Set sail with Science

Ten thousand years ago a boat tour of Okanagan Lake might have included looking around the shorelines of Shuswap and Kalamalka Lakes. While the receding glaciers finally left the lakes separated, there’s lots to learn about what is in, on, under, above and around Okanagan Lake.

The Set Sail with Science Dinner Tour on The Spirit of the Okanagan sponsored by the Okanagan Science Centre brings together three scientists, Dr. Anna Warwick Sears, Dr. Buffy Baumbrough and Kevin Aschenmeier, resident scientist at the centre, to answer questions about the lake.

“The lake is so much a part of the valley and it has so much to teach us, so what better place to learn than right on the lake with the experts,” said Sandi Dixon, manager of the Okanagan Science Centre.

Captain Dick McLean and his wife, Carole, owners of The Spirit of the Okanagan and Cruise Okanagan which does scheduled trips and charters on the lake, are happy to welcome the scientists on board.

“We get a lot of questions from our guests so now we can learn more answers for them,” said Carole McLean.

Okanagan Lake was left when the three-kilometre-thick Fraser Glacier retreated.

“We are going to cover a lot of water on this cruise,” said Warwick, a population biologist who now concentrates on the science of water as executive director of the Okanagan Water Basin Board.

The board does scientific studies to provide information for the authorities which make decisions about water usage in the area.

“We’ll talk about the importance of the lake in this semi-arid environment, how we use the water, the water quality and the fish, birds and animals along the shore line, even the Ogopogo. I’ll leave it to Dr. Baumbrough to answer more of the biology questions.”

Aschenmeier will speak about the geology, geography and natural history of the lake. There will be a chance to ask questions.

“This is a different way to see the lake and learn about it with these scientists with their different specialties,” said Dixon.

The Set Sail with Science Dinner Tour takes place Aug. 14 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $55 each and include a barbecue (steak and alternatives) dinner served on china and white linen, with a cash bar and dessert available. Tickets are limited, available at the Okanagan Science Centre or by calling 545-3644. The Okanagan Science Centre is a non-profit, charitable organization whose mission is to “inspire scientific inquiry through dynamic and interactive educational programs and exhibits; to encourage children and adults to appreciate the relevance and universality of science and its application in the Okanagan.”