This program, run on the blood, sweat and tears of volunteers, has been a labour of love since it was initially created back in 1976. There are so many components to this program, all of which deserve their own highlight.
The Chum and Coho salmon runs, which have been reintroduced, are proof of how an ecosystem can flourish when given some TLC. But, Mossom raises more than salmon. It is visited by groups of educators from many countries who come to learn environmental education strategies that engage students in literacy, math, art, social studies and science – all through outdoor experiences. Furthermore, the building itself is a lesson in sustainability with its green roof, total accessibility, permeable concrete apron, bird-friendly window treatment and many other forward-thinking features.
The programs offered at the hatchery give kids from pre-school to high school the opportunity to experience the wonder of nature. They can have all sorts of hands-on experiences while being out in the fresh air and can seek cover under the large open-sided tent teaching area recently installed for COVID-safe learning. At times, the hatchery also offers sessions for adults and for university students, especially teachers-in-training. The Mossom motto is ‘You only care about what you know about.’
The facility is run by volunteers. Prior to the pandemic, it was open for public visits; however, since COVID-19 hit, the hatchery has had to reduce attendance to core volunteers performing necessary maintenance and fish rearing tasks. They have transitioned to online educational sessions and in person programs for small groups of home-schooled students. To learn more about upcoming online programs, visit http://www.mossomcreek.org.
The amount of passion that these volunteers exude is easy to feel even after only a few minutes of conversation. The hatchery, the revitalization of the watershed, and the desire to educate are all a labour of love.
Wilson M. Beck Insurance Services has been involved with Mossom for a few years from an insurance and advocate/advisory perspective. More specifically, Glen MacRae, our Executive Vice President – Claims, has been involved with the program from many positions: he has been on the Board of Directors, he played an integral role in accessing additional insurance funds that helped Mossom recover and rebuild after a devastating fire (Like a phoenix rising, they have come back better than ever; we encourage you to visit their website to see all the photos of their center.) and he continues to be a strong advocate for the program in many ways. Most recently, he applied for a grant through the Better Communities program offered from Intact that helped access much needed funds for the society.
We are so lucky to have a beautiful backyard in British Columbia. This group of volunteers is taking it in their hands to revitalize the environment while offering access to education about the complexities of nature. Furthermore, they offer kids and adults a chance to get outdoors and participate in stewardship activities. Over the last forty-five years, Mossom has worked incredibly hard to protect and revive local watersheds and there are always plans afoot for additional projects. If the restoration of pink salmon runs in Port Moody streams is successful, then maybe there will be a time when kids could once again fish from the Rocky Point Pier as in historic times.
This program is an incredible example of what can be achieved when people work together with a common interest and a big dream. Some of the volunteers grew up going to this hatchery with their parents and they are now taking their kids to the same place. That is a pretty cool generational connection! The goal now is to grow the program so our children and their kids will be able to have this experience in the future.
If you’re interested in learning more about the programs offered by BIMES or getting involved, there are lots of ways to participate. In addition, if you are able to donate, there is a tax-deductible opportunity to support Mossom though their website. To learn more, click the link below to visit their site; you will see very quickly why “Mossom is awesome!”