New Wave of Young Canadians Joins Forces to Form Second National Ocean Bridge Cohort

Vancouver, B.C. – After a successful inaugural year, Ocean Wise® is proud to officially announce that a new wave of 40 young Canadians has been chosen to make up the 2019 Ocean Bridge cohort and to continue an ongoing national dialogue about the health of our oceans.

Ocean Bridge is a second-year national program that gives youth across the country (aged 18-30) the tools and support to connect with each other and to lead service projects related to ocean health and literacy in their communities. Ocean Bridge is a national partner in the Canada Service Corps, a Government of Canada initiative focused on fostering a wider culture of service led for and by young Canadians.

This year’s Ocean Bridge cohort includes individuals from nine provinces and two territories: Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.

“It was truly uplifting to see the number, diversity and quality of applications for the 2019 Ocean Bridge cohort that were received from all corners of Canada,” notes James Bartram, vice-president of education and youth at Ocean Wise. “These 40 young ocean champions represent a wide range of knowledge, backgrounds and experience – from marine biology to poetry to chemistry to public speaking, just to name a few. Based on the overwhelmingly positive results generated by our inaugural cohort last year, we’re more hopeful than ever about the impact youth can and will have when it comes to the stewardship and protection of our oceans for generations to come.”

The 2019 program is based on three major pillars:

  • Ongoing local service projects and capacity building in communities across the country
  • An immersive ocean health wilderness expedition to the North Shore of Lake Superior in June 2019.
  • An immersive ocean literacy urban service expedition in Ottawa in January 2020.

The youth will soon connect for the first time via video conference and through a multilingual shared online community space as they begin the year-long program to co-create service projects for urban and wilderness settings with the aim to improve ocean health through tangible, hands-on efforts across Canada.

Throughout the year, the 40 ocean ambassadors will have access to ocean literacy resources and will receive individual coaching and support from Ocean Bridge staff.

“This year’s youth will have the added support of members of the 2018 Ocean Bridge cohort, many of whom have expressed keen interest to continue their involvement with the program for many years to come,” says Nicole Straughan, manager of the Ocean Bridge program. “This is the kind of active and ongoing engagement we were hoping to foster within these young Canadians who are leaders today.”

In June 2019, the youth will travel from around the country to meet at Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area for an immersive ocean health wilderness expedition, which will include the delivery of service projects on the ground and learning opportunities from members of local First Nations and other community stakeholders.

The cohort will reconnect in January 2020 in Ottawa, where the 40 youth will deliver the wide range of ocean literacy service projects they will have developed throughout the year. The youth will also have the chance to connect with movers and shakers on the global environmental stage, including Members of Parliament, Indigenous leaders and partners such as the Canadian Museum of Nature and the #NatureForAll campaign.

“Opportunities funded through the Canada Service Corps give young Canadians a chance to give back to their communities while gaining skills and experience,” says the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “Ocean Bridge is a valued partner of the Canada Service Corps, and I look forward to the contributions this new cohort of Canadian volunteers will make to our dialogue and action for the health of our oceans.”

As part of their service, participants will also mentor high school students and youth groups to provide guidance and encouragement on ways they can contribute to their local communities by promoting the health of oceans and waterways.

Ocean Bridge is a multi-year program, building on the remarkable success of 2018’s inaugural cohort. The 2018 cohort travelled to Haida Gwaii, then Vancouver, B.C., and led nearly 23,000 hours worth of service activities related to ocean health and literacy in communities across Canada. Ocean Wise recognizes the generous investment of the Government of Canada, which has made this program possible. It is together that we can ensure a better future for our oceans for generations to come.

To learn more about Ocean Bridge, visit

Ocean Wise®
Ocean Wise is a not-for-profit organization whose vision is a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing.

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.

Canada Service Corps

Canada Service Corps is designed to generate a culture of service among young Canadians; concrete results for communities; personal growth through participation in a diverse team of peers; and lasting impacts on participants. Young Canadians between 15 and 30 years of age can get involved in service through CSC’s national organizations, or by turning their community service ideas into reality with a micro-grant. Youth are encouraged to visit to apply for funding in the fixed amounts of $250, $750 or $1,500. With support from the Government of Canada, TakingITGlobal is delivering and administering these community service grants. The Canada Service Corps program is being developed for youth, by youth. All young Canadians can have their say in the program by filling out the Tell Us Your Views survey.


Media Contact

Lisa Englehart
Vancouver Aquarium