Skip to content

Project Details

Project dates

Frankie Marquez

Project Lead

Turning the Tide brings inclusivity to environmental activism. Our shoreline cleanups transform communities and inspire Toronto youth to protect our environment while celebrating individuality and (bio)diversity.

Project Description

‘As an Ocean Wise Shoreline Ambassador and Conservation Biology student at the University of Toronto, I create change in my community by leading park and beach cleanups in my city. My main objectives are to promote waste literacy among local youth, empower students to take environmental action, and help members of my community foster their connection with nature.

Turning the Tide is an extension of my volunteer work with Ocean Wise and the UofT Trash Team. My project is not only concerned with creating volunteering opportunities but also making them more inclusive by prioritising underrepresented and marginalised groups, and lowering financial barriers to participating in direct-action conservation.

Turning the Tide will address the need for inclusivity and equity in the environmental sector by collaborating with local community groups, as well as focusing on Neighborhood Improvement Areas in Toronto. Everyone should have the chance to make a difference in their community, regardless of socio-economic status, race, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and feel empowered in being a part of the solution.

The project will be delivered through 4+ shoreline cleanups in the summer of 2024, over the span of 3 months. (Exact dates to be determined.) Participants will be provided with cleanup supplies and refreshments.

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?

‘The biggest challenges I encountered while working on my project were 1) time management and 2) extensive pre-planning.

I had trouble balancing multiple responsibilities — coursework, Turning the Tide, and other volunteering roles. To navigate this problem, I learned to prioritise tasks that were more urgent or important, which allowed me to successfully deliver my work on time.

Another aspect I struggled with was planning my events and anticipating the materials needed for them months ahead of time, in order to meet the reporting requirements of the microgrant. Due to the nature of my project, the shoreline cleanups would not take place until April, at the earliest. I tackled this difficulty by working out an alternative deadline with Nahidha, the microgrant coordinator. I understood the importance of timely communication and transparency. In addition, I learned to be flexible by adjusting my budget accordingly, as certain expenses had ultimately become impractical.

(I also sought advice and comfort from my support system when I found myself stressed or needing help.)

What was your most valuable takeaway?

‘My most valuable takeaway from the project is to always seize an opportunity when it’s presented to you. My application to the Ocean Action Grant was very last-minute, and I nearly decided against submitting it. Getting accepted into the program was beyond my expectations. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity, which has allowed my passion for conservation to reach more people and create a larger impact. Never in a million years would I have guessed that I’d be able to lead shoreline cleanups without worrying about the financial cost. I’m proud of myself for taking the leap and pushing my boundaries.

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
Error: No users set.

Join the mailing list

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive emails about events, news about ocean successes and issues, and opportunities to support us.

Help spread the word

Share this page on social media and help get the word out on ocean conservation