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