Vancouver, B.C. — A new national youth program from Ocean Wise®, called Ocean Bridge, is bringing together 40 young Canadians (ages 18-30) and this week kicked off its next phase: a national dialogue about how we can better serve our oceans and our communities. Ocean Bridge is a National Partner in the Canada Service Corps, a Government of Canada initiative that focuses on community service by young Canadians.
Ocean Bridge participants represent a cross-section of Canada’s youth and include individuals from eight provinces and three territories. The 40 youth will soon connect for the first time via video conference as they begin the year-long program to co-create community service projects for urban and wilderness settings with an aim to improve ocean health through hands-on efforts.
“We were inspired by the number of motivated young Canadians that applied to take part in this first year of Ocean Bridge, an Ocean Wise initiative. From coast to coast to coast we heard from true ocean champions and this group of 40 will undoubtedly have a lasting impact on the communities where they live and beyond,” said James Bartram, vice-president of education and youth, Ocean Wise. “The Ocean Bridge youth come from a variety of backgrounds, from photography to health sciences to marine biology. Like Canada, they are diverse but what connects them all is a shared passion to protect our oceans for their generation and future ones.”
The Ocean Bridge team consists of young Canadians from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, as well as Nunavut, Yukon and the Northwest Territories. They will focus not just on their respective towns, cities or regions with localized service, but also on broader opportunities. Beginning this week, the team will connect virtually on a weekly basis to discuss topics such as climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution, and then build creative ideas to activate conservation work close to home.
In May, the youth group will be travelling to Haida Gwaii and in the coming weeks will begin to develop a plan for a service project on the ground there. The Ocean Bridge cohort will visit Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, an area known for its living Haida culture and as a place protected from mountaintop to sea floor. Gwaii Haanas is a world leader in cooperative management between the Haida Nation and Government of Canada which makes it an ideal place for the group to visit as they plan their first wilderness service project with guidance from local communities. They will also do a similar trip to Vancouver this fall, where they will develop a community service project for an urban setting. This first trip will focus on ocean health, while the trip later in the year will focus on Ocean Literacy.
These ocean ambassadors have access to a multilingual online platform, as well as resources using the principles of Ocean Literacy, and will receive individual coaching from Ocean Bridge staff.
As part of their service, participants will also mentor 15- to 17- year-old olds in schools and youth groups to provide guidance and encouragement on ways they may contribute to their local communities.
Ocean Bridge is a multi-year program, and in 2019, a new group of youth participants will travel to Lake Superior and to Ottawa for their extended service expedition. Ocean Wise recognizes the generosity of the Government of Canada, which has made this program possible.
To find out more about the program visit http://bridge.ocean.org.
About Ocean Wise Education
Ocean Wise education engages youth globally through digital, in-person and mobile programs that encourage ocean literacy and foster a sense of stewardship from an early age. Through experiential and virtual learning, the award-winning programs have reached more than three million people over 60 years. Ocean Wise education connects students, teachers and communities to the ocean to create lifelong ocean ambassadors. www.ocean.org/education
Communications Manager │ Ocean Wise