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21-day expedition to explore underwater earthquakes

Plus, Green Team growth, Metchosin fire, Royal Roads convocation, and more

Good morning! 

Back in March, there were a whole bunch of earthquakes in the ocean off our shores. Now, a local group from Ocean Networks Canada is on a 21-day expedition to the area to provide insight into the ongoing tectonic activity, as well as service hundreds of kilometres of undersea fibre optic cables. More on that story in today’s newsletter.


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Burst of seismic activity off the west shore of Vancouver Island focus of joint expedition

The Nautilus. Photo: Ocean Exploration Trust

In March 2024, Ocean Networks Canada detected an unprecedented spike of over 200 earthquakes per hour at Endeavour field, a hydrothermal vent field located off the west coast of Vancouver Island and 2,250 metres below sea level. 

In response, and as part of an annual system maintenance program, the exploration vessel E/V Nautilus embarked from Sidney Harbour on June 6 for a 21-day mission to the area.

“The E/V Nautilus is a purposely outfitted ship ideally tailored for ocean exploration and to conduct the complex deep ocean operations that ONC must conduct to ensure that we keep our thousands of sensors delivering data for scientific research, societal protection, and advancing Canada’s blue economy,” says Kate Moran, president and CEO of Ocean Networks Canada. 

The expedition, scheduled from June 6 to 27, aims to service the NEPTUNE observatory, a fibre-optic cable loop and network of observatories hosting thousands of sensors at five key sites off Vancouver Island. 

The crew will use a multi-beam sonar system for seafloor mapping and deploy remote operated vehicles to collect biological, geological, and chemical samples, particularly around the 90km-long Endeavour hydrothermal vent field.

Public engagement is encouraged through live-streamed footage and interactive sessions, highlighting the importance of this deep-sea research. Throughout the expedition, the eyes of the international scientific community will be on the Westshore.


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Greater Victoria Green Team combines nature protection and community

The Greater Victoria Green Team was created in 2014 as a branch of the charity Green Teams of Canada with a goal of creating education, volunteer, and connection opportunities for residents across Greater Victoria. Working on numerous projects in the community for 10 years, the team is making a visible difference with the support of residents and municipalities. 

“Our goal is to connect people with each other in nature and to empower them to make a difference in their community, to have a positive environmental impact,” says Kaitlin Warren, program manager of the Greater Victoria Green Team. “We focus on civic responsibilities and behavioural change, and so part of that is our entry level activities that welcome people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to start to get involved in different kinds of environmental initiatives and to really connect them with other people who care.” 

Known for hosting the most biodiversity in Canada, BC is rich with ecosystems going from the smallest microbes to entire coastal rainforests. With so much of the natural world to support and protect, the Green Team focuses their efforts on invasive plant removal, litter cleanups, along with native shrub and tree planting as well.

By partnering with municipalities and groups in the community, the Green Team organizes events on a weekly basis and has been working on ongoing projects to gain results. One of those partnerships is coming to fruition this week. The City of Colwood provided the Greater Victoria Green Team with financial support to work with students from Dunsmuir Middle School on June 12 and Wishart Elementary School on June 13 to remove invasive species, something that the students are well acquainted with and excited to do. 

“We have been engaging students from Dunsmuir Middle School for the past several years a couple times a year to come out to [Lagoon West Park] and to help improve the health of the ecosystem by removing the invasive plants,” says Warren. “The students have been able to make a really big difference over the years of engagement at this location and it's been incredible to see the excitement levels and the determination of these students.” 

Warren says that not only is the removal of invasive species a good form of exercise and education, but it’s a great way to build teamwork skills and have friendly competitions to see who can “pull the biggest root.” By allowing students to engage in interactive and fun ways, it also builds a desire to protect the environment around them. 

“It really builds a really fun dynamic of camaraderie and encourages them to work together with their classmates, to achieve a common goal,” says Warren. “Through the impacts that we measure at these activities, which includes the before and after photos as well as the metrics around the volume of invasive plants removed, the students are able to feel really empowered about the ability that they have to make a difference one-on-one. They can see the visible difference in the area where they work and can feel really proud knowing that they are creating space for native species.” 

Today, the team is working at Wishart Elementary School where students will head to Sue Mar Park to help clear English ivy and invasive blackberries. This project has also been ongoing, with many teachers mentioning students' excitement when they walk through the park and see their efforts pay off. 

“It’s really important when we are facing a climate crisis that we understand that when we work together, we can achieve amazing things,” says Warren. “I think that's a really local, small-scale example of the ways that we can lift each other up and empower each other through teamwork and community and talking to each other and working together to achieve something rather than feeling really disconnected.” 

The Greater Victoria Green Team is always looking for new volunteers and to host more events throughout the area. For those looking to lend a helping hand, people can find more information online about signing up

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Around the 'Shore

🏅 Langford athlete aims for 2030 Olympics: Langford local Megan Sampson has been playing rugby for the majority of her life, so when she got a call from Luge Canada asking her to join the team, it was a bit of a surprise. Training for years to further her career in rugby, Luge Canada spotted something in Sampson’s testing that they said would make her suited for the sport. Sampson currently has her eyes set on the 2030 Olympics to compete in luge while still continuing her passion to play rugby. [Vancouver Island Free Daily

💧 CRD uses Calgary water main break as learning opportunity: Over the weekend, CRD board chair Colin Plant was accompanied by Saanich councillors in Calgary to attend a conference about the water main break that has affected the city and surrounding areas. Getting the majority of their water from the Sooke Lake Reservoir, the CRD is working on a plan to mitigate and secure their water supply, as a failure at the reservoir would be a difficult challenge for the region. [CHEK

🔥 No one injured in Metchosin home fire: Metchosin Fire says no one was injured after they put out a blaze at a home on Taylor Road in Metchosin on June 11. The team responded to a call at 6:50am, finding the sole resident on the lawn when they arrived; the cause of the fire is still under investigation. [Times Colonist]

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Community Events

🎓 Royal Roads spring convocation: Royal Roads University will be celebrating its 54th convocation on June 14. Convocation times are scheduled for 9am, 11:30am, 2pm, and 4:30pm with a maximum of three guests per graduate. For those unable to attend in person, Royal Roads will be livestreaming the ceremony for friends and family to enjoy – the link will be posted online on June 14. There will also be a special graduates only day on June 13, filled with activities including a special Indigenous graduation celebration and student awards reception.

🏳️‍🌈 Fridays at the Station: Enjoy a special Pride edition of Fridays at the Station this June 14 going from 4 to 8pm. With a special community craft project, balloons, friendship bracelet making kits, pins, stickers, and special treats, there will also be the regular vendors and activities available throughout the event. 

🎶 Classical concert series: This June 15, head to St. John the Baptist Heritage Church for Arts and Culture Colwood’s classical concert series. Going from 2 to 3:30pm, listen to the Estivo Ensemble perform music from Ludwig Van Beethoven and Ernö Dohnanyi. Tickets are available online.

What’s Offshore?

No ships today!

Westshore Snaps

Kayaking off of Albert Head on June 8. —Paul Young, Langford

📸 Snapped a photo you’d like to share? Send it with a caption and don’t forget to add where you live.

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