Ocean Bridge

Ocean Bridge connects Canadian youth and young professionals from coast to coast to coast empowering them to take action for ocean conservation. Each year 160 young people (ages 18-30) form a national team engaged for eleven months in co-creating and delivering ocean and waterway service projects for their home communities.

Ocean Bridge

Ocean Bridge connects Canadian youth and young professionals from coast to coast to coast empowering them to take action for ocean conservation. Each year 160 young people (ages 18-30) form a national team engaged for eleven months in co-creating and delivering ocean and waterway service projects for their home communities.

What is Ocean Bridge?

Ocean Bridge ambassadors are supported on their journey to become active Ocean Wise citizens and adopt a culture of service through the following program components:

1. Community & Capacity Building

From May to March, youths and young professionals connect as a national team and with the broader community of ocean conservation through a variety of distance-learning activities including speaker series, discussions, workshops, and reflections. Topics of climate change, ocean pollution and overfishing deepen participants’ understanding of complex ocean conservation challenges while professional development workshops build participants’ capacities to act as ambassadors for the ocean.

Ocean Bridge Ambassadors receive an iPad on loan to support participation in this virtual component of the program.

2. Mentorship & Local Service Projects

During the 11-month program, participants take action for the ocean and waterways by identifying, developing and delivering a service project. An Ocean Bridge program staff provides guidance and support to Ocean Bridge ambassadors throughout their service journey in one-to-one bi-weekly mentorship calls. These individualized coaching sessions focus on goal-setting, service project development and delivery, and reflection.

To support their ocean service projects, Ocean Bridge ambassadors can access:

  • Up to $500 Youth Ocean Action Grant funding
  • A range of service kits, on loan, equipped with everything you need for: videography, podcasting, shoreline cleanup, water quality testing, backyard BioBlitz, education outreach, and more

3. Remote Learning Journey*

In the spring or summer, Ocean Bridge ambassadors participate in a 10-day immersive learning journey during which they engage in hands-on service projects, adventure programming, place-based education, and community building activities. Youths learn about the ocean and our relationship with it from local community members and traditional knowledge holders. Remote learning journeys are offered in-person, virtually or through a blended model depending on the local status of COVID-19 and associated health and safety regulations in the months leading up to and during the learning journey.

4. Urban Learning Journey*

The Ocean Bridge experience concludes in March with a 5-day immersive learning journey. In the months leading up to the learning journey, Ocean Bridge ambassadors pitch service project ideas and form teams to develop and deliver the selected projects. Ambassadors are encouraged to create projects that engage Canadians in ocean conservation in innovative and bold new ways. Urban learning journeys are facilitated in-person, virtually or through a blended model depending on the local status of COVID-19 and associated health and safety regulations in the months the learning journey.

5. National Ocean Bridge Summit

Each year, Ocean Bridge hosts a multi-day national virtual event that brings Ocean Bridge ambassadors, alumni and other youths & young professionals from across the conservation sector together. The summit, co-created with Ocean Bridge ambassadors and alumni, features youth-led activities and service projects, presentations, panel discussions, professional development workshops, skill-sharing sessions, networking events and more.

*Remote and Urban Learning Journeys are subject to local, provincial, and federal health guidelines and travel restrictions. While we hope to bring youths together for in-person activities, we will only do so if it can be done safely for participants, staff, and our community hosts. When necessary, distance-based experiences will be facilitated as an alternative to in-person programming.

Who can participate?

Each year Ocean Bridge recruits 160 youths and young professionals 18-30 years old. The participants are selected to represent the social, economic and geographic diversity of Canada. Whether you are from a rural land locked town, coastal urban city, northern community or anywhere else in between we want to hear from you! If COVID-19 healthy and safety regulations allow for travel to occur during the program, Ocean Bridge will cover travel expenses including transport, accommodation, and meals for both immersive learning journeys.

Additional supports accessible to participants on a need’s basis include:

  • Financial support for phone or internet access throughout the program
  • Financial support for childcare care costs during the immersive learning journeys
  • Adaptive technology (device, equipment, or software that is used to help a person with a disability or impairment reach full functional capacity)

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the commitment?
    During the 11-month program, from May to March, Ocean Bridge Ambassadors are expected to:
    • Complete a minimum of 120 hours of ocean or waterway service throughout the year including developing and delivering an ocean service project independently or in collaboration with your peers (note that time spent participating in all components of the Ocean Bridge program contributes to your 120 hours requirement)
    • Engage in biweekly 1:1 mentorship & coaching sessions with an Ocean Bridge team member (duration and frequency is participant dependent and may vary from 30 min to 1 hour)
    • Participate fully in a 10-day immersive regional learning journey* in the summer
    • Participate fully in a 5-day immersive regional learning journey* in the winter/spring
    • Contribute meaningfully to team projects in the months leading up to the immersive journeys
    • Engage regularly in the distance-learning modules including posting to the discussion forum, attending virtual workshops and webinars, sharing reflections to the gallery and participating in other synchronous and asynchronous distance-learning activities

    We understand that life is full of surprises and are open to discussing commitment requirements with participants on an individual basis.

  • How might COVID-19 impact my experience in the program?
    The Ocean Bridge program can be delivered safely in a COVID-19 context with adaptations. The distance-learning and mentorship components are delivered remotely and are unaffected by COVID-19. The remote and urban learning journeys, and many youth-led service projects, are traditionally delivered in-person and therefore may need to be modified with added precautions, or shifted to a virtual delivery model. Your program staff will decide whether your program is in-person, virtual or a blended model based on the local and federal health and safety regulations in the months leading up to and during the learning journey.

    Safety of our participants, staff and the local communities we work with is our top priority and we follow COVID-19 policies to mitigate the risk of transmission. These policies are communicated to participants during program orientation and in preparation for learning journeys (you can also ask your Ocean Bridge mentor about them at any time). All staff and participants are expected to follow the COVID-19 policies during the delivery of service projects, learning journeys and all other activities taking place as part of the Ocean Bridge experience. We also follow 2 in our program delivery, which means should in-person programming be offered, Ocean Bridge ambassadors can choose whether or not they feel comfortable participating.
  • What can I expect from a Virtual Learning Journey?
    If COVID-19 regulations lead to your learning journey being hosted “virtually” you can expect an immersive experience that gets you up, outside and moving. In most cases, except for full lockdown scenarios, our virtual learning journeys include online virtual sessions, workshops, and solo that can take place in your home or outside where you can be a safe physical distance from others. Our team has a year of experience testing distance-learning and virtual engagement strategies in a COVID-19 context, and we are confident we can provide participants with a meaningful experience whether we connect with you in-person or from a distance.
  • How many participants are accepted annually?
    We currently accept 160 participants from across Canada each year. We strive for our participants to be reflective of the cultural, social, economic, academic and geographic diversity of Canada.
  • What is the cost to participate?
    Ocean Bridge is a fully funded program and there is no cost to the participant. For both immersive learning journey experiences, the program covers travel, food and accommodation expenses if applicable. Participants may qualify for additional support to cover some childcare expenses, internet connectivity, and adaptive technology. All participants have free access to mental health & wellness support through Ocean Wise for the duration of the program.
    Participants can access up to $500 for costs associated with local service projects and for the urban learning journey projects, each team will have a budget of $5,000 for project costs.
  • What kind of experience is Ocean Bridge looking for in a participant?
    Ocean Bridge is about giving youth and young professionals new experiences, so we do not require participants to have any specific background with respect to work, volunteer, or school. It is more important to us that participants are curious and passionate about our oceans, have a desire to make a difference and are prepared to engage fully for the duration of their ambassadorship.
  • What supports and benefits are available to Ocean Bridge Ambassadors?
    During participation in the Ocean Bridge program, participants will have access to the following supports and benefits:
    • Up to $500 for your ocean service project through our Youth Ocean Action Grant funding
    • A range of service kits available to be signed out for videography, podcasting, shoreline cleanups, water quality testing, backyard BioBlitz’s, education outreach, and more
    • An iPad on loan to support participation in the virtual component of the program
    • Mental health & wellness support through Homewood Health
    • Financial support for phone or internet access throughout the program
    • Financial support for childcare care costs during the immersive learning journeys
    • Financial support for adaptive technology (device, equipment, or software that is used to help a person with a disability or impairment reach full functional capacity)
    In addition to the above Ocean Bridge ambassadors can apply for additional opportunities to represent Ocean Wise at National and International conferences and events.
  • How do I apply?
    Apply here by filling out our application form. You will need to include an expression of interest highlighting who you are and why you would like to join Ocean Bridge. We welcome expressions in all formats including, but not limited to, videos, letters, photo essays and art pieces. You are encouraged to represent yourself using a medium that best expresses who you are and your passion for oceans!
    If you prefer to apply by mail, call 604-659-3885 and we will provide you with the mailing address and cover the cost of postage for your application
  • Still have questions?
    Contact us at [email protected]

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