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Jennifer Blythe

Sarnia, ON, Canada

Ocean Wise Ambassador – 2021 Ocean Bridge Classic Cohort

A bit about me: 

I’ve been fascinated with aquatic systems since I was a kid; my first ever class presentation was on how to tell the difference between crocodiles and alligators (spoiler alert it’s all in the snout!). Since then, I’ve dedicated myself to environmental research, most recently completing a MSc studying wetlands in northern Ontario, and working as a research assistant for the study of microplastics in the Canadian Arctic. I’ve seen the effects of plastic pollution in my own community along Lake Huron, and so naturally I am very passionate about mitigating the risks plastic poses to marine and freshwater life, and also about holding industries and governments accountable for plastic pollution. Being from Sarnia where there is a higher level of industrial pollution that impacts different communities disproportionately, I am also very interested in working with communities to fight for environmental and social justice.

One of my most influential memories of the ocean was when I scuba dived for the first time off the coast of Sodwana Bay in South Africa as part of a volunteer conservation excursion. For the first time I was able to see what lies beneath the surface of the ocean, and I was in awe. What I remember most though was our dive instructor telling us that it was great we could see the coral reefs now before they were gone. My heart sank thinking of this possibility, but it has only made me more determined to work together with other people and communities to change that story. I’m excited to work with other like-minded individuals during the Ocean Bridge program and use our collective passion to work towards a more optimistic future for our shared and beloved water bodies.

Tell us something random about yourself: 

My favourite marine animals are whale sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, lemon sharks, hammerhead sharks, Greenland sharks……basically all types of sharks! I’ve always been fascinated with them as a marine keystone species, and not even the movie Jaws has changed my mind!

What gets me up in the morning

My alarm clock! But more than that is opportunity; the opportunity to take a beautiful walk along the lake, to learn something new, and to connect with other people. It’s never too late to make each day a meaningful one, and I try to remember that every morning (or afternoon if I sleep in far too long!)

Current & Past Service Projects

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