Tide Pool School at Oak Bay’s Kitty Islet draws in dozens of families

Connor Laing, 6, holds up one of the creatures he found in the waters at Kitty Islet in Oak Bay on Saturday for the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)
Eight-year-old Evan Burn, alongside three friends, carefully watches the water for marine life at Kitty Islet in Oak Bay during the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)
Dozens of families converged on Kitty Islet in Oak Bay on Saturday for the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)
Daniel (left) and Dylan Myers, both nine years old, show off a crab they found in Kitty Islet in Oak Bay, during the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School on Saturday. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)
Two-year-old Cassie Hall happily poses for a photo. She was one of dozens of kids taking part in the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School at Kitty Islet in Oak Bay on Saturday. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)
Tina Kelly, director of learning at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea, provided some expert lessons while volunteering at the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School at Kitty Islet in Oak Bay. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)
Two-year-old Beau Coulter provides direction to his mother, Lindsay Coulter, as they search for marine life in the water of Kitty Islet in Oak Bay, during the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)
Three-year-old Harrison Walker (left) and his sister, eight-year-old Frances Walker, spent part of the day Saturday with their grammie, Ruth Hall, learning about marine life at Kitty Islet in Oak Bay, during the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)
Asher Lore, 3, inspects his find from the waters at Kitty Islet in Oak Bay during the Friends of Uplands Park’s Tide Pool School. (Kevin Menz/News Staff)

Dozens of families converged on Oak Bay’s Kitty Islet on Saturday for an opportunity to learn about the local marine life.

The Friends of Uplands Park Society — with help from volunteers, including Tina Kelly, director of learning at the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea — hosted Tide Pool School.

“We’re down here today to introduce this absolutely fabulous ecosystem to people that may have been here before or never been here before, because it’s one of the best places to go and look at how many different adaptations that animals and plants have to solve the challenges of this area,” said Margaret Lidkea, the FOUP Society’s president and the event’s organizer.

The goal: to promote environmental protection through education.

“This is an urban area, and when people come down here, they need to know how they can have the smallest footprint possible,” Lidkea said.

The event featured a tent where participants — of nearly every age — could observe a few of the larger specimens, as well as the opportunity for participants to grab a small net and a container to better explore the creatures living on the islet.

No one was allowed to take anything — including rocks and shells — home, which was part of the lesson, according to Lidkea. Rocks provide valuable hiding spots for several animals. Shells are used by hermit crabs; break down into soluble calcium, which creatures use to create shells; and often include attached barnacles, which Lidkea said can die when brought home.

The event was held between 11 and 12:30, during the day’s low tide.

READ ALSO: Free kids’ nature walks offer crabs, marine beasties and Canada’s largest marine snail


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