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Project Details

Project dates
01/04/2023  – 31/07/2024
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Jesse Gruneau

Project Lead

Whales & Waves is an initiative that aims to empower marine stewardship among coastal citizens utilizing educational resources and online media content.

Project Description

Whales & Waves is a non-profit, volunteer led initiative run through support from the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) as apart of their Canadian Conservation Corps program (CCC), and as a part of Ocean Wise’s Eco-Action Accelerator Program. This project aims to address a knowledge gap regarding marine mammal regulations and best practices in BC, starting with the regions around the Discovery Islands. Through signage implementation, advocacy, and community engagement, the project seeks to empower coastal citizens to become marine stewards; promoting healthy marine ecosystems and boater safety.

Working in collaboration with several marine research organizations, the project will install informative signage on local docks, highlighting regulations and guidelines, and emphasizing the need for responsible behavior. We will participate in advocacy events and utilize educational resources, workshops, dialogues and partnerships. These will promote knowledge enhancement around animal health, boater safety, and environmental initiatives, as well as encouraging marine stewardship. The project will also foster community ownership by offering opportunities to volunteer and actively contribute to marine initiatives. Efforts will be made to engage underrepresented groups and traditional land stewards, in order to promote inclusivity and ensure diverse perspectives.

The project serves the goal of protecting local marine species, which will promote healthy ecosystems and support tourism and commercial activities. We will also provide detailed educational resources and signage, enabling informed decision making connected to physical stressors on marine species, and boater safety. Other benefits to local organizations and contractors include: engagement for events and businesses, partnering with and promoting organizations, and opportunities for volunteers and paid contracts. The project is also important in that: maintaining healthy ecosystems can ensure the balance of the food chain, nutrient cycling, and other processes.

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 main issue I felt was that it was a lot of work and sometimes hard to balance my job, free time and errands with the project planning and event logistics. Some days were 12 hours or more, and I barely had any support for those events. I ended up having to cut some of my activities in order to prioritize key tasks and utilize what capacity and resources I did have. Moving forward, it would be good to try to secure more help for the big events, especially as it would help manage large crowds who wanted to purchase items and get info all the same time.

What was your most valuable takeaway?

The Project was an truly meaningful experience in that it allowed me to continue pursuing a passion towards conservation work. I was able to forge strong new relationships, gain valuable experience, and learn about my own motivations, as well as areas where I can still learn. I’m confident that this project has encouraged me to keep pushing in a direction that helps my community, advocates for our planet’s ecosystems and allows me to continue a journey of growth and learning. I really saw first hand how each and every one of us can make a big difference, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.

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