Program Specialist, Ocean Bridge

Ocean Wise Conservation Association - Montréal, QC (30+ days ago)

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Ocean Bridge is an innovative youth-led response to the challenge of ocean conservation in Canada. This National service-learning program connects Canadian youth and young professionals (ages 18-30) from coast to coast to coast, empowering them to make a difference towards ocean conservation. Each cohort of 40 young people forms a national team that works collaboratively to co-create and deliver service projects to address ocean literacy and ocean health in Canada. This ocean conservation experience is comprised of three key elements to support youth as they adopt a culture of service: (1) Community and Capacity Building, (2) 10-day Ocean Health wilderness service expedition and (3) 5-day Ocean Literacy urban service experience.

Through regular video conference sessions and an interactive online environment, youth connect as a national team and with the broader community of ocean conservation. As individuals, youth receive weekly mentorship and coaching sessions from the Program Specialists, building their capacity as ocean leaders in their home communities where they will complete 1-2 hours of ocean service a week. Ocean Bridge youth also participate in a 10-day immersive wilderness expedition delivering Ocean Health service projects of their design while developing a deep understanding of the important role of National Marine Conservation Areas and Marine Protected Areas in ocean conservation. The national team spends the months leading up to this extended service co-creating their project with the local community and each other. To conclude their experience, the cohort reunites at a leading nature connection institution in one of Canada’s most populous urban centers. During this 5-day urban expedition, Ocean Bridge youth deliver education outreach activities and events created by them to engage their peers in ocean conservation and advance Ocean Literacy in Canada.


Reporting to the Ocean Bridge Manager, the Ocean Bridge Program Specialist is responsible for supporting the delivery of an innovative and engaging national youth service initiative focused on community & capacity building, ocean health, and ocean literacy. This position works directly with youth and young professionals (ages 18 to 30) during weekly 1:1 coaching calls and national team calls. The Ocean Bridge Program Specialist also facilitates youths’ participation in the online learning environment, co-leads the immersive service expeditions and guides youth in planning service activities for both their local community service and for the immersive expeditions.

We are looking for individuals who will be subject matter experts in one of three areas; Education & Outreach; Citizen Science; or Indigenous Knowledge & Engagement. Two positions per area will be filled to have six new program specialists in total.

Youth and other Ocean Bridge staff will look to these positions for guidance on developing and carrying out community outreach events and specific subject matter workshops and activities. These projects may take place in the youth’s home communities and during the immersive service expeditions. These positions will also provide training for youth participants in nature interpretation and effective teaching techniques.

These are full-time, fixed-term contract positions. While the Ocean Bridge head office is at the Vancouver Aquarium in Vancouver, BC, we will consider remote offices in the following cities or regions, Vancouver, BC; Ottawa, ON; Montreal, QC; Halifax, NS; Haida Gwaii, BC; North Shore of Lake Superior, ON; Saguenay-St. Lawrence, QC; and Eastport/St.John’s NFL.

Candidates who are considered for employment will be subject to the successful completion of a criminal background check.


Supports the delivery of Ocean Bridge programs and youth service initiatives by:

Delivering the Ocean Bridge program to 40 youth participants (ages 18 to 30) and ensuring all procedures and protocols for safety and quality of programming are achieved;
Supporting the recruitment of youth and young adults to participate in the program, while ensuring that participants represent the socio-economic diversity of Canada;
Coordinating monthly National webinar series and online discussion forum;
Ensuring continued youth engagement with the online learning environment;
Acting as a member of the education team and actively participating in team activities, projects, and programs when possible;
Acting as a key member of the delivery team and working directly with participants;
Supporting delivery and facilitation of immersive service expeditions;
Maintaining a good working knowledge of marine conservation efforts and issues;
Maintaining a good working knowledge of best practices in experiential education and service-learning.

Provides mentorship to youth participants by:
Coaching youth participants during weekly one-to-one video conference sessions;
Supporting youth in identifying, planning and leading their local community service projects;
Supporting youth in identifying and achieving personal and professional development goals;
Being mindful and supportive of the health and wellness of participants;
Connecting youth to community partners.
Acts as either an Education & Outreach, a Citizen Science, or an Indigenous Knowledge & Engagement expert/resource for Ocean Bridge staff and participants by:

Reviewing specific project proposals created by youth and providing feedback and guidance;
Acting as a team coach for teams of youth planning workshops or community outreach service projects for the immersive expeditions;
Coaching and guiding youth in specific areas as follows;

Supporting youth in the delivery of innovative and engaging educational programs and outreach activities;
Coaching youth in teaching skills and ensuring best practices are followed for experiential education, inquiry-based learning and nature interpretation;
Maintaining good working knowledge of best practices in teaching;
Maintaining good working knowledge of ocean literacy principles and initiatives.
Citizen Science

Supporting the youth and team in the collection of meaningful, instrumental data;
Coaching youth in field skills and ensuring best practices are followed for data collection, sampling and research design;
Maintaining good working knowledge of field skills, both terrestrial and marine, as well of functional knowledge of species identification;
Maintaining good working knowledge of citizen science initiatives.
Indigenous Knowledge

Supporting youth with service projects to ensure respectful engagement with Indigenous communities and incorporation of traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous ways of knowing;
Implementing activities and training for youth participants to promote awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures, histories, and ways of knowing;
Advising Ocean Bridge teams on creating safe and engaging learning environments for Indigenous participants;
Providing direct support for Indigenous participants, working collaboratively with other members of the Ocean Bridge team as appropriate;
Consciously desires to improve Ocean Wise and its processes by:

Promptly aiding in Emergency protocol;
Maintaining and supporting organizational safety standards;
Continually improving our impact on the environment and greening of operations through support of EMS protocols;
Actively demonstrating the organization's values and code of conduct;
Performing additional duties as required.


Education and Experience

All Applicants:
Experience working with youth from diverse socio-economic backgrounds;
Public speaking skills and experience working with groups of all sizes;
Standard First Aid or Wilderness First Aid certification required (may receive after employment);
Outdoor Experiential Education certification or equivalent an asset.

Education & Outreach Specialists:
Bachelor’s degree in Education, Environmental Studies or related field required;
Minimum of 2 years of work experience in youth engagement, education or related field;
Teaching experience or volunteer management experience with youth required; emphasis on conservation education, experiential learning and marine/freshwater ecology;
Knowledge of marine biology, issues, and research;
Experience developing and delivering innovative, engaging educational programs.

Citizen Science Specialists:
Bachelor’s degree in Natural Resource Management, Ecology, Environmental Studies, or related field required;
Minimum of 2 years of work experience in youth engagement and/or applied ecology or related field required;
Teaching experience or volunteer management experience with youth required; emphasis on conservation education, experiential learning and marine/freshwater ecology;
Knowledge of marine biology, issues, and research;
Experience with scientific writing and granting;
Experience training citizens/volunteers in data collection and management;
Experience working within federal and provincial legislation pertaining to water and wildlife;
Experience developing and delivering citizen science projects an asset;
Experience with iNaturalist and similar applications an asset;

Indigenous Knowledge Specialists:
Bachelor’s degree in Indigenous Studies, Education, Environmental Studies or related field required;
Minimum of 2 years of work experience in youth engagement, Indigenous relations or related field;
Teaching experience with youth or Indigenous Peoples required; emphasis on traditional ecological knowledge, conservation education, experiential learning;
Knowledge of traditional ecological knowledge and conservation issues;
Experience developing and delivering innovative, engaging educational programs;
Proven experience working with Indigenous communities with first-hand knowledge of Indigenous cultures, practices, and issues;
Knowledge of diverse First Nations cultures and protocols;
Knowledge of cross-cultural issues and ability to facilitate Indigenous cultural competency training;

Bilingual (French and English) candidates preferred, additional languages an asset;
Strong commitment to the environment and education;
Demonstrated knowledge of best practices in both formal and informal education;
Respectful and youth-centered student management skills;
Fluency in online learning environments;
Familiarity and proficiency with Microsoft Office products, Cisco WebEx;
Superior written and oral communication skills;
Familiarity with the Ocean Literacy principles an asset;
Self-motivated, enthusiastic, energetic personality;
Ability to work under pressure in a dynamic environment;
Ability to multitask, respond to last-minute changes, and maintain a flexible attitude;
Ability to observe and assess youth participant behavior, enforce safety regulations and emergency procedures, and apply appropriate behavior management techniques;
Ability and maturity to deal with a wide variety of ages and personalities;
Active demonstration of Ocean Wise Conservation Association’s values and mission;
Ability to work well under minimal supervision.

Will involve evening, weekend, overnight and multiday overnight work both in and out of town;
Will be delivering programs and participating in meetings across time zones;
Involves some heavy lifting; Incumbents must be able to safely lift up to 50 lbs. to chest level;
Involves physical activities including but not limited to kayaking, canoeing, hiking and shoreline cleanups;
Job requires the ability to stand or sit for extended periods of time;
The incumbent will work in a shared office environment with the usual ergonomic risks;
Exposure to variable weather conditions and associated heat stress and cold stress risks;
Work in adverse/challenging field conditions.