By: Lucija Prelovec
About a year ago I started the Science Communication Graduate program at Laurentian University. Previously I completed a BSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology from the University of Guelph and have been working in education at various aquariums and wanted to be more involved in ocean education. My time in the Science Communication program helped me connect with numerous informal education networks in Canada, but found few focused on ocean education. In the past I worked in Florida, and became well acquainted with the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA). I hoped to find an equivalent organization, where a Canadian network of individuals who are passionate about sharing their love of the oceans with fellow Canadians. This is what brought me to the Canadian Network for Ocean Education, a group of like minded individuals I was eager to learn from.
At the end of my program this spring I chose to complete an internship in Halifax, where CaNOE happened to be holding their 2016 Ocean Literacy Conference: Ocean Optimism. I figured there couldn’t be a better way to become involved with CaNOE than start volunteering at their conference. Being able to interact with people who love learning and teaching about the ocean during this conference inspired me to continue my involvement with CaNOE. I decided to do this by becoming involved with the organization’s working groups – the hardest part was choosing which one to join! I had to review my options:
What better way to help CaNOE than to plan their next conference? In 2015, this Working Group put together a stellar inaugural conference jam-packed with workshops in Vancouver. In 2016, the conference sailed across the country to Halifax where it was once again filled with great workshops, lectures, and our first ever Open Space where we were able to explore and discuss topics with our fellow colleagues. What’s to come to come at our next conference in 2018? Join the group and be the first to find out!
If you are more interested in the smooth functioning of CaNOE, then this is the group for you! The first couple years were focused on setting up the society and creating the CaNOE governance documents, but there’s still lots of work to be done. The future of this group entails bylaw compliance and review, the BC Societies Act, Board elections, and internal matters. Pull up a chair and lend your administrative advice!
Finances and Fundraising
As a not-for-profit group, we require funding to achieve our mission. It is very important to have a group to keep our finances in check, and search and apply for grant opportunities. Here you will hone your skills in finding the perfect grant and even writing a perfect grant proposal, critical skills to have in our field.
Now you know CaNOE has a blog, but did you know we also have a Facebook page? A Twitter? A monthly newsletter? All our posts and updates on the various communication platforms are written by the Communications group. If you are interested in spreading the word about CaNOE and love sharing awesome ocean education news, this is the group for you. Plans for the coming year include creating a communication strategy and increasing CaNOE website traffic. Give us a hand and learn the ins and outs of social media!
A key part of any organization is coming up with a plan and missions you wish to achieve. This group helps keep CaNOE on course as we continue to grow across Canada. Even though in 2016, our Directors approved a 5 year Strategic Plan, the work is not done. Continuing on, this group will work towards CaNOE’s long term goals by setting short term goals and annual work plans.
International Efforts and Activities
Perhaps you would like to use your camaraderie skills and build relationships with other similar organizations who share our passion for ocean literacy. For example, Canada has committed to advancing transatlantic ocean literacy, with the EU and the USA in the Galway Statement. What better way to grow as an organization then to learn from other amazing organizations around the world? Help us build and maintain these relationship where we can share each other’s resources!
Education and Outreach
As of 2016, the Canadian Network for Ocean Education has started a group that focuses on the latter part of our organization’s name – education! As one of the newer working groups, the Education and Outreach team hopes to build a database of ocean science learning resources. A special invitation is extended to teachers from this group.. If you know of other organizations doing great marine and freshwater outreach or are a teacher wishing to help spread ocean education across the country, then this just might be the group for you.
The final, newly added group, will be looking into CaNOE membership options, including fees, categories, and benefits. In addition, this group will be helping Regional chapters get going. Regional groups will set their own goals, have a regional perspective and support members locally . We hope to increase membership among those who are not based directly on the east or west coasts. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of then we’d love to have you!
Phew! Now that I know all my fin-tastic options it has come time for me to choose a group. Maybe writing this blog post is a dead giveaway, but I chose to join the Communications Working Group! But because I could not choose just one of the amazing working groups, I also joined the Education Working Group! I hope my past experience will be an asset to these teams and I can’t wait to learn from my fellow CaNOE colleagues.
If you wish to join us then please do! If you’re not a CaNOE member yet – fill out our online form – then volunteer to join a working group! Shoot an email over to firstname.lastname@example.org, let us know what group you are interested in, and we will get back to you as soon as possible! I hope to work with you soon!
Lucija is a marine science educator who has in the past worked at the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, and the Blue World Institute of Marine Research and Conservation. Upon completing her Science Communication graduate program at Laurentian University she decided to continue exploring more informal science institutions. Twitter: @