West Coast Aquatic Launches Barkley Sound Knowledge Symposium
New initiative brings people together to contribute their knowledge to a brighter future for Barkley Sound
Jan. 19, 2010
Port Alberni — A new Barkley Sound knowledge community is being created and will kick off with the first-ever Barkley Sound Knowledge Symposium on February 9-11. This exciting initiative will support planning and result in new opportunities and partnerships in Barkley Sound.
Tony Bennett is co-chair of West Coast Aquatic, the local organization that is organizing the initiative. “The problems and opportunities we face require information and knowledge from many sources. So far there haven’t been good ways to connect people with each other or the tools and information they need. Everything has been in separate organizations and boxes. We’re changing that” says Bennett.
Barkley Sound is one of the richest marine environments in B.C., full of recreational and commercial opportunity. But our activities and lifestyles are putting stress on our coastal environment. Recent concerns surrounding the health of salmon, herring, water and other resources heighten the need for different communities, businesses, and governments to work together.
Everyone from fishermen and recreationalists to scientists and resource managers are already contributing their local ecosystem knowledge through a new online tool called ‘Barkleypedia’. Modeled on ‘Wikipedia’, the popular online encyclopedia, ‘Barkleypedia’ brings together vast amounts of knowledge and observations from different people to create an evolving picture of the health and use of Barkley Sound’s marine environment. This information will be useful for many purposes, including improving management, identifying opportunities and issues, creating new technologies, and planning.
“This is a great opportunity for people to create a personal and collective legacy of knowledge that can be used now and in the future,” says Dr. Tom Okey, Director of Ecological Sciences at West Coast Aquatic. Kathryn Wallace, an intern working with WCA, adds, “Local people who use the area know an incredible amount about it. Fishermen, kayakers, divers, stewards, boaters, researchers -- everyone is encouraged to share their knowledge. Even a paragraph summarizing changes they’re seeing can be incredibly insightful and useful.”
West Coast Aquatic is complementing the on-line tool with the Barkley Sound Knowledge Symposium, co-hosted by the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre. The symposium is open to all those with knowledge to contribute or an interest in our marine environment. Further opportunities to contribute and participate are being organized through community meetings and events around the region in the coming months.
‘Barkleypedia’ and the Barkley Sound Knowledge Symposium are both part of the larger ‘Tsawalk Patrnership’. Tsawalk is a new coastal planning initiative for the West Coast of Vancouver Island aimed at helping those who live, work and enjoy the region to make decisions about its future. The Tsawalk Partnership’s objectives are more jobs and training, healthier species and habitat, increased access to opportunities, stronger partnership###