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Project Details

Project dates
Vancouver, BC

Lauren Gill

Project Lead

This initiative aimed to provide environmental education to adults in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES), recognizing the need to extend educational opportunities beyond younger demographics. Through educational lectures and experiential learning at the Vancouver Aquarium, participants gained insights into ocean pollution and received sustainability kits to promote environmentally conscious practices, contributing to broader efforts in combating plastic pollution and climate change.

Project Description

This goal of this initiative was to provide education about pressing ocean matters to adults from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). Despite the prevailing notion that environmental education primarily targets younger demographics, my experiences working with the DTES community had highlighted the pressing need for initiatives that extend educational opportunities to adults as well. In crafting this initiative, my goal was to not only to address immediate environmental concerns but also to empower individuals with the skills and awareness necessary for long-term, sustainable practices. By focusing on adults in the Downtown Eastside, this project seeks to create a ripple effect, promoting positive environmental behaviors within the community and, by extension, contributing to the broader efforts in combating plastic pollution and climate change.

The initial phase of this project involved an educational lecture on the detrimental effects of ocean pollution, where participants gained insights into the broader implications of everyday actions. To further empower them to make sustainable choices, each participant received a carefully curated sustainability kit. This kit included a reusable thermal water bottle, reusable food containers, compact silverware, and a sturdy reusable bag. By providing these items, the project aimed to instill environmentally conscious practices, encouraging participants to significantly diminish their reliance on single-use plastic packaging.

The second phase was an experiential learning component, which included a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium. Often, individuals from marginalized communities with limited financial resources face barriers to accessing educational spaces, resulting in a lack of awareness about environmental and biodiversity issues. The visit to the aquarium served as an opportunity to promote accessibility and inclusivity in these spaces, while fostering an appreciation for and connectedness to the ocean among participants.


This project has been created in commemoration of the lives of all the victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, including two Ocean Bridge ambassadors, Danielle Moore and Micah Messent. We aspire to carry on their legacy and commitment to making the world a better place by creating long-lasting impacts with a firm commitment to driving positive change for the environment and our ocean. We will never forget the light that Danielle and Micah brought to the world and will continue to keep them in our hearts. To learn more about these two amazing people, please visit: Honouring Danielle and Micah  – Ocean Wise. This work is partially funded by the Commemoration Fund for Victims of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 Tragedy.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was probably creating and delivering the lecture for the educational component. This was my first time teaching content that I had designed, and it was challenging to make sure it was engaging, informative but also factually correct. I really appreciated my family and friends for letting me do a multitude of practice rounds on them before I gave the real talk to the participants!

What was your most valuable takeaway?

My most valuable takeaway is seeing how impactful a small initiative can be. I loved hearing the reflections from the participants after the lecture, and really appreciated how they were all very involved with the discussion, even coming up with potential solutions for addressing plastic pollution. And then hearing their gratitude for the aquarium field trip and seeing them all really enjoying their time was really special. My project was focused only on one specific community, but even so, seeing the tangible difference it made was really fulfilling.

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