Presenting in Smithers

Hello BIObus blog passengers, my name is Martin Zlatkin, and I will be one of your guides for this half of the summer. You may remember me from last year’s BIObus trip when we ventured to the east coast of Canada and visited several national parks. I’m a big fan of traveling and I have the passport to prove it. I’ve been to lots of exotic places and drastically different environments. I’ve eaten some interesting things and have lived to tell the tale. Although I may not be in the most exotic environment this summer I’m still more excited than I’ve ever been. Ever since I was a kid I always wanted to travel north to the territories of Canada and this summer is my lucky summer. I’ve been told that the sun sets later than 11:00 in the evening in the Yukon and I’m more than excited to experience such a drastic change in my daytime schedule. I hope you will enjoy reading my blogs because I sure do enjoy writing them. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry and along the way we’ll learn a few things but first we’ll start off with what happened today in Smithers, British Columbia.

The Old Church in Smithers, British Columbia with the BIObus peeking around the corner.
The Old Church in Smithers, British Columbia with the BIObus peeking around the corner.

Today in Smithers we put on a presentation at the Old Church about the BIObus and what we’re doing. It was very successful to say the least. We had at least 25 people attend our presentation and people were very interested in what we had to say. People even brought in some insects that they caught themselves in their own back yard. I was happily surprised with the amount of information people already knew about genetics and the environment. Lots of good questions were asked. Afterwards a few parents brought their children to see our insect displays and the bus itself. Needless to say, the children were enthralled by our collection and even more fascinated once we brought out the sweep nets and taught them how to sweep the grass. They were practically climbing over themselves to get a better look in our sweep nets. But before we began our presentation I asked some of the locals about Smithers itself to get a better idea about the history of this 5000 person town and I was very impressed with the knowledge of the residence.

The local children practicing their sweeping around the Old Church.
The local children practicing their sweeping around the Old Church.

Smithers is a town located closely to the center of British Columbia, it’s considered the half-way point between Prince George and Prince Rupert. It was for this reason it was founded as the regional headquarters for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and was named after the railway’s chairman of the board of directors, Sir Alfred Smithers. Interestingly enough, before this even happened, the railway station was actually going to be built closer to the town of Telkwa but because of a land owner not getting the amount of money he wanted the railway station was built where it is now and the town of Smithers was born. I also found out that last year was the 100th birthday of Smithers and the great granddaughter of Sir Alfred Smithers came down to take part in the celebrations. All and all I was very impressed with the town of Smithers and I would be very excited to come back and explore the town some more. This has been your guide on the BIObus, see you next week!

–          Martin Zlatkin

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