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Kids learn about habitat with banners

Project promoting Coho Festival also an educational opportunity
Two of the Coho festival banners on display on Marine Drive at Bewicke in North Vancouver.

New street banners have popped up along two major North Shore thoroughfares that aim to remind commuters that wildlife also travels through the area.

More than 200 colourful banners promoting the upcoming Coho Salmon Festival were installed this week on Marine Drive and Main Street in North and West Vancouver. But the signage is more than just a tool to publicize the Coho Society of the North Shore's Sept. 7 event at Ambleside Park. The lamppost banners also served as an educational exercise for the kids who created them.

Hundreds of schoolchildren participated in a series of workshops developed by the North Shore Streamkeepers in collaboration with the Salmonid Enhancement Program and Artists for Kids that saw students in grades 4 to 7 go on field trips to salmon-bearing streams and creeks.

"They're not only noticing all the different kinds of wildlife - like salmon, like eagles, like all the different birds and plants that also are living in our communities - but they're also looking at how we can interact with them," says local artist and North Shore Streamkeepers volunteer Ron den Daas, who helped facilitate the workshops.

After visiting these wildlife habitats, the kids discussed urban and wild co-existence and were tasked with visualizing their thoughts.

"If you look at the banner designs, you can see the excitement and some of the ideas that the kids got out of these workshops," says den Daas. "Many different drawings are sort of collaged together to make these landscapes that are exploring the idea of protecting our wild communities within our urban context."

In addition to images of mountains, fish, storm drains and high-rises, the banners also identify local salmon-bearing rivers and creeks with both their Coast Salish and English names.

This year's inaugural banner project was funded by the Pacific Salmon Foundation, the City of North Vancouver, Marcon Developments and North Shore Streamkeepers.

When the banners are removed post-festival, they will be available for purchase through Artists for Kids and the Coho Society of the North Shore. Funds raised will be put toward future Coho Salmon Festival banner projects.

For more information about this year's festival, visit