Vancouver, B.C. — Ocean Wise, a global ocean conservation organization, is launching a new, national education initiative called Ocean Bridge that will engage a diverse group of youth in a unique and innovative ocean conservation service and leadership program. Supported by the Government of Canada, Ocean Bridge enables 40 young Canadians (ages 18-30) to participate in a year-long program to co-create service projects for urban and wilderness settings.
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, announced today in Ottawa the Government of Canada is establishing a number of new youth service initiatives across the country, including Ocean Bridge, called Canada Service Corps.
“From coast to coast to coast, young Canadians will benefit from learning and service opportunities that have a positive impact on Canada’s oceans and coasts. This will help them become advocates on these issues in their communities and benefit generations to come,” said The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.
Ocean Bridge participants are selected through an online application process and will represent urban, rural, Northern and Southern Canadian geographies and indigenous perspectives. They will form a team working together to make a meaningful contribution to ocean conservation issues in their communities; each week they will connect virtually through video conferencing to discuss topics such as climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution, and to then build ideas for improvement. In spring 2018, the youth group will travel to Haida Gwaii, and to Vancouver on extended expeditions. During these trips, the team will activate a community service project of their own design with local groups.
“There is perhaps no one better to help guide our country’s national dialogue about ocean conservation than our own youth. They are the reason why we strive for a world where our oceans are healthy and flourishing and, through Ocean Bridge, they will have an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share ideas with one another and create a lasting impact in their communities,” said John Nightingale, president and CEO of Ocean Wise.
Through a multilingual online platform, these ocean ambassadors will continue the conversations and build on their ideas, as well as receive individual coaching. 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. They will have access to additional funding, which will help put ideas into action; plans could include local education and public programs, working to reduce plastic use in local businesses or getting more people to make sustainable choices when buying seafood.
“Our goal with this program is to foster a sense of stewardship in these young leaders. We will collaborate to generate ideas for collective impact, whether it’s a shoreline cleanup or a public workshop on ocean pollution, and put those plans into action to create a meaningful legacy across the country,” said James Bartram, vice-president for education and youth at Ocean Wise. “Ultimately, this experience will advance a culture of service that will help protect our oceans for many generations to come.”
Ocean Bridge is a multi-year program, and in 2019, a new group of youth participants will travel to Lake Superior Marine Conservation Area 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 and application process, 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