For the love of a field station

Bamfield is a lovely town, and the people that live here have been so welcoming and friendly. If you haven’t been here, you should really see this short clip from CBC’s Still Standing (I would have liked to embed that video here, but the CBC player won’t let me). It encapsulates the charm of the town, along with the warmth and quirkiness of the people that call this place home. Here are a few observations about life in Bamfield, and about life at the Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre (BMSC).

  1. The kids all play outside without helicopter parents hovering around them. The kids play and make friendships fluidly, amongst the huckleberry-picking and sword-fights made from fallen branches. It’s what I remember childhood being. Even climbing on a dumpster is game on.
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  2. When you’re invited to a local event, it’s not just a courtesy. Yes you are REALLY expected at Nancy’s for a party, even though you haven’t met her. You will meet her, and you’ll have a great time.
  3. Kids at the research station are welcome to go play at the local school (of only 15 kids), and actually take part. They are welcome in the most complete sense of that word. They will make great friends.
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  4. You’re going to miss fresh produce so much that you’re going to start harvesting the seaweed off the beach. And the berries that would have been picked for fun, are now seriously foraged.
  5. Humpback whales can be seen breeching from the beach. If you get into a boat to go see them, you won’t find them. They’re messing with you.

  6. If you get sea sick, it doesn’t stop once you’re back on land. You will be “land sick” for a few days, and lurch sideways when it seems like the earth has moved from under you. People will think you’re drunk so you might as well spike your coffee.
  7. When an endangered Vancouver Island Marmot shows up at the BMSC, the students will name him Alan, with Steve as the runner up name.

     The students are here to learn how to identify animals, so they might not realize that the Alan! Alan! Alan! video is of a ground squirrel. Same thing right?

  8. Yes there is a Dogshit Alley, they aren’t trying to ditch you. Really.
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  9. Yes there is also a 2 story toilet. Don’t worry, you never go into the lower part.
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  10. Before the first week is up, you’re going to be thinking of ways to turn this place into your home. But a few things will seem insurmountable; the sea/land sickness (see point 6), the lack of produce (see point 4), and kids need to go away for high school (even though the local school is listed as kindergarten – grade 12). Then again, teenagers are hard to deal with, so maybe that’s a positive after all?
  11. You still think your name for the marmot was way wittier than what the students came up with.

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