural environmental in the ocean port city. "What a fantastic place to study coastal ecology," said participant Robert Macrae, an Instructor at the School of Renewable Resources at Selkirk College. "I would like my daughter to come here after finishing her degree next year." Representatives from 15 BC colleges and universities attended this years Environmental Educators Articulation Meeting, which was hosted by NWCCs Applied Coastal Ecology (ACE) program May 27 29, ACE teaches students biological and ecological skills needed to work in coastal ecosystems around the world. The purpose of the articulation meeting was for providers and instructors of environmental programs to share information about their respective course offerings and discuss teaching methods and developments. The sharing of this information ensures that students taking college courses can maximize their transfer credits when they go on to a university or, alternately, when university students decide to attend a college," said Jennifer Orum of the BC Council of Admissions and Transfer, the provincial organization that facilitates transfers among BC post-secondary institutions. In between sessions, participants experienced a snippet of Prince Rupert s natural environment through trips to the Khutzyamateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, Pike Island and Butze Rapids trail. Through these excursions, they were able to see how easy it is for NWCCs ACE students to learn course material hands-on in a relevant environment. The ocean is at our doorstep in Prince Rupert, so as instructors of Applied Coastal Ecology, we are extremely lucky, said ACE instructor Ken Shaw. We are able to teach our courses within the context of the actual subject material. That is something a lot of other institutions can't do. This meeting and the reaction of the delegates made me even more aware of how unique that is, he added. The group of educators got a first hand look at the new Fairview Container Port, arriving just in time to see the 29th ship pull up to the dock. Additionally, Hamish Marshall of the NaiKun Wind Energy Group gave a talk of the companys proposed project in the Hecate Strait while Mike Ambach of the World Wildlife Fund gave a presentation on conservation efforts in the region. "I never thought that there was so much going here the possibilities are limitless," stated Anna Colangeli of the Environmental Technology program at Camosun College. NWCCs ACE program is an example of how the College utilizes the resources of the communities it serves, stated NWCC President, Stephanie Forsyth. This ensures our programs are relevant to the community and region and also makes them unique within the province.

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