Canadian Marine Mammal Rescue Network
Ocean Voices (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Ocean Voices is our public seminar series where national and internationally recognized professors, researchers, artists and experts in marine mammology and the environment are brought to Toronto to increase awareness of current important issues affecting today's marine mammals.

International Expert on Stellar Sea Lions Visits OERS Dr. Andrew Trites - March 22, 2007

Dr Andrew Trites, a world renkown researcher on Steller sea lions, was invited by the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society and the University of Toronto’s Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology to present some of his work, give a lecture as part of the Marine Mammal 216 course and chat with students. Dr Trites is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia & Director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit and the Research Director of the North Pacific Universities Marine Mammal Research Consortium. Dr Trites has been studying North Pacific marine mammals for over 20 years and his current studies involve Stellar sea lions, Northern fur seals and Harbour seals.

His talk was entitled, The Decline and Fall of the Alaskan Pinniped Empire: Has the North Pacific Marine Ecosystem Collapsed? which explored the causes for the sudden decline in the numbers of Pinnipeds and how this decline would it would affect the overall ecological environment. As part of the Marine Mammal course, Dr Trites explained the various feeding and diving behaviours of Pinnipeds and following his lecture the students were invited to chat with and ask questions about his career.

Dr. Trites leads an undergraduate tutorial (ZOO216)

Climate Change & Marine Mammals - Mr Pieter Arend Folkens - March 18, 2006

Discussing a current and controversial topic from the viewpoint of the "radical middle," Pieter Arend Folkens, world renowned naturalist and illustrator, will address GlobalWarming and its implications for marine mammal survival. He is an author and illustrator of numerous publications including “The Guide to Marine Mammals of the World” and "The Human Bone Manual."

He is also a co-founding director of the Alaska Whale Foundation, captain, and central member of their water rescue/whale disentanglement team. He constructs life-sized sculptures of marine mammals and has designed cinematic cetaceans for films such as Star Trek IV, Flipper, Seaquest DSV, and the FreeWilly series to name a few.

Sherman's Lagoon - Mr Jim Toomey - September 29, 2001

Jim ToomeyMr Jim Toomey noted cartoonist and creator of Sherman's Lagoon visited with us and shared his experiences with Sherman the shark, Fillmore the turtle, Hawthorne the hermit crab, Megan the shark, Thornton the polar bear and the rest of the lagoonies. He also discussed some of his concerns regarding the ocean environment.

OERS volunteers hosted a booth in the foyer highlighting environmental issues. The event got started with socialising before the talk and then Jim enthralled the audience with the story of the creation of the now popular syndicated cartoon strip, Sherman's lagoon, published in over 200 newspapers in the world. This was then followed by a booksigning and a more one-on-one with Jim.

Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald - Dr Joseph MacInnis - January 13, 1998

Joe MacInnisDr. Joe MacInnis, world renowned deep-sea explorer/scientist & University of Toronto alumnus (Medicine 1964) and producer of the IMAX film TITANICA was the first to dive under the north pole. He was awarded the ORDER of CANADA and the QUEENS CENTENNIAL MEDAL. He is also author of: TITANIC: IN THE NEW LIGHT; FITZGERALD'S STORM: THE WRECK OF THE EDMUND FITZGERALD; UNDERWATER MAN and he was editor of SAVING THE OCEANS. Dr Joe gave a talk and read from his latest book on the Edmund Fitzgerald, which was followed by a book signing.

OERS volunteers hosted a booth in the foyer highlighting environmental issues. The event got started with socialising before the talk and then Dr. MacInnis enthralled the audience with the story of the Edmund Fitzgerald including a reading from his book. He also shared his interactions with some of the surviving family members of the crew. This was then followed by a book signing and a more one-on-one with Dr. MacInnis.

The Beluga's Future - Ms Cathy Kinsman & Dr Pierre Beland - November 28, 1998

Ms. Cathy Kinsman, is the founder/director of the Whale Stewardship Project whose mission is to foster and promote responsible coexistence with wild whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. The night began with Cathy Kinsman sharing with the audience the story of Wilma the lone beluga whale that decided to make Chedabucto Bay, Nova Scotia her home and adopt the local humans as her "family".

As described by Cathy, this charming relationship took a turn when tourists began to hear about this and visits by them to see Wilma became a profitable business. Without restrictions, this put Wilma at risk and some, like Cathy Kinsman, began to voice concern. She formed a Foundation and began fundraising to pay a Steward to try to look out for Wilma during the peak tourist season. Cathy then showed her video on the story of Wilma.

This was followed by Dr. Pierre Beland, a world renown expert on beluga whales who discovered the horrible truth behind the deaths of the St. Lawrence belugas. He is a senior research scientist with the St. Lawrence National Institute of Ecotoxicology and has published over 60 articles. He also wrote a book about his experiences: "Beluga-A Farewell to Whales".

He spoke to the plight of the beluga's in the St Laurence river. As described by him the long standing pollution of the river has exacted its toll on these noble creatures affecting all aspects of their lives to the point that they are seriously threatened. He described the very high levels of pollutants found in tissue samples he had taken from free ranging belugas and shared his expertise with us on all aspects of this dilemma.

Following a lively audience question and answer period the session was adjourned to a more informal mingling and book signing.

Information Projects

OERS at the Wyland Wall

Date: July 1999
Location: Redpath Sugar Refinery, Toronto, Canada

OERS was there at the dedication of the Wyland wall, and met with Wyland himself (picture)

Waterfront Development Proposal

Date: October 2000
Location: Harborfront, Toronto, Canada

OERS created a poster proposal for a marine mammal sanctuary and parks area at the Toronto harborfront. This poster has been displayed by the Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) on numerous other occasions since, including 2 occasions at the Ballenfords Books on Architecture (February & March) and then at the Annual Convention of the Ontario Association of Architects (May). It was also forwarded as part of a portfolio to Paul Bedford, Planning Commissioner for the city of Toronto as a contribution to the ongoing discussions related to the future of the Toronto waterfront.

Public Activities
Beach Clean-up

On July 9, 2004 OERS volunteers visited Long Point Provincial beach and conducted a small beach cleanup. Throughout the day, plastic and other debris was found strewn along the entire length of the beach. This included colorful deflated party balloons, ribbon and other nylon strings, all of which could have been quite dangerous to birds and other animals within the area. Together the volunteers collected over 2.25 pounds of this material. Clearly even a modest amount of such dangerous debris needs to be regularly removed from our wild environment least it be the source of health problems for our innocent wildlife.

OERS December Holiday Gift & Bake Sale

Date: December 9, 2003
Location: University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Bldg, Stone Lobby; 1 King's College Circle, Toronto.
Details: Everyone needs a little sweetness in their lives, so drop by and pick up some yummy homemade pies, cookies, brownies and other delights to tempt the taste buds. We will also have something for the calorie conscious. Also gift giving is always foremost in everyone's mind and we can make that so stress free..the OERS boutique will have a selection of the greatest marine theme t-shirts, and stuffed marine mammal friends just waiting for you to buy them...and you get to support a great charity in the process...can holiday giving get any better!!! We appreciate your business and all proceeds will go to support OERS mandates to establish a Canada wide Marine Animal Rescue Network and public education of the marine environment.

Etobicoke Dive Meeting & SWAP Show

In April 1998, OERS manned a booth at the local Ectobicoke Dive Show, Ectobicoke, Ontario Canada, providing key information to the public on environmental issues such as pollution, environmental disasters and how we can help. A lecture was also given by the President, Mr Michael P Belanger about the state of the worlds' oceans.

Underwater Canada Booth

October 26-28, 2001: The Oceanographic Environmental Research Society once again had a booth at the Underwater Canada Show, International Plaza Hotel, Toronto Ontario Canada. This display was expanded to include a display on sharks and various other marine mammals, a hands on display was a great hit, with adults and children alike, allowing them the opportunity to touch and hold skulls and teeth. We also had a sample from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska and had volunteers discuss such issues and our recently created short video A Marine Mammals in Crisis was also a large hit. The OERS booth was very popular and the event attracted more than 3500 attendees.

March 1998: The Oceanographic Environmental Research Society staffed a booth at the Underwater Canada Show, Toronto, Ontario Canada; providing key information to the public on environmental issues such as pollution, environmental disasters and how we can help. This event attracted more than 6500 attendees.


2007 Annual Halloween Bakesale

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! This year’s annual OERS Halloween Bake Sale was held on October 30th at the University of Toronto. It was a huge success! All the donations and sales from this event will go to help start up the new OERS initiative: ODARN.


A huge thank you to all the OERS volunteers who spent countless hours baking and selling. The creativity in the kitchen was incredible this year. We had a plethora of goodies including finger-cookies, cinnamon buns, rice crispy squares, oatmeal raisin and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, caramel candy, apple walnut muffins, vanilla with chocolate swirl muffins, vanilla cupcakes/ chocolate cupcakes and vanilla and chocolate cakes frosted to perfection. Our tables were decorated in true Halloween fashion. We even sold some of the decorations!

Our OERS blue board featuring OERS’ new initiative ODARN was noticed by many people. We had many donations from many people, most of which expressed a great interest and support for OERS and its initiatives.

Great job guys and next up our annual Christmas Bake Sale! See you all there!

- Luke Tan, Bake Sale Chair

The 1st Annual OERS Book Sale- A BIG Success!!!

OERS held its 1st ever annual book sale on September 22nd/07 which turned out to be a surprising success. Most of the books came from the collection of the OERS President Mike Belanger and had 5 tables overflowing with books- offering a wide variety of topics including nautical, boating, historical, scuba diving, science fiction and others. Numerous OERS volunteers were on hand to make sure that the tables were continuously stocked with books and were going to  new homes! The proceeds of this sale will be going towards the Ontario Disaster Animal Response Network or ODARN. ODARN is a recent OERS initiative which will organize various groups into a network of teams across Ontario who will respond during disasters to rescue and help care for animals (pets, livestock and wildlife). There was an educational poster making people aware of ODARN and how it will prevent the unnecessary suffering of animals during any emergency or disaster here in Ontario.

OERS President Mike Belanger was extremely pleased and happy at the enthusiasm of OERS volunteers who were on hand to help out.  “Our volunteers are a fine example of how people can make huge contributions to society through simple efforts. I would like to thank and commend every volunteer who was on hand and who contributed to making this book sale another big success for OERS!”  Monica Lam, a recent OERS member and volunteer, donated a copy of the recent Harry Potter book- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- which was the prize given to people who bought a raffle ticket. Enthusiastic ticket sales on the part of Carin Wittnich (OERS Vice President) and Luke Tan (a recent OERS member) made sure that the successful outcome of the book sale was never in doubt.

Ice Cream for OERS - A Swimming Success!

Ice Cream for OERSDespite the non-summer like conditions on Monday July 10, 2006, OERS volunteers were not deterred by the pouring rain.  They pulled on their galoches and made the first summer ice cream and book sale a swimming success!  With a diverse library OERS sold a variety of ‘new-to-you’ books accompanied by an assortment of ice cream sandwiches, bars and cones.

OERS would like to thank their generous supporters who appreciate a new book and have a sweet tooth for ice cream!

OERS Valentine's Day Bakesale

This year’s first ever Valentine’s Day Bake sale was a huge hit! With so many yummies for your tummies to choose from. A big special thank-you goes out to all the OERS volunteers who spent DAYS baking creative home-made goodies like chocolate cupcakes covered in heart-shaped-homemade icing, ginger-bread cookies in the shapes of dolphins, lobsters, even a snorkeling-gingerbread man and other water-dwelling creatures, banana-bread, cinnamon rolls that scented the hallways, chocolate biscotti, vanilla cake smothered in lemon-icing, mmmmhhh…. the list goes on and on.

For those lucky people living in the Toronto region, pre-orders were taken and delivered to their homes! Wow, you would wish every day was Valentine’s Day!! The bake sale also included a gift/craft table where cute and cuddly marine animal plush toys were sold to a number of significant others, hand-made jewelry (with an oceanographic theme of course!) for the special ladies, and cards featuring artwork created by a popular artist in the OERS family to send out “I love you” messages on Valentine’s Day.

Of course, our education table featuring the latest OERS activities turned many heads in the hallway. Feedback from the public told us that they like the “touchy-feely” table and they walk away with not only a grateful belly, but also with a new appreciation for marine mammals and their habitat.

Here’s to more successful and yummy bakesales!!

-- Nesime Askin, Bake sale Chair

Special Environmental Days

Earth Day (April 22)

Volunteer Week (April 23-27)

Environmental Awareness Day (April 27)

Animal Health Week (May 6-10)

National Environmental Week (June 3-9)

World Environment Day (June 5)

Clear Air Day (June 6)

Ocean Day (June 8)

World Pets Day (Oct 4)




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