Imagine waking up on a dim, October morning. Looking out your window, you can faintly make out the silhouettes of the trees and the houses next door. The sun is just starting to peek up over the horizon. As you head out the door, you throw on the usual attire – a pair of stylish rubber boots, waterproof pants, and a fully waterproof jacket. The sky is looking pretty clear this morning, but you’ve got a long day ahead of you out on the water and you know that the weather can change in an instant. You walk a few steps out from your front door to the ocean’s edge, hop into your trusty kayak, and paddle over the water to the Bamfield Marine Station.
Living and working at Bamfield isn’t for everyone. The field station is situated in a remote community located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, hours away on a bumpy logging road from Port Alberni, and hours further from anywhere else. What it lacks in big city bustle, it makes up for in its natural charm and friendly community.
In many ways, the Bamfield Marine Station is a nature lover’s paradise. Located right in the heart of a relatively unspoiled west coast temperate rainforest, the scattered settlement of Bamfield is surrounded by a backdrop of tremendous natural beauty. In a landscape bursting with biodiversity and different landscapes, residents are only a short hike, paddle or dive away from seeing some amazing organisms. There’s a lot more going on than just sightseeing however. Every day, scientists at Bamfield are working to study the world in which they call home.
In its academic facilities, the Bamfield Marine Station is similar to many other university campuses. It has lecture halls, laboratories, student dormitories, and the variety of tools and equipment needed for biological research. There’s a tremendous amount of field research being done on a regular basis, with a fleet of boats that can be taken out to different sites all along the coast. Residents of the Bamfield Marine Station seemed well educated and always passionate about the natural world and the science behind it.
Again and again, when I asked people about their favourite part of living at the Bamfield Marine Station, I received the same reply: it’s the people. While it may be a small community, it’s very tightly knit. In a way, that should be no surprise. When you take a diverse group of people, all intensely passionate about science and the natural world, and allow them to work, live, and play together, it’s no wonder that lifelong friendships form.
Want to read more about life at the Bamfield Marine Station, or find out ways to get involved yourself?
Check out the links below:
http://bmscblog.wordpress.com/ – blog run by students and researchers at Bamfield
http://www.bridgetteclarkston.com/bamfield-british-columbia-awesome/ – “Why Bamfield, British Columbia is unique, awesome and you should go there”
http://www.bms.bc.ca/university.html – Study opportunities at Bamfield