ECOP Canada

Stories from Early Career Ocean Professionals

Photo Credit: Andrew McCurdy

The ocean covers over 70% of the planet and is the determining life system that connects us all. It provides clean air, food, and medicine; it regulates weather and climate; it is home to countless species. Culture, transportation, economies, livelihoods, and recreation, all have ties to the ocean. 

We’re currently living in a period of significant change and complex challenges. This demands new and creative ways of thinking and acting. Unprecedented attention is on the global ocean, generating exciting opportunities and pathways for innovation and collaboration. 

We’ve brought together a dynamic team of early career ocean professionals (ECOP) from across Canada and around the world to share with students their personal stories of what ignited their passion for the ocean and how they embarked on their career paths. You’ll gain insights into the nature of their work, the challenges they face, and the burning questions that drive their curiosity. 

This captivating series will span the entire 2023-2024 school year with one presentation a month from September to May, and 5 presentations (one per day) during Ocean Week Canada (World Ocean Week) in early June. 

This series is a collaborative initiative of ECOP Canada, the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition, Exploring By The Seat Of Your Pants, and is made possible in part through the Government of Canada’s  Oceans Management Contribution Program.

Upcoming Events

Event #10

Exploring New Pathways: Creativity, Communication, and Ocean Conservation

June 3rd @ 12:00pm eastern

Meghan (Meg) Callon is a passionate science communicator serving as the Communications and Design Manager for the Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition. Armed with a background in zoology, animal behavior, and environmental visual communication, Meg is dedicated to bridging arts and science in ocean conservation. Her professional focus is on closing the gap between science and society, deepening understanding of the interconnectedness between ocean systems and our everyday lives. She encourages the next generation to blend their diverse interests and explore creative pathways that can lead to unexpected career opportunities. In her spare time, Meg enjoys playing musical instruments, engaging in sports, and spending time outdoors with her three-legged dog, Ollie.


Event #11

Two-eyed Seeing for Conservation with Kianna Bear-Hetherington

June 4th @ 12:00pm eastern

Kianna Bear-Hetherington is a proud Wolastoqey woman from the community of Sitansisk (St. Mary’s First Nation) and is the Fisheries Technician for the Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick (WNNB). Being proudly of the Wolastoqiyik, she grew up with a special relationship to the land and all living things in it. She attended the University of New Brunswick where she obtained her BSc in Environmental and Natural Resources with a Major in Water Resource Management. In her role with WNNB, Kianna actively contributes to various fisheries files and environmental monitoring initiatives, playing a pivotal role in advancing Wolastoqey-led management practices in the province. She is passionate about exploring ways Indigenous and Western knowledge can be used for the benefit of all, known as Two-Eyed Seeing.


Event #12

Jawsome! Sharks of Canada’s Coasts with Alanna Canaran

June 5th @ 12:00pm eastern

Alanna is a passionate science communicator, ocean educator, and PADI scuba diving and mermaid instructor. She recently was featured on CBC The Nature of Things episode Jawsome: Canada’s Great White Sharks. Alanna will be joining us from Nova Scotia to talk about the growing media and public interest surrounding the presence of great white sharks in Atlantic Canada. Alanna shares her unique perspectives on the joys and challenges of exploring the underwater world and showcases how diving and responsible science communication can foster a deeper appreciation for the ocean and its inhabitants.


Environmental Law to protect our waters with Kanisha Acharya-Patel

June 7th @ 12:00pm eastern

Kanisha Acharya-Patel (she/her) is a passionate environmentalist dedicated to using the law to advance social and environmental justice. Kanisha has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Conservation from the University of British Columbia and a law degree from Dalhousie University with specializations in environmental law and Aboriginal and Indigenous law. Kanisha works with the Women’s Healthy Environments Network (non-profit organization) to raise awareness about the links between environmental and human health. She advocates for stronger laws and policies that reduce our exposure to harmful toxins in our environment and better protect our right to a healthy environment. Her work illustrates the connections between all of our waterways, and how our small actions can have big impacts!


Past Events

Event #1

Bringing Back the wild with Kyle Armstrong

September 18th @ 1:00pm eastern

Kyle Armstrong is a restoration ecologist and is the Executive Director of the Peninsula Streams and Shorelines Society. PSS and friends work to protect and restore aquatic and coastal ecosystems across Southern Vancouver Island through Community Stewardship, Research, and Environmental Education. Kyle is a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) with the Society of Ecological Restoration’s professional association and in addition to coastal British Columbia, has worked in conservation in South America and Southern Africa. He is passionate about restoration and enhancement of Social Ecological Systems. This will be the first of our Early Career Ocean Professional series happening every month!


Event #2

Storytelling to save the oceans with Rosie Poirier

October 16th @ 1:00pm eastern

Rosie is a marine scientist, underwater photographer and an artist. She works primarily in the field of sustainable resource management and conservation. Rosie has spent many years doing field work with a variety of marine animals from sharks to whales to fish. She recently completed a year as the North American Our-World Underwater Scholar studying marine resource management projects around the world. Now she focuses on conservation strategy and accelerating programs of action in the sustainability sector. Working with both non-profits and industry to help communities improve the ways they interact with the ocean. 


Event #3

Tackling Plastic Pollution with Shoreline Cleanups with Angela Cumming

November 20th @ 1:00pm eastern

Angela Cumming is a passionate outreach and conservation professional working to tackle plastic pollution through Shoreline Cleanups with Ocean Wise. Angela has taught scuba diving and marine conservation around the world, and is now proudly working in conservation in Canada! Currently, she organizes shoreline cleanups for volunteers across the country to tackle plastic pollution on the ground and contribute to Shoreline Cleanup’s data. Litter data is collected at every shoreline cleanup, and informs researchers, industries, and even government policies to reduce plastic!


Event #4

Coral Restoration and Diversity in Ocean Spaces with Aneri Garg

December 18th @ 1:00pm eastern

Aneri is a Marine Ecologist, Science Communicator, Artist and Entrepreneur living in Huu-ay-aht First Nations territory on the West coast of Vancouver Island. As a queer, cis, BIPOC, woman with a disability she is an advocate for Inclusion, Equity, Justice and Accessibility for all in Ocean Spaces. She loves to share stories about her research on coral reef restoration, teach yoga, spend time in and on the water with her puppy, bake sweet treats, and forage for mushrooms in the forest.


Event #5

Supporting the Ocean in Style: How You Can Be An Oceans Warrior

January 15th @ 1:00pm eastern

Mark is an ocean advocate, working to advance campaigns and initiatives that promote ocean health and prevent ocean deterioration. He has been involved with Sustainable Ocean Alliance for six years. Mark founded SOA’s inaugural Youth Policy Advisory Council with 20 other international ocean policy experts. They led campaigns to elevate youth calls-to-action for ocean and climate policy action, and they campaigned against deep-sea mining. Mark has been a fierce advocate against deep-sea mining in his role with SOA and the Jason Momoa-narrated film Deep Rising. He has led activations against deep-sea mining in DC, Hawai’i, and Vancouver. He now works to advance community-building initiatives for communities across North America in the pursuit of action on ocean, climate, and sustainable fashion with his advocacy consulting group, BlueGreen Generation.


Event #6

Diving to Greater Depths with Simona Auteri

February 19th @ 1:00pm eastern

Simona Auteri is a World Record Freediver and athlete of the Italian National Team for Apnea Outdoor (FIPSAS). Beyond her passion for freediving, Simona’s journey extends into architecture, entrepreneurship, and a commitment to helping others unlock their potential.

Simona stumbled into freediving in 2018 and found herself as a World Record Freediver by 2022, when she achieved notable success in the Italian outdoor freediving scene, securing two Italian Champion Titles and breaking two CMAS World Records. The unexpected journey continued with appearances at the 2023 Freediving World Championships in Roatan, Honduras, where she secured 4th and 5th places and in Lake Garda, Italy, where she earned the title of Italian Vice Champion in Constant Weight Monofin.


Event #7

Wings Across the Changing Coasts: The Epic Odyssey of Shorebirds Pacific Flyway Migration

March 18th @ 1:00pm eastern

Maria Schoenbeck is a fellow at Cornell University’ Ornithology Lab. As part of the Coastal Solutions Program, Maria is actively involved in modeling coastal vulnerability in two protected areas on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. Simultaneously, she is carrying out shorebird monitoring program and designing a participatory mangrove restoration program, including pilot projects that incorporate sustainable tourism and mangrove forestry incentives. Besides, Maria is the president of SOA and the national coordinator of the ECOP for Guatemala.


Event #8

Blue Ecopreneurship – Live from the UN Ocean Decade Conference in Barcelona

April 9th @ 1:30pm eastern

Did you know that no matter where in the world you are, your everyday actions impact the ocean? Join Amanda Horn, founder of Loless Blue Beauty, a water-safe beauty and personal care startup rooted in ocean conservation. She is a creative brand marketer, ocean leader, professional scuba diver, and freediver whose work is focused on inspiring people to become more connected to and care for all ‘bodies of water’ (the name of her podcast).

For this presentation, Amanda will be joining classrooms live from the United Nations Ocean Decade Conference taking place in Barcelona, Spain where over 1500 delegates from around the world will be meeting to discuss how she is working with scientists to develop eco-conscious beauty products that are safe for our skin, the ocean and the freshwater ways that lead there. As an early career ocean professional, Amanda will be participating and exploring the intersection of sustainable blue business practices, marketing and communication strategies, and ocean education to inspire a global society to take collective action.

Dive in and ask questions about the goals of the Ocean Decade (2021-2030), the Conference gathering in Barcelona, and the role and impact that young people can have in ocean conservation efforts. 


Event #9

Thalassophile Project: How We Empower All Wavemakers By Combining Senses & Science

May 20th @ 1:00pm eastern

Rada is a passionate thalassophile (a lover and friend of the Ocean), Young Ocean Advocate, wavemaker, and explorer from Bulgaria. She is a Marine Science student at the University of Exeter in the UK, focusing her research on ocean bioacoustics, as well as emotional, ecological and ocean literacy. Rada is committed to ensuring universal access to knowledge and resources for ocean conservation, as she believes it strengthens the human-Ocean connection. This ethos inspired her to create the Thalassophile Project — an initiative dedicated to making marine science and ocean literacy accessible, especially to d/Deaf and visually impaired people, through multisensory Blue Education.