Ocean Wise is pleased to announce Nicole Straughan as our new Vice President, Youth and Education.
Nicole has a deep-rooted commitment to the ocean that started in her childhood on Canada’s West Coast, exploring tidepools and sailing the Salish Sea.
Nicole has been with Ocean Wise for 12 years, beginning as a summer camp educator and most recently, as Director of Ocean Bridge.
Throughout her career, Nicole has dedicated herself to advancing ocean literacy, empowering youth, and driving action for a thriving ocean. Her journey began as an educator, igniting a spark of curiosity and awareness in children, emphasizing the significance of our ocean and its delicate ecosystems. Recognizing the transformative power of education, she championed development of experiential education initiatives, blending ocean literacy with hands-on activities, enabling young learners to explore, discover, and connect with the wonders of the marine world.
Under her leadership, she developed and launched Ocean Wise’s national youth service-learning program, Ocean Bridge, in 2018. Since its inception, the program has grown from 40 youth annually to reach 240 youth and young professionals each year.
She also expanded Ocean Wise’s Vancouver-based two-week high school volunteer placements into a 10-month youth leadership program, Youth to Sea, which is currently active in five cities across Canada. She created the Ocean Pathways program to provide youth with non-traditional pathways to careers in ocean conservation. Under Nicole’s leadership, Ocean Wise youth has reached over 840 youth directly in the past five years and has engaged with over 100,000 people. Nicole played a lead role in the creation of Ocean Wise’s social justice committee and is passionate about creating pathways into ocean conservation for youths of diverse and varied backgrounds and lived experiences.
Nicole has a Bachelor of Science in Animal Biology and Business Management and a Masters degree in Environmental Education and Communication.