Bamfield Marine Sciences Expedition

By Rachel Bhatia '24

From April 19-23, a group of 10 students in Life Science 11, alongside Mr. Harding and Ms. Jellema, travelled to Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) for immersive exploration and adventure. We shared five activity-packed days of intensive learning while building lasting relationships and making timeless memories. Established on the outer west coast of Vancouver Island, BMSC is a paradise of wildlife and nature, suitably accompanied by state-of-the-art labs and research facilities.  

Our itinerary kept us engaged from the moment we arrived at BMSC to the minute our bus departed. We conducted numerous lab experiments, embarked on field trips in the wilderness, and participated in fascinating workshops. Each activity provided us with a unique opportunity to connect the topics we discussed in the classroom to hands-on experiences. Our knowledge was challenged and expanded in diverse ways that can’t be delivered or experienced within the walls of our school. One of the best learning experiences was when we adventured into the trees to discover temperate rainforest ecology. In the first few months of Life Sciences this year, we studied forest dynamics, investigating the depths of each element of the forest. I made connections with podcasts and articles that we discussed during class, and as we walked through the rainforest, those moments in the classroom came to life inside my head. 

Aside from the academic enrichment, this trip allowed the ten of us to build timeless connections and relationships with each other. When the list of attendees was published, I was nervous to see that there wasn’t anyone going on the trip that I was particularly close with, but by the time we stepped off the bus after our educational journey, I was confidently able to call every person on that list a friend. Laughter filled the bus and kept us entertained on our journey to the west coast of Vancouver Island, and that laughter didn’t fade until we parted ways. Words of encouragement were to be heard when there were anxious faces while clambering over rocks in the intertidal zone or nervous voices while delivering presentations. For each meal, we would push five tables together so that we would all be able to easily connect with each other. After our tiresome days, we could be found initiating a late-night study session in the library or playing games in the common room. 

The experiences I gained and the memories that I made on this trip have added value to my life in many ways. BMSC provided all of us with an opportunity to test our limits and push ourselves to overcome barriers we had previously faced. For example, we had the opportunity to go caving on Brady's Beach to observe the wildlife living within, but to access the caves we had to climb carefully together. This was an activity that a few of us were hesitant to approach, but with the support of our peers and the realization that we were all completely capable of climbing these rocks, we were able to make it to the caves with confidence and excitement. Conversations with my peers afterwards revealed a sense of pride as we had faced a challenge and successfully proven to ourselves that we can overcome personal barriers. Our trip was truly full of personal growth and accomplishment and it is an opportunity we are grateful for and will never forget.  
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