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Ocean Bridge Direct Action

Ocean Bridge Direct Action is an immersive program for youth that offers in-depth learning and engagement with oceanic and aquatic conservation efforts across Canada.

What Are Direct Action Placements?

The Ocean Bridge Direct Action Program provides youth with 3-month full-time service-learning placements that advance their ocean and freshwater conservation skillsets and professional experience. Youth also receive coaching sessions and certified training to build their capacity as ocean and freshwater leaders, supporting growth throughout their placements and into future careers in conservation. Some examples of Direct Action placements could include:

  • Assisting Ocean Wise researchers conducting marine mammal research and microplastics research;
  • Conducting research, field work and marine biodiversity analysis with the Howe Sound Research and Conservation team;
  • Supporting and learning from Indigenous led marine stewardship organizations;
  • Working with ocean researchers and conducting coastal fieldwork on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island;
  • Working with ecological research projects and scientists within National Marine Conservation Areas and Coastal Sites;
  • Remotely working on policy procedures for conservation areas and project development for environmental education programs;
  • Researching and producing wildlife and conservation films and photography for scientific communication and public engagement.

Recruitment Process

There is a three-part process to matching with a Ocean Bridge Direct Action placement:

  1. APPLICANT STAGE – You submit an application form and expression of interest to the Direct Action program. Applicants are then contacted by Direct Action staff for a short phone interview to ensure this program is the right fit for you.
  2. CANDIDATE STAGE – Direct Action staff and the host organization select a shortlist of eligible, available, and interested candidates for a placement. They are then invited to introductory meetings with the host and DA staff.
  3. PARTICIPANT STAGE – After the meeting, a selected candidate is offered a funded 3-month placement position. Upon candidate and partner confirmation, they become an official Direct Action participant and are provided the necessary paperwork and onboarding to the program.

Please note, placements start at different times of the program year, so candidates will be contacted on an ongoing basis throughout the year and invited to introductory meetings per the availability indicated in their application. We have a limited number of funded placements available, and if you were not matched with a placement in a particular year, you are welcome to reapply the following program year.

The experience was simply wonderful, and I can’t thank Direct Action enough for their support.

Simon Grieshaber-Otto

2021 Ocean Bridge Direct Action alum- British Columbia

Program Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 360 hours (30 hrs / week) of service during a continuous 3-month immersive field or virtual placement under the guidance of the host organization;
  • Engage in mentorship & coaching sessions every two weeks with Direct Action staff;
  • Attend a group online session at the end of the program experience;
  • Complete necessary training and certifications required to work within field placements (training hours count towards total service hours);
  • Engage and contribute to the online activities such as submitting blog posts, sharing experiences on social media, and participating in online discussions;

Who can participate?

Canadians or permanent residents aged 18 to 30 who are passionate about the ocean and waterways. No prior experience is necessary and people from all backgrounds and knowledge are welcome! We encourage everyone with different identities, abilities, talents, and interests to apply.

Our program is committed to creating an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment for all applicants, aligned with anti-racism and decolonization agendas.

The program covers expenses related to living expenses, accommodation, travel, materials and equipment, phone, internet, and professional development. We also have childcare subsidies up to $45/day during placements, and offer Homewood Health and Wellness services including consultants, therapists, articles, videos, and a whole library about various topics.

Education, research, and direct action are all needed to protect and conserve the environment, and that’s why this was an invaluable experience that will live with me for the rest of my life

Nikolay Senilov

2021 Ocean Bridge Direct Action alum- British Columbia

Frequently Asked Questions

What changes are being made to the Direct Action program due to COVID-19?

We are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation in Canada and are continuing with the Direct Action program placements as planned for summer 2022, while adapting the placements as needed to the changing context. We are continuing to work with our partners and hosts to organize 3-month placements with flexible start dates throughout 2022, so please keep us updated on your availability for this year (from May 2022 to October 2022 ) and we will update our approved candidate list as we proceed with the program. Virtual placements are also possible this year with Direct Action, where participants receive mentorship and guidance from professional researchers and host organizations to work on marine and aquatic conservation projects from home. In each case, Direct Action has funding to help cover all placement-related costs associated with living expenses, training and materials during the 3-month placement.

What is the time commitment for the Ocean Bridge Direct Action program?

Ocean Bridge Direct Action participants will complete a minimum of 360 hours of full-time (30 hrs / week) continuous service learning over a 2.5-to-3-month time period. Any training hours involved would count towards the 360-hour requirement. In the application form, please indicate which months during 2022 you will be available for a continuous 3-month window between May 2022 to October 2022 and we will do our best to match successful candidates with available placements. The program placements for 2022 year will take place over the summer and fall months, between May 2022 through October 2022. An example of a 3-month placement time window could be 30 hrs/week from July to September.

What kind of a placement or organization can I expect to be matched with?

The Ocean Bridge Direct Action staff team will match each youth participant with an available placement with a regional or national partner organization working on research projects related to marine and aquatic stewardship and ocean conservation. We have partnered with regional, provincial, and national level not-for-profit conservation organizations and government partners, as well as researchers and scientists within Ocean Wise, to develop placement opportunities in marine and aquatic conservation and stewardship, based in many different remote or rural communities across Canada. Virtual placements are also possible this year with Direct Action, where participants receive mentorship and guidance from professional researchers and host organizations to work on marine and aquatic conservation projects from home.

Will my placement be far from home?

Some placements are virtual, where service placements are completed from home. There is also the option for local placements, which would be completed from within your local community or region. Others are on-site, meaning that participants would travel from their home communities to the placement sites. Some participants can expect to be placed in communities close to marine environments, such as the Pacific and Atlantic Shores, along the St. Lawrence River, or beside the Great Lakes. As the COVID-19 situation continues to restrict travel, there may be more virtual and local placements for the 2022 program.

Do I get to choose where I'll be placed?

No, the Ocean Bridge Direct Action management team will be responsible for matching participants with the available placement opportunities. Information collected from both the participants and the partner organizations will be used to make the best matches for each placement.

Will this program cost me anything?

Ocean Bridge Direct Action will cover the expenses related to travel (to and from home communities and placement sites), training, placement material costs, food, and accommodation (up to allotted budget amounts). Youth participants will be given a stipend for food and other costs will be directly paid for by Ocean Bridge Direct Action.

Do you provide any kind of training or materials?

Ocean Bridge Direct Action will determine what training and materials are required for each placement and coordinate with the host organization, who will be responsible for delivering the training at the placement site. The training hours will be counted towards the total number of service hours required for the placement.

Will there be an orientation before the placement starts?

The Ocean Bridge Direct Action staff team will be in contact with every youth participant to organize the logistics of their placement, as well as provide mentorship and support through phone calls and emails prior to the start of the placement. Other relevant training will be provided at the placement sites by the partner organizations.

Where will I live during my placement?

Ocean Bridge Direct Action will organize and manage the housing and accommodations for on-site placements, with participants living in close proximity to their work site. If there are local travel expenses to and from the housing to the work site, Direct Action will cover those costs. For participants working virtually or within their home communities, Direct Action will offset the living expenses for participants, such as food and rental costs.

Is this program open for all Canadian youth?

This program is designed to be a low-barrier program for all Canadian youth aged 18-30 years old. We encourage people from all backgrounds and educational levels to apply. The 2022 cohort will be limited to 30 youth selected from across Canada. There is no minimum criteria for educational experience or research/ training qualifications needed for youth applicants. We do collect information about any qualifications or education within the Direct Action 2022 Application Form to best match the selected youth applications with their service placements.

Do I need to speak/read/write French?

Bilingual ability in speaking/reading/writing in French is not a requirement for applicants. However, the Ocean Bridge Direct Action program is a bilingual program and we have support capacity for native French speakers. We encourage people who have the ability to speak/read/write in French to apply since there will be opportunities for bilingual placements for the 2022 cohort.

I have dependent(s) that I look after, is there any support available for this?

Yes, there is a limited funding available for dependants of the selected youth applicants. If this funding is required, please contact directaction@ocean.org for further information.

What can I expect to learn during my placements?

Each placement will provide a diverse range of opportunities for youth participants to learn skills and gain experiences directly related to ocean conservation and marine and aquatic stewardship. Youth will be closely mentored by established scientists and researchers with partner organizations, and will also learn from direct immersion through work with coastal communities across Canada. Youth can expect to gain a broad professional development skillset related to community engagement, conducting ecological fieldwork, working with a research team, conservation and stewardship ethics and communicating their experiences. Youth will also receive coaching sessions from Ocean Bridge Direct Action staff and training from partner organizations to build their capacity as ocean leaders and support them throughout their service placements. The purpose of these coaching calls is to provide regular check-ins for the youth participants and any additional support from the staff team.

Will I get paid during my placement?

No, the Ocean Bridge Direct Action placements are service learning and educational placements. We are a low-barrier program designed to cover the costs for the participants to support their learning and provide opportunities for professional development in marine and aquatic conservation.

What happens after the placement is over?

Youth participants will be invited for post-program check-ins and fill out program surveys in order to collect their feedback on the program and their experience with it. Youth participants will also be encouraged to highlight their learning and professional development from their Ocean Bridge Direct Action placements on their future career paths.

Who can I turn to ask more questions now and during my placement?

Please contact the Ocean Bridge Direct Action staff team at directaction@ocean.org for more information, and we will respond as soon as possible before the placements begin and during the placements. We will conduct regular check-ins and mentorship phone calls will all of our youth participants to support them prior to and during their service placements. Youth participants can also directly ask their mentors associated with the host organizations within the sites for questions related to their placement work.

Still have questions?

Contact us at directaction@ocean.org or call us at 604-659-3885 for more information!

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