Science Literacy Week (September 16-22, 2019) inspires Canadians of all ages to read more about science and to help foster a strong STEM culture across the country. This year’s theme, Oceans, encourages Canadians of all ages to discover more about the importance of our world’s oceans, our impact on them, and what we can do to appreciate and help marine wildlife.
To celebrate, we’re featuring a few of our amazing workshop presenters who have career and education experience in marine biology and ocean studies. In this blog post, we talk to Christina, a Scientists in School workshop presenter who presents Battles in the Tropical Rainforest, Habitats and Communities, Body Works, Classy Critters and various community workshop topics across East Central Ontario!
Tell us about your career and education!
I have an Honours in Forestry and Wildlife, which has led me to many exciting career opportunities. Some of my work includes conducting research in endangered Atlantic Salmon populations with Parks Canada as a Conservation Assistant, working as a Marine Research Biologist with Fisheries and Oceans in West Vancouver, and as an Educator with the Vancouver Public Aquarium. I was also an Environmental Manager in Langley Township, British Columbia, where I spearheaded a multi-year mapping of native streams.
Why is it important to get children and youth excited about and interested in our world’s oceans?
There is much more readily-available information in this day of advanced technology, and young people can choose any number of careers that may directly or indirectly impact our oceans, no matter where they live. They will become the generation which finds solutions to the problems of today. Many children and youth feel empowered by volunteering in shore-line clean-ups and citizen advocacy to reduce our dependency on plastics that have formed massive patches in the oceanic gyres. Kids do a great job of leading kids in fomenting change.
Why is it important for everyone, not just scientists, to have a better understanding and appreciation of our oceans?
More than 90 per cent of the planet that supports life is in the oceans! It is imperative to understand what comprises the varied ecosystems and interrelationships within the oceans if we are to preserve its life and, by extension, its benefits to humankind. We do not have another world to inhabit. Let’s teach each other about the one we have and work together accordingly. We – each one of us – impact an ocean, whether we live a thousand miles away or on the shore.
What can educators and parents/guardians do to cultivate a stronger interest in our world’s oceans in children and youth?
Parents, guardians and educators can share ways that we rely on and impact oceans through every day conversations, or by visiting a local lake, river or ocean and ask questions – what do they think lives there? How do they think they are connected to it? Ask children how they want to get involved in protecting the ocean and nurture their interests. Encourage students to start or join a watershed stewardship group, or attend a free outing with a local outdoor organization.