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Beneath the sand: The Natural Capital Beaches Exhibition
Time: 2013-04-10    BY Roxanne Toronto   From: Emily Carr University   Clicks: 4260
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Vancouver, CAN, April 8, 2013 | Students in Emily Carr’s Community Projects course, in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation, and in collaboration with the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCADU), launch an interactive community mapping and storytelling project today.

The Natural Capital Beaches Exhibit, which runs until August 2013, opens tonight from 6 - 9 pm at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery and features guest speakers, screenings and an artist talk.

The project is the second in a series of collaborations that focuses on natural capital, the economic, non-market value of services provided by nature. It includes a series of eight digital narratives that bring to life research by the Foundation on the value of the Lower Mainland’s natural water areas. The study estimates that the region’s wetlands, beaches and coastal areas provide at least $30 billion in economic benefits to residents every year.

"The goal of the project is to awaken and teach our community to value the aquatic benefits of BC’s Lower Mainland beaches, and, to teach them about possibilities we can create together," says instructor (and alumna) Sarah Van Borek, Faculty of Culture + Community.

Students from a range of disciplines worked together, applying their skills to help the Foundation engage the public to view the nature that surrounds our urban environment in a completely different way: through economic analysis that demonstrates the high value of intact ecosystems for services such as water filtration and carbon sequestration.

"We love what the students are doing," said Michelle Molnar, Environmental Economist and Policy Analyst with the Foundation. "They’ve animated our research and provided a way for our local community to recognize the bounty of natural wealth we have in our backyards."

Narratives feature stories from diverse community members who, by sharing their unique relationships and/or expertise, highlight the priceless and often lesser known ecosystem services (ie. flood control, habitat, spiritual, educational and cultural) that these beaches provide. The videos are integrated into the Natural Capital Map Application, on the Foundation website.

The exhibit also offers visitors a virtual experience through a video installation with panoramic images and sound walks of the beaches. Interpretive signage includes a series of posters that were designed in collaboration with students from OCADU and illustrate the definitions and importance of ecosystem services provided by Lower Mainland beaches.

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