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Cementing a relationship

Bonne Bay Marine Station becomes part of Grenfell Campus

By Melanie Callahan

Grenfell Campus has announced that the Bonne Bay Marine Station and public aquarium (BBMS), located in Norris Point, N.L., is now officially part of its campus.

From left, Dr. Jeff Keshen, vice-president (Grenfell Campus), is given a tour of Bonne Bay Marine Station by its director, Duncan McIlroy.
Photo: Submitted

The BBMS, traditionally part of the Faculty of Science, Memorial University, has a mandate to provide a venue for teaching, research and public outreach.

The marine station has garnered national acclaim for its public aquarium, which is open to the public from May until October, and encourages visitors to see the wonders of Bonne Bay, with insight from student interpreters.

This modern marine station, which is situated in Gros Morne National Park and opened in 2002, is staffed by two full-time employees and up to eight seasonal employees.

It is home to a public aquarium and touch tank and is important for marine research, as the geographic location provides rare access to waters that have been isolated from the Gulf of St. Lawrence since the ice age.

Strategic goals

The facility is one of Memorial’s primary research hubs, specializing in marine science. BBMS is also host to summer semester marine biology courses, and recently, has been used by arts and fine arts students from Grenfell Campus and other groups.

Dr. Jeff Keshen, vice-president (Grenfell Campus), says the relationship between the Bonne Bay Marine Station and Grenfell Campus has been established for many years.

“The further cementing of this partnership will help us meet our strategic goals,” he said.

“Our recruitment initiatives will be supported by increased access for students to these exceptional research and learning facilities. Academic and research activities and opportunities will intensify, as will occasions for public engagement – all of which have been identified as priorities for Grenfell Campus.”

Under the guidance of director Duncan McIlroy, the marine station has developed important business partnerships with local tour operators, research and advocacy groups, and the federal and provincial governments.

“Supporting the marine biology semester remains as a core part of our raison d’être.” — Prof. Duncan McIlroy

The BBMS is also a supporter of the local spring music festival, Tales Trails and Tunes, and hosts visiting performing artists year-round in the theatre.

“As we move into the next phase of our development under the auspices of Grenfell Campus, supporting the marine biology semester remains as a core part of our raison d’être, which is formalized in a memorandum of understanding with Memorial’s Faculty of Science,” said Prof. McIlroy.

“We are also looking to diversify our public activities, including Indigenization of our programming to reflect our presence in the ancestral homelands of the Mi’kmaq and Beothuk, and to extend our shoulder season offerings.”

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