By Chris Porter
WildVision Edutainment brings the Oceans to Schools with an immersive experience featured on a whale-size inflatable screen. Edutainment is a phrase developed to ensure that students gain appreciation of educational material through being entertained. OceanWalls was inspired on this basis by myself, Christopher Porter.
I spent 25 years training whales and dolphins all over the world. I have watched millions of guests be entertained by the live animal displays and shows we would create. Today movies like CNN’s Blackfish bring up the issues that affect the animals themselves that struggle in zoos and aquariums. I trained Tilikum the whale and am featured in that movie. It was my relationship with him that caused me to leave the captive industry and find an alternative. OceanWalls is my solution, using technology to capture animals in the wild instead of nets. This display is an evolution of display that showcases the wonders of the WILD and to ensure animals like Tilikum get a chance to return back to it.
When I learned that the wild Southern Resident Killer Whales of BC are endangered, I had a change of heart to the value of the millions of dollars spent to maintain and acquire wild animals in the name of conservation. Playing a video game one day with my son Noah, I was amazed at the knowledge transferred to Noah through this fantasy game world.
I visualized a way to create the same type of immersive experience as gaming but using wild animal imagery captured using technology, not captivity. The concept of OceanWalls was born. In 2014 the prototype exhibit was launched at Hillside Shopping Centre.
OceanWalls in a HD interactive digital exhibit featuring the wild through imagery collected with technology. The content featured is from over 50 non-profits and individuals that share their wild content with OceanWalls. The display prominent in the food court allows thousands of visitors to enjoy the wild through this incredible sharing of content. As a prototype the exhibit has proven to be effective in engagement with the public. OceanWalls received the Canadian Gold Award for Cause Related Marketing by the International Council of Shopping Centers. With over millions of visits and hundreds of thousands of touch users, the digital exhibit has proven to be as an effective engaging exhibit equivalent to any captive pool.
With the success of the exhibit, I further expanded the wild vision to include schools. Follow the Pod School Tour was launched November 2016 visiting schools from the Okanagan all the way to Edmonton. Bringing an immersive experience through the use of our whale-size inflatable screen. At 26 feet wide it is the length of an adult male killer whale and gives the students an amazing understanding of the immense size and importance of these animals.
The school tour includes a teacher’s kit as well as access to our O.R.C.A. Rangers Newsletter, a kids club dedicated to supporting wild orcas. The show educates the audience on the Southern Resident Killer Whales that live in the Salish Sea off of BC. Now at only 78, the last three resident pods need as much attention and support for their own survival. These same animals numbered at one time over 160 but many were removed to be showcased in aquariums in the name of conservation.
The uniqueness of each killer whale is discussed based on the dorsal fin and saddle patch of the animals. Giving the students the insight into how scientists are able to create the family charts of these last remaining Southern Resident Killer Whales of BC.
The presentation finishes with an amazing collection of video content talking the students from the surface of the water through the depths of the oceans and finishing staring into the eye of a wild killer whale underwater!
Students, Parents, Teachers, Principals and School Trustees have remarked on the incredible content featured and the importance of the water conservation message for the preservation of natural salmon habitat that is received while discussing the Orcas. The one hour show features interactive student participation as well as questions and answer period. It was amazing to see the incredible knowledge known about the oceans despite on average 40% of the students in the schools have never seen the ocean.
It has been incredible to see the great work being done in our schools to educate our children on the importance of wild conservation. Collectively working together in our skills and passion for conservation we will ensure that we make a difference for the remaining Southern Resident Killer Whales.
Any organization can easily submit their content to be displayed on the OceanWalls Network simply by #OceanWalls in Social Media.
If you are interested in learning more about the OceanWalls School Tour or receiving our Teacher’s Kit for your own use do not hesitate to contact me.
Thanks Every One for Being OrcaSafe!
Chris Porter Sea-E-O
WildVision Edutainment inc.
Founder O.R.C.A. – Orca Rescue Conservancy Association
“Captivating People, Keeping the Wild Free!