Youth Travel Planner - Fall 2021
By Kate O’Neil
Educating more than 75,000 students since its beginnings in 1969, Huntsman Marine Science Centre in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, delivers world-class marine educational programs — located right on the waters of the Bay of Fundy.
Huntsman is also home to Fundy Discovery Aquarium, featuring marine life, interactive displays and much more.
“Students will have the opportunity to engage with marine life throughout the Fundy Discovery Aquarium and in the marine environment using the Huntsman Marine Science Centre,” said Megan LeBlanc, brand manager at Huntsman. “All Huntsman education programs give students the essential ‘hands-on’ experience they need to understand the delicate balance of the marine environment, preparing them with a new appreciation of the oceans and their future.”
Earlier this year, Huntsman launched the Huntsman Marine Academy™ — a brand encompassing several certificate-based programs providing life-long learning connection to the Huntsman.
“These connections begin with our established grade school-aged Young Explorer Days & Weeks and transition into a series of high school-aged week-long Ocean STEAM courses designed and delivered by professionals across a range of relevant fields pertaining to the ocean economy,” LeBlanc said.
These programs feature multiple courses that allow high school students with a specific career interest to immerse in their desired field. Immediate plans are for courses focused on careers in marine biology, environmental monitoring, seabed mapping and ocean engineering.
Other experiences include overnight stays where individual schools have their students visit for hands-on learning in the laboratory and field. The center is fully equipped with dormitories and dining hall where students will receive prepared meals.
Looking for a one-day field trip? Huntsman naturalists and interpreters work with educators to create single-day itineraries with emphasis on Huntsman Marine Experiences™ — ranging from two to six hours in length. Trip options include the R/V Fundy Spray cruise where participants will use the plankton tow, benthic drag and more before returning to the wet lab; explore the intertidal zone on the rocky shore, muddy beach or a mixed habitat; and do field work touching on invasive species or zonation. When in season, students can also take a marine mammal and seabird cruise.
Some student groups gravitate toward hands-on programs inside Huntsman’s modern wet lab. These interactive experiences include games, worksheets and animal encounters focusing on topics like classifying arthropods, studying plankton under a microscope and testing hypotheses while conducting experiments with sea stars and sea urchins.
“We have regular annual visits from many schools located throughout Ontario east and the eastern United States,” LeBlanc said. “In some cases, specific teachers and schools have been coming repeatedly to Huntsman for decades!”
Tours of Fundy Discovery Aquarium are always popular with student groups and are a great way to start off a visit. “A life-size display featuring the magnitude of the Bay of Fundy tides anchors the Fundy Discovery Aquarium,” LeBlanc said. “Harbor seal antics will entertain you while intertidal creatures and underwater viewing of the Bay of Fundy fishes will fascinate you.”
Take the Behind the Scenes Tour with an interpreter to feed animals and learn about animal care. Some of the center’s animals can only be seen while on this tour. Private Tours are also available.
The Fundy Discovery Aquarium additionally houses a state-of-the-art lecture and movie theater.
“Time-tested and proven approaches, augmented with research facilities and expert guidance from experienced Huntsman teammates, provide participants with a high-quality, memorable education experience,” LeBlanc said.
At the time of publication, the Province of New Brunswick was transitioning to a full re-opening and businesses are now permitted to operate at full capacity. Travelers with proof of vaccination are now also permitted to visit New Brunswick without a mandatory quarantine period. Huntsman is looking forward to a return to normal and continuing with expanded marine education programming in the future.