Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) innovative ‘buy-a-bone-to-raise-a-whale’ campaign is sold out but public support is still needed to create a permanent educational exhibit at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station.
“We’re ecstatic and truly overwhelmed at the public enthusiasm towards this project,” says Brian Kingzett, manager of VIU’s Deep Bay Marine Field Station. “All 156 whale bones have been sponsored and we’ve raised $67,000 thanks to the generous support of individuals and businesses in our community.
“Our staff and volunteers are hard at work preparing the final exhibit, but we need to raise another $8,000 to complete it by March. The exhibit will feature a 35-foot grey whale skeleton hanging over the stairwell of the Field Station. It will be the highlight of our marine science public education program.”
If anyone would like to get involved or make a contribution, please contact Brian.Kingzett@viu.ca.
Certificates of ‘bone ownership’ signed by VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson are being mailed to all donors who purchased bones and supported the online campaign. Nanaimo dentist Rob Wolanski, a member of the VIU Foundation Board, purchased two lumbar vertebrae and one thoracic vertebrae to show his support for the project.
“I wanted the whale’s jaw bone but it was already sold,” says Wolanski, who works at Vancouver Island Implant Centre in Nanaimo. “When I heard there were three bones left, I thought why not? I bought them all because I know how hard it is to sell the last few items in any fundraising campaign. I also know how many people have volunteered their time in order to leave a legacy for future generations. This truly is a fantastic project.”
Launched by the VIU Foundation and Deep Bay Marine Field Station last spring, the raise-a-whale campaign received a major boost when the Underwater Harvesters Association (UHA) became a lead donor by making a $10,000 gift to the project.
— Submitted by VIU