Project title: Ocean Literacy: Case Studies of Practice
Collaborator: Oceanwise / Vancouver Aquarium
This study is to be conducted in collaboration with Oceanwise and the Vancouver Aquarium as well as with participating students, teachers and school districts currently engaged with ocean literacy programming.
Oceanwise / Vancouver Aquarium (Avison Way, Vancouver)
Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre (Hornby Island, BC)
School classrooms within the Surrey and Chilliwack School Districts.
The program of research aligns closely to other ecological literacy and environmental learning research conducted by the IEL and is approved by the Office of Research Ethics at SFU. The research is also associated with a multi-jurisdictional research project funded by MITACS: Developing a National Ocean Literacy Strategy.
Project title: Building a National Ocean Literacy Strategy
Collaborator: Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition (COLC)
The health of the ocean(s) is a global priority, signified by the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030). The Government of Canada has announced plans to support the UN Decade, a decision that is in alignment with several bold government initiatives including (but not exclusive to) the Oceans Protection Plan, Ocean Plastics Charter, and Conservation 2020’s efforts to reach 10% marine protected areas by 2020. Each of these initiatives (and others), and the upcoming UN Decade, recognize the critical importance of ocean conservation, science and health, as well as growing a sustainable ocean economy over the decades to come. A unifying pan-Canadian strategy is critical to foster systemic change in the way Canadians, on a personal, daily basis, relate to the ocean – a relation known as “Ocean Literacy” (OL). Funded by MITACS Postdoctoral funding this IEL project is part of a Pan-Canadian study and consultation on ocean literacy. This research is developing a national OL strategy through a multisectoral regional consultative approach, guided by three questions:
1) What is the current state of OL in Canada?
2) What are the current gaps and barriers, by region and sector? And,
3) What are key recommendations and implementation plan(s) to advance OL?
See — Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition https://colcoalition.ca
Project title: Environmental Learning in Botanical Gardens
Collaborator: Vancouver Botanical Gardens Society (VBGA)
Humans are living in the world unsustainably, changing the global climate, overconsuming, while remaining detached from the very ecosystems we are a part of. This is especially true within large urban centres such as Vancouver where for many , meaningful access to natural spaces is made difficult or is constrained by cultural and /or economic factors. Still, botanical gardens such as those managed by the VBGA have a unique opportunity to both develop and implement formal and informal programming to remedy this situation: having locations directly imbedded within the urban fabric of a major city while also benefitting from a wealth of biological and cultural diversity in their living collections. With the establishment of the VBGA fellowship program (managed by SFU’s Institute for Environmental Learning), the VanDusen Gardens and the Bloedel Conservatory are unique sites for a vibrant and expanding research program which will study the potential and efficacy of using these unique spaces as locations for diverse and inclusive environmental learning (for both K-12 students and their teachers). The project is undertaking community engaged research and works collaboratively with the VBGA to formulate a program of participatory action research.
Project title: Internship in Adaptive Management Curriculum Development
Collaborator: ESSA Technologies Ltd. (ESSA)
ESSA is an employee-owned Canadian environmental consulting company with offices in British Columbia and Ontario. Funded by MITACS, the project is building on an emerging collaboration between the Institute for Environmental Learning and ESSA and will see a specialized internship working closely with ESSA’s senior staff, focusing on Adaptive Management (AM) curriculum and learning module development. Adaptive Management has been the cornerstone of ESSA’s work since its inception in 1979, and informs the mindset the company brings to all of its projects. AM can be described as a systematic, practical approach for improving environmental management policies and practices. It provides a structured process for learning which management actions best meet management objectives, and for reducing uncertainty. ESSA’s real-world experience over four decades has allowed the company to expand and enhance the original academic formulations of Adaptive Management, and the research team is leveraging its stores of experiential knowledge to establish an AM curriculum for environmental professionals. The project includes the presentation of ideas/concepts related to curriculum and learning module development, the writing of learning module content, and elements of graphic design.