Mossom welcomes visitors from China

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Tricity News: Mossom Creek hatchery welcomes visitors from a university in Northern China

(Diane Strandberg – Tri City News – August 14, 2015)

Back home in northeastern China, Amy Jiang and Nancy Wang teach tourism and English at Yanbian University.

But while in Port Moody last week they were bug detectives.

The two were among 16 university instructors taking part in an SFU professional development program and the hatchery visit was an opportunity to learn about the environment, Canadian culture, and teaching strategies for use back home.

After hiking up to Mossom Creek hatchery with educator Ruth Foster, the group learned about the salmon life cycle, studied the parts of leaves with a magnifying glass, contributed to a group poem about the forest and scooped and identified insects from the creek.

“There is only theory, no experience in teaching courses like that,” said Jiang, who plans to introduce a segment on eco-tourism to her students when she returns to China.

She and Wang were excited to get up close with nature. They have forests and mountains back home in Jilin Province which is located near Russia and Korea, but they are difficult to get to.

The two say concern about the environment is growing in China and learning about the salmon-bearing creek has been inspiring.

As university instructors, all the visitors spoke English so no translator was necessary, and all were game for wading through the creek to collect bugs to study.

At one point they were so moved by Foster’s description of community efforts to rebuild the hatchery after a fire, that several in the group pulled Canadian money out of their wallets and handed it to her for educational materials.  In all $380 was collected, which came as a surprise to Foster.

“They have been very engaged. They are fascinated by the whole process. They don’t have such dense forests there,” said Foster, who added that reaching out to international groups is part of Mossom’s strategy to encourage environmental education and understanding.

Shirley Nan, who was the group leader, said many of the teaching strategies Foster used could be employed back at the university to expand knowledge, especially in environmental awareness and English language vocabulary.
“I want to talk about nature and ways to protect the environment,” said Nan, who is an English linguistics teacher.

Burrard Inlet Marine Enhancement Society, of which Foster is a director, plans to expand educational programing and tours at the hatchery. For more information, email

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