Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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2005 NSERC Awards for Science Promotion

Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC)

The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC) opened in 1972 and is operated by a non-profit society consisting of the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria. The centre sits on about 75 hectares of land, including three km of shoreline. It is located in the traditional territory of the Huu ay aht First Nation in Barkley Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The site offers access to a wide variety of species and environments, including unique coastal, marine and rain forest habitats. In addition to providing world-class research infrastructure for marine and coastal scientists from member universities and other institutions, the centre offers graduate and undergraduate courses, trains students and technicians, and runs residential programs in marine biology and general science.

The BMSC has operated its Public Education Program (PEP) for more than 20 years. The program grew out of a field-trip program initially aimed at university students. During the 1980s, it expanded to include students in grades 6-12 and now runs year round with more than 4,000 participants per year.

Field trips range from as short as a few hours to as long as two weeks. Itineraries offer a hands-on experience that focuses on topics such as marine biology, ecology, oceanography, and biodiversity, and includes trips to beaches, boat trips, laboratory experiments, and presentations about marine science.

Ariel Fenster

A chemistry professor at McGill University, Dr. Ariel Fenster is widely known for his talks to McGill's non-science students and to younger students across Quebec. He was chief organizer of La Chimie en Fête at the Old Port of Montréal, an exhibit seen by some 370,000 people, and he appears frequently on TV and radio in both English and French.

While the majority of his public presentations have been in Quebec, he has been invited to speak from coast to coast numerous times, and each year he is invited to Columbia University in New York City for a special summer series of science lectures for potential freshmen. In the summer of 2002 he organized Cooking with Science, a series of activities on the science of food at the Montreal Science Centre.

Born in Bergerac, France, Dr. Fenster has a Licence ès Sciences and Diplôme d'Études Approfondies from the University of Paris, and a Ph.D. in physical and inorganic chemistry from McGill. He has won numerous awards for teaching and public education.