As aquaculture grows in Canada and abroad, we will need a steady stream of young, highly trained aquaculturists to farm and fill a myriad of positions in the service and supply sector. To do this we need to educate kids at the secondary and elementary school levels and we need to get them excited about careers in aquaculture.
This year at the Aquaculture Association of Canada’s annual conference, Aquaculture Canada 2015, in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, May 31-June 3, we hope to do just that with the introduction of the Aquaculture in the Classroom project.
Taking a cue from the BC Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation (BC AITC) and the many programs developed to “bring BC's agriculture to our students” the goal of the Aquaculture in Classroom program is to bring aquaculture to kids early in their decision process when considering careers.
Working with the BC Ministry of Agriculture Youth Development Programs and the BC AITC, the program was put together to provide a day of active engagement for high school students enrolled in Earth Sciences, Sustainable Resources, and Food and Nutrition studies. Students will be given an overview of aquaculture in BC and a tour of the aquaculture facilities at Vancouver Island University (VIU) including the cold and tropical fish rearing facilities, aquaponics lab and the International Centre for Sturgeon Studies. Lunch will be provided at the Aquaculture Canada 2015 conference with the opportunity to meet delegates and industry representatives. An afternoon session with people currently working in the aquaculture sector will offer firsthand information on what they do, what post-secondary training was required to get them there, and what the jobs are like.
As an added twist, the program includes an iMovie competition. Students will create movies based on the events of the day and in answer to the question – Why is Aquaculture Important? Winners will be announced through the Aquaculture Association of Canada and the movies will be available for public viewing.
Sponsored by the BC Salmon Farmers Association, GenomeBC, the BC Ministry of Agriculture, the Aquaculture Association of Canada and VIU, the program will be a template for future similar youth engagement programs at successive Aquaculture Canada conferences.
— Myron Roth