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Project Details

Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Assiniboine Park is a place where people share the wonders of nature in a way that inspires them to conserve it for the future.

Placement Details

The Assiniboine Park Zoo is committed to conservation action and community engagement. Their conservation initiatives are focused in three areas: Arctic and subarctic species conservation, Manitoba species conservation and the conservation of international species at risk. They are a CAZA-certified zoo and home to the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre.

This placement is primarily within the Conservation and Research department while assisting with the Sustainability department as well. The Conservation and Research Department manages Beluga Bits, a long-term citizen science project monitoring beluga whales in the Churchill River estuary. Participants of this placement will be engaged in progressing the project through interactive means, such as outreach and communication opportunities that promote citizen science and northern research.

Participants also have the opportunity to broaden and expand their skill sets and interests in a multitude of areas, including data collection and analysis, science communication, marine and aquatic ecology/conservation, education and outreach, program development and delivery, and visual media.

Placement Category: Wildlife Advocacy and Rehab; Community Outreach and Education

Placement Season: Summer/Fall

Placement Type: Urban

2023 Participant Highlight

Participant Ferris Kerr

Having completed both Youth to Sea and Ocean Bridge, an Ocean Pathways placement was the logical next step in Ferris’ journey with Ocean Wise! Throughout their 2023 placement, Ferris worked on countless projects drawing on and developing numerous skills ranging from videography, graphic design, social media, science communication, and more. Ferris shares that their time spent filming underwater footage in the seal tanks was a highlight!

Check out Ferris’ feature on @oceanwiseyouth here, as well as their Instagram Takeover under the “Ocean Pathways” highlight.

Read Ferris’ blog on their unique experience conducting marine conservation from land-locked Manitoba here.

Read a short interview with Ferris here on Assiniboine Park Zoo’s website.

2021-2022 Participant Highlights

Participant Samantha Gaitens

Samantha supported the implementation of green initiatives including developing solutions, procedures, and outreach materials for the waste management system at Assiniboine Park Conservancy. She also supported the waste audit data interpretation to inform and update the organization’s sustainability policies. In addition, she hosted several public shoreline cleanups along the Assiniboine River as a community engagement and outreach initiative. Throughout her placement Samantha also had the opportunity to work closely with our researchers, educators, and sustainability coordinator on several different projects.

Participant Sara Wolowich-Brown

Sara was involved in 3 major projects during her placements:

  1. Planning and execution of Assiniboine Park Conservancy’s first annual shoreline cleanup
  2. Helping to assess and develop sustainable operations for the Zoo
  3. Beluga Bits – creation of educational programing and interpretive materials geared towards high school level students, by using information collected by the Conservation team about the beluga who gather within the Churchill River Estuary, Manitoba

In particular, the Beluga Bits project was created to be integrated into the Manitoba curriculum to help students learn about the magnificent belugas that are found in the ocean bordering Northern Manitoba. This is so important because many children and youth in Manitoba don’t even realize there is ocean bordering the province, let alone belugas!

Sara says, “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.” 

Her most valuable takeaway was seeing firsthand how research, education, and outreach go hand in hand. It was incredible for Sara to see the research going on at the zoo behind the scenes, and also seeing visitors get to learn about it!

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