Nanaimo Science, a non-profit agency, is headquartered at Country Club Centre, with their mobile science vans filled with everything science brought directly to the kids.
For the past eight years, the programs have been coordinated through Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools for grades two, five, and six. They also work with teachers to coordinate special field trips, or go into classrooms to teach things like coding and computer programming, as well as provide support for home-schooled students.
Parker said having a second van allows them to offer dual programs in different locations, with their new cargo van making it easier to bring some of their heavier equipment.
“Things like whole classroom sets of digital microscopes which are fairly delicate so we want to make sure they are transported properly. We’ve gone to the beach with grade five students in the spring and summer…checking out how many invasive species of clams are at Departure Bay Beach.”
The vans have been in use during the summer months for their Science in the Park series, where free programs for the public at green spaces were conducted, attracting around 2,000 people.
“We’ve seen some kids grow up through our program, we’ve seen them go into high school and are now pursuing science outside of Nanaimo Science on their own, learning about programming, thinking about University, so that’s been quite neat to see .”
When Nanaimo Science first launched it was focused mainly on the Nanaimo area, but has since expanded to the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area, Ladysmith, and even held a program out on Thetis Island this spring.
Their summer programs have attracted almost 400 kids this year alone.
The purchase of the two new vans was made possible by a $20,000 donation from the Mid Island Co-Op, whose continued donations have helped keep the Nanaimo Science vans on the road.
More information on Nanaimo Science and the programs they offer can be found here at their website, nanaimoscience.org.
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