Ocean Bridge Empowers Youth Through Nature Conservation
Ocean Bridge connects Canadian youth from coast-to-coast-to-coast empowering them to make a difference towards ocean conservation. Each year, 40 youth (ages 18-30) form a national team engaged in co-creating and delivering service projects in their home communities. They also partake in two immersive expeditions addressing Ocean Health and Ocean Literacy in Canada.
The inaugural Ocean Bridge cohort experienced the stunning archipelago of Haida Gwaii, B.C. for a 10-day immersive wilderness expedition in May 2018, followed by a week-long urban service experience in Vancouver, B.C. in October.
Ocean Bridge is an Ocean Wise program funded by the Government of Canada through the Canada Service Corps, focused on fostering a wider culture of service led for and by young Canadians.
Meet Jasveen Brar
Hometown: Medicine Hat, Alberta
Among Jasveen’s numerous projects throughout 2018 were 14 events she organized at the Redcliff Youth Centre during September under the banner of Oceans Month. She also organized a plogging event in her community and helped lead a national art project with other Ocean Bridge cohort members.
Jasveen's year was highlighted by her selection by UNAC (United Nations Association In Canada) to be part of its delegation to represent Ocean Bridge and the Canada Service Corps on the global stage at December’s COP24 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland as a Youth Ambassador. You can read more about her life-changing experience here.
Read Jasveen’s Story
“I believe that spending time in the outdoors provides both the greatest classroom and playground”
Having the opportunity to spend ten days immersed in nature with #OceanBridge was a deeply enriching experience. We spent those ten days connecting with nature through hikes, swims and stories while being disconnected from the rest of the world. From walking through moss-covered forests and sandy beaches to swimming in the Pacific Ocean and visiting parks, we experienced a diversity of the outdoors.
I believe that spending time in the outdoors provides both the greatest classroom and playground, there is so much to learn and to experience, and that is exactly what we did in Haida Gwaii.
By connecting with nature, we’re able to form emotional bonds and have a sense of responsibility that lasts a lifetime. It’s through experiences like #OceanBridge that we can inspire the next generation of activists and inspire action.
I believe that in order to protect our environment and biodiversity it is essential to create opportunities for youth to connect with nature to create conscientious leadership with knowledge and passion. @OceanWise #PortailOcean
“I believe that in order to protect our environment and biodiversity it is essential to create opportunities for youth to connect with nature to create conscientious leadership with knowledge and passion.”
- Jasveen Brar
Meet Hannah Kosick
Hometown: Port Morien, Nova Scotia
Hannah’s passion for the oceans has shone through in local service that has included hosting shoreline cleanups throughout Cape Breton, helping establish an environmental society at Cape Breton University, and engaging youth through her volunteering with Girl Guides of Canada.
Hannah is developing an Aquatic Ambassadors challenge for Girl Guides across the country that will help them develop skills to become leaders in their home communities, as well as environmental stewards and mentors. Those completing the challenge will receive a specially designed badge recognizing their contributions to ocean conservation. The badge was designed in a joint project between Hannah and fellow 2018 Ocean Bridge cohort member Lucy Wilkie.
Read Hannah’s Story
“These trips made me more aware of how the world is being affected by human impacts”
I was first introduced to the idea of service learning when I was 15 years old visiting Churchill, MB on a nationally sponsored Girl Guide expedition. I had grown up right along the Atlantic coast in Cape Breton and at that moment in life I never thought my connection with nature could be any stronger.
Exploring the Arctic Tundra in the wake of so much biodiversity with Canadian youth from across the country completely changed my views on nature and it made me even more motivated to protect it.
My next Guiding trip to The Sea of Cortez in Mexico was another life changing experience. Both of these service trips made me more aware of how the world is being affected by human impacts and how some individuals living in different regions of the world are paying the price for Western consumerism and our large carbon footprint.
On these trips, I was fortunate enough to touch permafrost, to see polar bears, to swim in coral reefs, to visit coastal fishing communities, to eat traditional foods all of which may not be possible in the future due to the effects humanity is having on our planet.
These learning experiences truly changed my life and I believe more youth should have the opportunity to learn from nature. I am currently a member of the #OceanBridge cohort, a program run by @oceanwise and I am determined to inspire action in youth to protect our home.
I believe more youth should have the opportunity to learn from nature. I am determined to inspire action in youth to protect our home.
The 2019 Ocean Bridge cohort will travel to the North Shore of Lake Superior in June 2019, and to Ottawa in January 2020, for its immersive wilderness and urban expeditions. You can follow along with the team, future expeditions and find out more about ocean service projects happening near your community throughout the year here.