In spite of January’s stormy weather damaging their dock, Brentwood College School students in Mill Bay B.C. are now monitoring the seafloor with a small ocean observing system that may be destined for schools across Canada and around the world.
Ocean Networks Canada developed this new system with funding from Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network (CANARIE) as a model for community observatories that can be adapted to a wide range of locations outfitted with instruments tailored to schools, museums, or other community needs.
One and half years in the making, the first community-based observation system went live in late December, with this handover to the school providing the opportunity to test and develop the system with Brentwood College students and teachers.
The observatory consists of a weather station on the dock, and a seafloor platform complete with camera, microphone, lights, and instruments that allow students to monitor underwater sound, oxygen, chlorophyll, and temperature. It’s based on technological and engineering expertise from the world-leading VENUS and NEPTUNE observatories.
Brentwood College School was chosen as the first test location for the prototype in part because the school is located on Saanich Inlet with direct access to the sea. The enthusiasm and cooperation of the staff, students and school administration has also been much appreciated, as this first community observatory works into the school setting and curriculum.
Ocean Networks Canada’s Education team will be working with BCS teachers to develop course materials using the data collected.
According to Ocean Networks Canada’s Innovation Centre the launch of the Brentwood College ocean observing system represents an important proof of concept for a substantial educational market for systems to engage students in real time environmental monitoring and visualization.
For further information on the community observatory and future plans for a scholastic ocean observing system please contact Gordon Rees, ICT Business Development Officer.
The world’s largest and most advanced cabled ocean observatory—made up of UVic’s NEPTUNE and VENUS observatories—Ocean Networks Canada is helping to change the way we study the oceans, providing scientific evidence on a wide range of critical issues, and developing new world-leading technologies. An initiative of UVic, the observatory is a national facility supported through funding from the Governments of Canada and BC.
Leslie Elliott, Ocean Networks Canada Communications and Marketing Manager
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