After a three-year interlude, the science-themed event known as BioScan will be held at the University of Saskatchewan on the weekend of Feb. 9 to 11, providing a variety of fun activities for children and engaging discussions for their guardians to enjoy.
BioScan is hosted in part by the department of biology, along with the student-run U of S Biology Club. Although the event focuses on science, and biology in particular, the organizers explain that all volunteers are invited to facilitate the event, regardless of whether or not they have a background in science.
As this is a triennial event, the organizers are relying on students from various colleges and programs to support the activities, as Ryan Rice, a thirdyear environmental biology student and co-president of the U of S Biology Club, explains.
“We’re trying to make it bigger than it usually is. Most of it is students in our department, but it would be good to open that up to students in other departments,” Rice said. “If there [are] any education students that want to come in and teach biology, then that’s good, too.”
BioScan will be held in the W. P. Thompson Building, more commonly known as the Biology Building, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on all three days. The organizers encourage any interested volunteers to register for participation through the event page online. Rice says that the minimum commitment for volunteers is three hours, and he notes that volunteer experience like this is an asset when applying to graduate programs.
Even though the event is only hosted once every three years, Michael Skinner, a final-year biology student and co-president of the U of S Biology Club, sees this as an opportunity to bring fresh ideas to the event and more autonomy to the organizers.
“It definitely feels like we are waiting out sight unseen, … but we are kind of excited at how much of an open playing field we have to work with. We can do whatever we want — we can make it exactly how we want to do it, and hopefully, make it as enjoyable as possible,” Skinner said.
As a new addition, the event this year will have a philanthropic aim. Katherine Fedoroff, a fifthyear environmental biology student and the socialmedia representative and photographer for the U of S Biology Club, explains that the club will accept donations to the SPCA in lieu of admission.
“I think [the] SPCA is a great organization, and they rely on donations. I often see boxes at pet stores for SPCA donations, and I thought maybe the Bio Club could set up their own, because a lot of people in biology really care about animals and they like to give back,” Fedoroff said.
The items requested by the SPCA for donation range from cat litter to durable dog toys, and even cleaning items like laundry detergent and bleach. Otherwise, admission to Bio- Scan is free for children 12 and under, $2 for children between the ages of 12 and 17, $5 for adults, $10 for families and $50 for school groups.
BioScan is set up to give individuals and families the choice to remain at a session or move on to the next one, depending on their own pace, Skinner says. Guardians have the option to stay with their child during their activity or join the sessions geared more towards adults.
While the activities for the event are still being finalized, Rice explains that the event will have a variety of rooms and activities for both children and adults.
“The rooms will be divided up into different types of animals — so there will be a reptile and amphibian room, there will be a fish room/water room, [and] there’s going to be an insect room and a plants room,” Rice said. “So, each room will be catered to a different interest, as far as animals go.”
Nykole King / News Editor
Photo: University of Saskatchewan Biology Club / Supplied