The mission of the Nanaimo Science and Sustainability Society (NS3) is to inspire children and develop their interest in science and sustainability through hands-on learning. Key to this mission is conducting community outreach through our educational programs, and building an interactive Science Centre for the central Vancouver Island region – a destination attraction where families, kids, retirees, teachers, schools and tourists will have fun playing in hands-on exhibits, questioning how things work, discovering the science behind sustainability practices, and imagining the wonders of the natural world.
The NS3’s future goals are simple:
i) continue to offer quality interactive science opportunities to families;
ii) increase both the number of schools and school districts participating in our outreach programs;
iii) continue operating NS3’s Science Studio — a small space for exhibit-based programming that will also serve as a base for our programs and act as an interim science centre; and
iv) build a permanent science centre in Nanaimo.
HISTORY OF THE NS3:
Since incorporating as a non-profit society in 2010, the NS3 has brought together environmental, educational, research, business, and recreational groups around our mission of science and sustainability education. During the first years of the society, NS3 conducted initial research for NS3’s business plan on the feasibility of a science centre in central Vancouver Island. This research included an analysis of the Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats of a science centre (SWOT), a market analysis of potential customers, and initial financial projections. From these initial findings, the NS3 realized that there is a market for a science centre in central Vancouver Island and that the NS3 would move forward towards realizing our long-term goal of a science centre for central Vancouver Island.
Since completing the business plan, NS3’s path moving forward has generally consisted of: i) engaging local stakeholders/partners with vision and knowledge mobilization;
ii) exploring options for a suitable location for the centre;
iii) conducting a feasibility study complete with financial projections and space programming; and
v) developing/delivering outreach programs (with local partners) that provide fun activities for families and increase community support for the NS3. Below is a list of important milestones reached by the NS3 since incorporation:
- Incorporated as non-profit society.
- Completed initial Business Plan, including market & feasibility analyses, and financial projections.
- Received “Approval in Principle” from Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission to develop a concept plan for a Science and Nature Centre in Bowen Park.
- Conducted a Vision Workshop with 25+ volunteer stakeholders to identify key programs and activities for the NS3’s science centre.
- Attained CRA status.
- Conducted a Knowledge Mobilization Workshop with 30+ local scientists and innovators to incorporate local knowledge into NS3’s Science in the Park outreach programs.
- Launched first outreach programs: Science in the Park. Science in the Park 2012 consisted of 36 programs at four local playgrounds; and the NS3 trained two VIU students, connected with 20+ volunteers, and reached 3000+ kids.
- Presented NS3’s concept plan for a science centre in Bowen Park to Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.
2013 (download NS3 2013 annual update as a pdf)
- Continued our summer outreach programs.
- Launched summer camps at VIU.
- Launched Wild Wings for Kids.
- Launched NS3’s Spooktacular Science Race.
- Launched our mobile science van which increased programming at community events and schools.
- Develop an early years program with Science World BC. Big Science for Little Hands: Community connections (in publication).
- Launched Trashed to Treasure.
2014 (download NS3 2014 annual update as a pdf)
- Continued our summer outreach programs.
- Expanded NS3’s summer camps at VIU.
- Ran NS3’s 2nd annual Wild Wings for Kids event and NS3’s 2nd annual Spooktacular Science Race.
- Expanded our Science on the Move programs to include in-school and after school programming.
- Launched Science Saturday Workshops.
- Piloted NS3’s Citizen Science project with VIU and DFO scientists.
- Secured lease (IN DECEMBER OF 2014) from SD 68 to rent unused classroom space in Departure Bay elementary school for NS3’s interim science centre — NS3’S SCIENCE STUDIO!