BY MARYSSA MCFADDEN
Sometimes life gets hectic and people can often forget about the lives of the other beings we share the world with. Yet, through the hustle and bustle of everyday life comes a new interactive exhibit at the Waterloo Region Museum to remind us all, not only about the millions of creatures in our communities, but also how our everyday actions can help or destroy them.
Every year from January to April a travelling exhibit comes to the Waterloo Region Museum. This year they are featuring Ocean Bound!, an interactive exhibit for all ages which takes visitors on a journey from where our water comes from and how our actions on land affect the beings who thrive in the ocean.
Not only will visitors learn about the threats to water, the exhibit also helps to empower people to change their habits and aid in the long-term solution to protect the important resources in the local community and the rest of the world.
“Water is part of our lives, and we often take it for granted, but the exhibit helps you understand a bit more of the complexity of the natural and man-made systems involved,” said James Jensen, curator of exhibits at the museum.
Though the exhibit was first created in Ithaca, N.Y., the Waterloo Region Museum developed some 3D designs and activities with the help of graduate students from the University of Waterloo.
Ocean Bound! also features many engaging, educational activities for students and families. One of these allows visitors to make a display rain in order to follow the flow of natural water through the earth and give us the vital resource of water.
Another part of the exhibit allows visitors to drive a submarine which simulates travel through rivers and oceans.
There are also giant sea creatures fashioned out of used water bottles in order to highlight the negative impacts of bottled water on the aquatic environment.
Jensen said many people are unaware of how dangerous bottled water is to the world’s water supply.
“If you throw something into the river upstream of Elmira it could end up in the middle of the Atlantic, doing harm to aquatic life. Thinking in these terms – long term impacts at great distances from where you live – is not something we are good at in a day-to-day sense. This exhibit helps people think about that in a fun, engaging way, while still being true to the seriousness of the topic,” he said.
The museum staff hope the exhibit opens people’s eyes to the simple lifestyle changes they can make to conserve the world’s water.
If Nicole Goddard is any indication, the exhibit is a success.
“I liked the sea creatures best,” said Goddard, a Conestoga protection/security and investigation student. “We always hear how water bottles are bad for the environment, but seeing how much water bottles add up really opens your eyes.”
She added by reducing or eliminating our use of water bottles we can help out both our land and water environments.
The Ocean Bound! exhibit will be on display at the Waterloo Region Museum until May 10.