Youth science ambassador training in Sidney, BC
ONC’s Youth Science Ambassador Program connects young people from coastal communities with world-leading ocean science and the Indigenous ocean knowledge within their region. The program is facilitated by local Indigenous youth living in communities along coastal British Columbia (BC) and in the Canadian Arctic. Each ambassador position is adapted to meet local community needs and interests.
Hands-on learning activities and research projects are co-developed with community educators and knowledge holders, emphasizing the place-based Indigenous Knowledge held within their territory. Youth Science Ambassadors collaborate with local educators to explore their local environment, combining data from ONC’s community observatories with Indigenous Knowledge. The resulting enquiry-based projects and learning modules reflect the interests of students and priorities identified by the communities, tied together by a common ocean thread: making local observations, and global connections.
Communities & Projects
- Campbell River, BC, Coast Salish Territory/Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw
- Kitamaat Village, BC, Haisla Territory
- Pacheedaht, BC, Nuu-chah-nulth Territory
- Port Alberni, BC, Nuu-chah-nulth Territory
- Prince Rupert, BC, Ts'msyen Territory
- T'Souke, BC, Coast Salish Territory
- Victoria, BC, Coast Salish Territory
- Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Kitikmeot Region
- Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, Kitikmeot Region
- Iqaluit, Nunavut, Qikiqtaaluk Region
- Kugluktuk, Kitikmeot Region
- Nain, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunatsiavut Region
Mia Otokiak, the first ONC Youth Science Ambassador, successfully engaged her community and young people in the Cambridge Bay region with ONC's scientific work.
Alumni & Testimonials
Mia Otokiak (YSA for Cambridge Bay region, April 2016-May 2017)
As ONC’s first Youth Science Ambassador (YSA), Mia Otokiak successfully furthered ONC’s community, youth, and educational engagement in the Cambridge Bay region. As part of her work with ONC, she led a youth community-based monitoring program with students of Kiilinik High School to collect snow data to help in scientific modelling of ice conditions. Mia, an Inuk from Cambridge Bay, has now gone on to a full-time job in science working for the Nunavut Impact Review Board.
“Because of ONC I’ve learned so many fascinating things about the ocean, which I had always wanted to learn about but never had the chance to, until now. To make it even better, I’ve passed all this information down to students of the same schools that I graduated from. ONC has been a huge stepping stone in my career of science and I am truly grateful to have been a part of the team.”
Cathryn Hale (YSA for Victoria, BC, 2018)
Cathryn Hale, an Ahousaht from the Sam family, was ONC’s first YSA for the Victoria area. She worked to develop relationships with local First Nations and schools to encourage youth to pursue careers in science. During the school year Cathryn gave school presentations and delivered hands-on activities. During the summer she organized and ran day camp activities with the W̱SÁNEĆ Nations and Esquimalt First Nations, and helped with an ROV project in partnership with local schools.
Eden Atkinson-Bruce (YSA for North Coast of BC, May 2017-April 2018)
Eden Atkinson-Bruce, from Terrace, BC, worked closely with the Kitsumkalum First Nation’s 'Na Aksa Gyilak'yoo School to develop inquiry-based projects surrounding the effects of climate change on Ts’msyen Territory. Students used ONC’s data from the Prince Rupert–Ts’msyen Territory community observatory to make observations about their local ocean environment. Students also worked with local knowledge holders and elders to learn about how Kitsumkalum Territory waters and lands are being altered because of climate change.