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Love of the Sea Thrives at Award-winning Marine Centre

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Contact
Anne Stewart or Sarah Tyne, 250.728.3301, public_ed@bms.bc.ca


June 30, 2006
A life-long love of the ocean lured Sarah Tyne to a job that keeps her immersed in marine life. The Simon Fraser University graduate has spent the past five years working as an instructor with the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre's public education program, which is being recognized with a prestigious Michael Smith Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

The centre, located in Barkley Sound on Vancouver Island, was established nearly 35 years ago and is run by five universities, including SFU, the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of Victoria and UBC. It provides a unique research environment for Canadian scientists and students, including several from SFU, and attracts world-class research biologists, ecologists and oceanographers.

The centre’s award-winning public education program is designed to attract the public and teach visitors about the mysteries of underwater life. For instructors like Tyne, the work boils down to a passion for the sea.

"The enthusiasm of participants is contagious - many are seeing the ocean for the first time," says Tyne, whose job began as an SFU science co-op position. The geography major, who also took a semester-long program at the centre, graduated from SFU in 2003 and stayed on. Besides community education and conservation outreach projects she has also been involved in other centre activities, from animal care to work in the rainforest.

The program is built around multi-day immersion field trips. "We try to make the most of the incredible natural and research environments that surround us and provide students with an experience they can't get anywhere else," says Tyne.

Named for the late Nobel laureate Michael Smith, the NSERC award honours groups or individuals who make an outstanding contribution to the promotion of science in Canada outside of the regular school system.

More than 4,000 visitors take advantage of the BMSC's public education program annually and many more - 20 million last year - log onto its website, www.oceanlink.island.net.

The $10,000 prize was awarded on June 20.

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