2011 Year in review, a year of firsts

Site panorama 2011

Wow, 2011 was a crazy busy year! We spend most of every day down in the details with what isn’t working yet, still to do and looking forward. But a quick look back is a good reminder for how far we’ve come and what great things happened in 2011. The panorama above is where we were still in throes of final construction as we entered 2011, 2011 was a year of milestones every month.

Final polishing of Foyer concrete

In January we were polishing floors installing fixtures and working all throughout the building. It seemed like we would never be finished.

First meeting in Conference Room

We did use the conference room for the first time on January, for one of our last construction management meetings. We didn’t have heat yet though.

Larry McFarland, John Hemsworth - Architects 2

With some exceptional effort on part of the crews within a couple of weeks the building was “useable”, the site cleaned up, the scaffolding came off and we got our first looks at the final building.  Here architects John Hemsworth and Larry MacFarland pose in front of their vision made real.


And with only hours to spare we were ready for our first gala on January 30th.  A spectacular sustainable seafood gala sponsored by Taylor Shellfish Ltd.  with the guest Chef Xinh Dwelley and the Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island.  Part of  a local field trip for the SeaWeb Seafood Sustainability Summit in Vancouver.  Read about this amazing first event here.
Goobye - Zoom-boom we'll miss you

By February we were moving in and the trades were moving out.  To us, the beloved Zoom-boom leaving site marked the un-official end of construction on March 3d.

Saturday tour

On March 5th we opened up the Station for our first public open house with enthusiastic community reaction, over 200 members of the community showed up.  We’ve been conducting tours ever since.

Rational training seminar

In March we started a great partnership with Rational Canada, with Executive Chef Dwayne Botchar conducting seminars to local culinary professionals about the Rational Self-Cooking Center (background)


Our first research projects started coming into play during March with a visit from Dr. Dale Leavitt (Roger Williams University, Rhode Island) visiting us to help us with our Solar Flupsy Project (many more details to come about this one)


On a chilly day in April, we conducted our first High school learning adventure conducting an oceanography lab with high school students from Olds Alberta.

Alicia Donaldson

In April we were joined by the first graduate student to work out of the Station,  Alicia Donaldson from UVIC, here looking for Native oysters in Union Bay

YSI Sonde Workshop

By April we were regularly renting out the conference room for meetings and workshops.  Here YSI (Yellow Springs Instruments) and Hoskins Scientific conduct a sonde maintenance course.

AWARD WINNING! The biggest news of April however, was when we found out that the the Field Station joined 6 other buildings from across Canada as a winner of the 2011 SAB Awards – the National Green Building Awards – offered through Sustainable Architecture & Building [SABMag], and SAB Homes magazines.

oyster shell processional

In May the first of two weddings that we would hold in 2011 was held to great success.  We’re now booking more weddings for this spectacular space.

Camus Blooming

In May we saw the first wildflowers blooming in the Garry Oak meadow we are building in front of the building.

Rianna and Sarah admire their new touch tank

In June Students Emily and Rianna (pictured) with Max and Emily built and stocked what would be very successful touch tanks showcasing local invertebrate species from Baynes Sound.

Sea Cucumber Aquaculture Translation

Industry, regulators and scientists got together at the Field Station on June 16th to talk about Sea Cucumber Aquaculture.  The Station hosted a delegation of Chinese Sea Cucumber Culture Experts who spoke to the attendees about Sea Cucumber Culture in China.

BC Shellfish Festival Touch Tank

We took our touch  tanks on the road for a very fun booth at the BC Shellfish Festival in Comox

Ribbon cutting

On June 23d we had our long awaited grand opening.  What an event!  We had lots of VIP’s, media and over 200 friends of the Station show up.

North American Sturgeon Conference Dinner

In July we hosted the North American Sturgeon Conference gala dinner, with delegates brought up by chartered bus for a wonderful evening at the station.

Shoots with Roots at the STation

In July we started hosting youth summer camps as part of the Milner Gardens Shoots with Roots program.

Sarah in mini self contained Oly hatchery (2)

By August we had built a small hatchery for Native Olympia oysters as part of  our conservation based project funded by the Canadian Wildlife Foundation and the Environment Canada Habitat Stewardship Program.

500 baby ducks

Rianna and Emily also grew a whole lot of geoduck seed.
Crew caving at Horne Lake
In September, our little Deep Bay team celebrated our first summer at the Station with an awesome after work caving trip to Horne Lake Caves .  By this time .  We were running four research projects, had served >2000 meals (with some outside help) at more than 60 bookings, had >1000 drop in visitors, gave seminars to more than 400 community members, ran summer camps  and got a lot of work done to the station itself.  A lot to be proud of.   Of course we wouldn’t be anywhere without Don and the crew back home at Campus!

Peace dance

In September we helped our neighbors when the Komox and Kwalicum First Nations conducted a blessing ceremony at their property.

Roads Scholars visit the touch tanks 3

We continued to give lots of tours and community seminars.  Our Touch tanks and viewing windows into the labs are a huge hit.

Sarah stands by while the solar flupsy gets launches

In September we launched our completed Solar Flupsy the results of Max’s great craftsmanship.

Group with load of debris and garbage

VIU Students from Resource Management Officer Training Program and Fisheries and Aquaculture program pose with full truckload of garbage and debris recovered from the shores of Deep Bay Barbour after participating in Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up on September 17th.

Linda D'Anna  11.10.07

In October we welcomed Institute for Coastal Research Post-doc Linda D’Anna  who is starting new research to characterize the social-ecological properties, processes, and interactions within the Baynes Sound ecosystem that promote social-ecological resilience.

Chef and expectant diners

By October we were hosting more weekend workshops, some with some fantastic culinary offerings.

Emily Rigney and her Beach garbage jellyfish

Summer student Emily Rigney returned to the Station in October with her fantastic environmental sculpture, Beach Garbage Jellyfish which has been getting lots of attention

Fall colours at the Station 2

Fall colours at the Station.


We hosted a number of community and corporate Christmas parties at the Station our biggest was the Nature Trust of BC “Shell’ebration”.  A fundraiser for conservation efforts in Baynes Sound.

Working late

Night shot, December at the Station  All in all a Great first year.

One Response to “2011 Year in review, a year of firsts”

  1. viusustainabilityblog Says:

    You should add a pic and a note about the whale carcass!
    Congrats on an amazing year Brian

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