About Ocean Bridge Direct Action
#OceanDirectAction // #ActionDirecteOcéan
What is Ocean Bridge Direct Action?
Ocean Bridge Direct Action is an exciting immersive program for in-depth learning and youth engagement with oceanic and aquatic conservation efforts across Canada. This national service-learning program will connect Canadian youth and young professionals with experts in marine and aquatic conservation organizations, empowering them with experiences in direct marine and aquatic conservation initiatives, adventurous opportunities for fieldwork, professional research projects, and educational and outreach programs.
This year, the Direct Action program will place 35 young people (ages 18-30) with government, not-for-profit, and conservation organizations to participate in field-based aquatic research projects. Each host organization will welcome 1 or more participants and provide them the opportunity to work closely with established scientists and researchers on aquatic and marine ecology and conservation projects. These 3-month full-time placements will immerse youth in virtual, or rural and remote marine, coastal, and watershed environments and communities across Canada from May 2021 to March 2022.
Youth receive coaching sessions and training by Direct Action staff to build their capacity as water leaders and to support them throughout their service-learning placements. Direct Action will fund all costs associated with travel, living expenses, training, and materials for the duration of the 3 months for each youth participant. Direct Action will also be responsible for recruiting, matching, and placing eligible youth candidates with a partner organization and arrange for the travel and accommodation directly to the chosen site.
COVID-19 UPDATE: We are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation in Canada and are continuing with the Direct Action program placements as planned and adapting the placements as needed to the changing context. In a scenario where no travel is possible, Direct Action will allocate funds to youth participants to volunteer within local conservation organizations in their own communities for 3 months while covering their living and placement expenses for the duration of their service. Virtual, work-from-home type of placements are also a critical part of our COVID-19 program plan, provided that adequate mentorship is provided for participants working online.
What Are Direct Action Placements?
The Ocean Bridge Direct Action Program will provide youth with 3-month full-time service learning placements that advance their ocean conservation skillset and professional experience during the summer, fall or winter months of 2021-2022. Youth will also receive coaching sessions and training to build their capacity as ocean leaders and support them throughout their immersive placements. Some examples of Direct Action placements could include:
- Assisting Ocean Wise researchers conducting marine mammal research and microplastics research
- Conducting research, field work and marine biodiversity analysis with the Howe Sound Research and Conservation team
- Supporting and learning from Indigenous led marine stewardship organizations
- Working with ocean researchers and conducting coastal fieldwork on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island
- Working with ecological research projects and scientists within National Marine Conservation Areas and Coastal Sites
- Remotely working on policy procedures for conservation areas and project development for environmental education programs
Program Requirements for Youth Participants
• Complete a minimum of 360 hours (30 hrs / week) of service during a continuous 3-month immersive field or virtual placement, during summer/fall/winter of 2021-2022;
• Engage in coaching calls twice a month with the Direct Action Program Specialist;
• Participate in pre- and post-program sessions to assess impact of pilot program and provide feedback;
• Complete necessary training and certifications required by their field placement host (training hours count towards total service-learning hours and cost of training and materials is covered by Direct Action);
• Post to the group discussion forum and gallery each month with updates on placement experience.
What Participants Can Expect from the Program
- 1) Leadership and Professional Development: Participants will feel empowered with relevant experiences and skills to make changes in their own lives, communities, and environments. This opportunity will provide a gateway for youth to channel their interests for oceanic and aquatic environments into professional pathways in marine and aquatic conservation and stewardship.
- 2) Inspiration and Instilling Conservation Ethic: Participants will have in-depth and meaningful interactions with marine and aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems in remote and rural coastal and watershed environments across Canada while guided by established experts in marine and aquatic conservation. This program aims to inspire participants to protect oceans and watersheds through hands-on work in coastal, marine, and watershed conservation projects.
- 3) Capacity Building and Community Engagement: Youth will provide in-depth support and capacity through immersing themselves and living within diverse water-adjacent communities across Canada. The length of the program fosters relationship development and connection to place, creating meaningful impact and engagement for both youth and community members.
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