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Around town: Ocean Literacy in Canada Conference

Around town: Ocean Literacy in Canada Conference

CaNOE, the Canadian Network for Ocean Education, is holding its first Ocean Literacy in Canada Conference in Vancouver this week.

Ocean literacy? I hear you ask, isn’t that all Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Old Man and the Sea, Moby Dick…? Well, yes, not quite and no, in my opinion.

Read on for my convoluted reasoning.

As defined by UNESCO, literacy is the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.”

According to CaNOE’s website, “ocean literacy refers to understanding the ocean’s influence on you and your influence on the ocean.” Stimulating ocean literacy, which itself is a global movement designed to increase the number of people who “speak ocean,” aims to spread awareness and understanding of just how vital the world’s oceans are to the health of the planet. CaNOE’s first ocean literacy conference seeks to bring together educators, scientists and other interested ocean fans to encourage learning, dialogue and communication in this area.

CaNOE’s mission is to connect Canadians coast to coast, to increase our own understanding of the oceans that surround us and how we can sustain them. There’s certainly a lot of sea and a whole lot of coastline for Canadians to interact with, right on their doorsteps (okay, maybe not for those on the prairies), and a lot to learn about. The ocean literacy conference program, with its poster presentations, discussions and keynotes in conjunction with a series of local field trips to see our Vancouver oceanside in action, will inspire a lot of ocean-literate ambassadors to reach out into their own communities.

So, no—not all Hemingway, but (and here is where the book links come in) a big part of education and awareness revolves around engaging the audience. And here at Talk Science to Me, we believe strongly in the power of storytelling, taking a narrative approach to engage an audience with science.

When did you personally fall in love with an ocean? Was it a holiday? Did you grow up on a beach? Or did you fall for the charms of an aquatic tale, setting sail on your first voyage fresh from Swallows and Amazons or maybe a sub-aqua bus ride? Or a blue whale, perhaps?

Did the power of a story charm you into the life aquatic?


Ocean Literacy in Canada Conference 2015
June 17–18
Sheraton Wall Centre, 1088 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC

[Note: the conference is fully booked, but there are still openings for the field trips: book online here.]

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