BBCS Grade 8 Central Coast Hydrophone Network Field Trip

Last week a group of grade 8 students took a field trip to learn more about the Central Coast Hydrophone Network.  This outing was the culmination to a series of classroom presentations on marine mammal acoustics that Diana Chan from Pacific Wild had given the grade 8 science classes this spring.

The morning began with a visit to the Pacific Wild float lab. The students got to see the system for recording and monitoring the hydrophones, as well as listen to some of the archived recordings of whales in the area.

inside float lab

We left the lab and headed towards one of the hydrophone stations, hoping to see whales along the way. We were in luck!  Someone spotted a huge splash far in the distance, and we all turned our attention to off the port side of the boat.  As we idled closer, the humpback whale continued to breach several times in the middle of the channel, and then moved right next to shore where it slapped its tail on the water.  We lowered a portable hydrophone into the water to see if the whale was vocalizing, but it was not; we could hear only the frequent slapping of its tail.  We watched the whale’s interesting behaviour for almost half an hour, speculating as to why it was so close to land, before leaving the humpback and continuing on our way.

watching and listening to humpback

We arrived at the Dearth Island station of the Central Coast Hydrophone Network and the group scrambled off the boat to check out the alternative energy and transmission system and have a listen to the site.  After a full morning focused on marine mammals, we headed back to Bella Bella as dolphins played in the wake of the boat.

windmill and solar panel

solar panel and radio

listening to hydrophone

Photos by Johanna Gordon-Walker.

BBCS Grade 10/11/12 Science Trip to Hakai Beach Institute, April 30-May 3, 2013


This spring, Bella Bella Community School students enrolled in the Physics 11 and Industrial Design 11 classes had the opportunity to visit Hakai Beach Institute for a four-day trip focused on hands-on science education. The Bella Bella SEAS Community Initiative coordinator worked with the teachers from both classes to ensure that the experience had links to the high school science curriculum, as well as plenty of opportunities to learn about the local ecology and natural history. Physical activity was also a big part of the trip, with numerous hikes, ecology games, archery, and some intense beach volleyball!

24 - A nicely blocked spike - Both teams are showing their game28 - After a rigorous game of volleyball it was time to relax around the fire

The Industrial Design 11 class spent the weeks leading up to the trip building an Underwater Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV), which both classes field tested and refined down at HBI. Students also worked in pairs to create a Digital Species Collection; for this project, they photographed animal and plant species on the beaches, rocks, tidepools and trails, and later identified them using field guides in our “classroom-away-from-home”, creating Powerpoint presentations to share their knowledge. We were fortunate to listen to a lecture by Dr. Duncan McLaren, who is leading a team of archaeologists in a research project in this area, and he generously shared his time to take us into the field to see an excavation site. HBI staff member Keith Jordan gave us a detailed tour of the off-grid infrastructure. All of the lodge staff were friendly and engaging with the students, sharing their experience and enthusiasm. Walas giaxsixa to all of the Hakai Beach Institute staff and the Tula Foundation for making this experience possible, and to the students for being respectful, open-minded, curious, engaged, adventurous and well-mannered!

42 - Ted at the controls and checking out the image from the underwater camera43 - Dayton launching the submersable after some tweeking of the bouyancy12 - Courtney and Korin working hard at species identification


02 - Duncan presented some very interesting data about sea levels
01 - It is our third day and the students are still hard at it - working hard and playing hard 08 - Third and fourth sand beach is like a hidden coveSome of the things that our youth learned were:

“That my ancestors have been on this land for thousands of years.”

“…about the village sites that were all around, and how many years they were there.”

“…about archaeology evidence in the territory, plant and animal life, underwater exploration.”

“A lot about science, archaeology, the change of the tides, and the different kind of species in Hakai.”

Some other notable quotes from the Grade 10/11/12s:

“Learning a lot about science was awesome.”

“I enjoyed actually doing the research in the environment.”

“5 star food and beaches!”

“A wolf stole my raincoat, radio, and my hat. That’s my story.”

“My experience on this SEAS field trip was learning my Heiltsuk territory, how to do archery, found out how many beaches there are on Hakai, the plant and animal powerpoint, got to drive the Ramming Rover, the kind happy staff there, the amazing food, seeing how Hakai runs off the solar panels and generators, and lots of sleeping and hiking.”

Photos courtesy of Gerald Mulligan, senior science and math teacher