Skip to content

Ocean Pathways

An immersive 3-month program for youth and young professionals, offering in-depth learning and engagement opportunities with oceanic and aquatic conservation efforts across Canada.

What is Ocean Pathways?

Ocean Pathways (formerly Direct Action) is an exciting program for immersive learning and professional mentorship with oceanic and aquatic conservation efforts across Canada. This national service-learning program connects Canadian youth and young professionals with experts in marine and aquatic conservation organizations, empowering them through experiences in conservation initiatives, adventurous opportunities for fieldwork, professional research projects, and educational and outreach programs.

The Ocean Pathways program places young people (ages 19-30) with government, not-for-profit, and grassroots organizations to participate in field-based and virtual conservation and communications projects. Each host organization welcomes one or more participants and provides them the opportunity to work closely with established scientists, researchers, communicators, and educators on aquatic and marine ecology and conservation projects. These 3-month full-time placements immerse youth in virtual, urban, or remote marine, coastal and watershed environments across Canada.

Youth receive coaching sessions and training by Ocean Pathways staff to build their capacity as ocean and freshwater leaders and to support them throughout their service-learning placements. Ocean Pathways will fund costs associated with travel, living expenses, training, and materials for each participant for the duration of the 3 months.

Ocean Pathways is responsible for recruiting and matching eligible youth candidates with a partner organization and arranging for related travel and accommodation.

Looking for the Direct Action program? Look no further!

We are excited to announce that our Direct Action program is now called Ocean Pathways! While our name may have changed, our mission to provide immersive learning and professional mentorship opportunities in ocean and aquatic conservation remains the same. The new name reflects our goal to guide youth towards a path of lifelong ocean protection and sustainability. We look forward to continuing to empower the next generation of ocean leaders through Ocean Pathways!

I joined this program because I wanted to be involved in my community and support local organizations that cared about conservation as much as I do. I knew that with any experience and opportunity I was given, it was going to be exceptional and there are no words to describe how amazing the OTCC truly is. This experience has definitely taught me to never be afraid to try something new, and to not be afraid to take chances and get involved in something you are truly passionate about.

Skylar Meik

2021 Ocean Pathways (Direct Action) alum - Ontario

I am so grateful this placement assisted me in my career search and provided me with a network of people who are all working towards a deeper understanding of our environment and the preservation of the species that live within it.

Sara Wolowich Brown

2021 Ocean Pathways (Direct Action) alum - Manitoba

Ready to take the plunge?

Apply now to the 2024-25 program year.

#OceanPathways #OceanDirectAction



Ocean Pathways is funded in part by Canada Service Corps, a national movement that empowers youth aged 15–30 to gain experience and build important skills while giving back to their community. Learn more at

Learn More

Join the mailing list

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive emails about events, news about ocean successes and issues, and opportunities to support us.

Help spread the word

Share this page on social media and help get the word out on ocean conservation