Àros Na Mara teams with CBU to host World Oceans Day 2016

The Victoria Standard - - Environment - SPE­CIAL, BARRASTRAIT

It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he can­not with it fathom all the depths of the ocean. - John Locke

De­spite our County’s own prox­im­ity and in­ter­de­pen­dence with the sea, there is much we do not know about the vast hues of blue and gray be­tween the lands.

On the week­end of June 4 and 5, 2016, a team of vol­un­teers will host the sec­ond an­nual Àros Na Mara World Oceans Day (WOD) fes­ti­val. Held along the Barra Strait in the heart of Canada’s only in­land sea, the fes­ti­val is meant to cel­e­brate some of the mys­ter­ies of our wa­ters by ex­am­in­ing the sci­en­tific and nat­u­ral virtues of the Bras d'or Lakes in the heart of the UNESCO Bio­sphere.

The two-day event will deliver great fam­ily fun and op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pe­ri­ence and learn about sci­ence, re­search, and ed­u­ca­tion. To en­sure a strong sci­en­tific com­po­nent to the week­end, the Àros Na Mara com­mit­tee has teamed up with Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity (CBU) to host this year’s of­fer­ings.

“The Ma­rine bi­ol­ogy team will be on site with its equip­ment, col­lect­ing and demon­strat­ing live ma­rine spec­i­mens dur­ing the week­end” states Dr. Bruce Hatcher of the CBU Bras d’or In­sti­tute. “The World Oceans Day Fes­ti­val will pro­mote the Univer­sity as an In­sti­tu­tion to study and do re­search that reaches be­yond Syd­ney into the com­mu­ni­ties of Cape Bre­ton.”

June 8 is of­fi­cially des­ig­nated World Oceans Day by the UN and has been cel­e­brated since the Rio Sum­mit in 1992.

The event com­mit­tee has col­lab­o­rated with many part­ners in­clud­ing the Bras d’or Lake Bio­sphere Re­serve As­so­ci­a­tion, Mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Vic­to­ria County and Grand Nar­rows Water­front De­vel­op­ment So­ci­ety to help plan event com­po­nents and at­tract del­e­gates, speak­ers and at­ten­dees.

Lo­cal com­mu­nity part­ners in­clude Baile nan Gàid­heal High­land Vil­lage, Gran­dona Le­gion #124, St. Columba Parish, Iona Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment, Rankin School of the Nar­rows, Iona Heights Inn and oth­ers.

The week­end will com­bine ed­u­ca­tional speak­ers and col­lab­o­ra­tive ses­sions with food, en­ter­tain­ment, and fam­ily fun. In ad­di­tion to lo­cal main­stay of­fer­ings, look for seafood chow­der at the Parish Hall and fes­ti­val food on the Wharf Sun­day af­ter­noon. There will also be live en­ter­tain­ment at lo­cal venues through­out the week­end and at the wharf on Sun­day.

A key ad­di­tion to this year’s fes­ti­val is Bras d’or TALKS, a fo­rum for re­searchers and the pub­lic alike to ex­plore the re­search and de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial of the wa­ter­shed ecosys­tem. Àros Na Mara Com­mit­tee Lead Vince Ma­clean sees tremen­dous po­ten­tial here.

“The Bras d’or Lake is a mi­cro­cosm of the world’s oceans. To­day the ocean econ­omy is more knowl­edge-based and tech­nol­ogy-ori­ented re­sult­ing in in­creased ma­rine re­search and de­vel­op­ment here within Nova Sco­tia. Why can’t the Bras d'or Lake –a nat­u­ral mi­cro­cosm of the world’s oceans -- be bet­ter used for those re­search ca­pa­bil­i­ties?”

TALKS will in­clude sto­ries of how the Bras d’or Lake has evolved, both in terms of its ma­rine ecosys­tem and the health of the many com­mu­ni­ties that have called the Bras d’or Lake home – for our First Na­tions res­i­dents for over 10,000 years and for our Euro­pean an­ces­tors for just over 250 years.

Àros Na Mara, Gaelic for House of the Sea, is an ini­tia­tive of Cen­tral Cape Bre­ton Com­mu­nity Ven­tures Inc. It re­flects a long-stand­ing dream to de­velop a ma­rine sci­ence, ed­u­ca­tion and renewable en­ergy fa­cil­ity at the Barra Strait on the Bras d’or Lake. The fa­cil­ity would take ad­van­tage of the di­verse nat­u­ral at­tributes of the Lake and its wa­ter­shed to sup­port ma­rine re­search, ed­u­ca­tion and tourism ini­tia­tives.

For more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing a com­plete event sched­ule, visit the Aros Na Mara - World Oceans Day 2016 Face­book page, Worl­do­ceans­day.org or Cen­tral­cape­bre­ton.com.

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