MEOPAR dives deeper into ocean plastics with Ocean School partnership

By April 16, 2021April 26th, 2021No Comments

A new learning module on ocean plastics hopes to inspire solutions to the plastic waste crisis

MEOPAR is excited to announce it has partnered with Ocean School to support the development of its next online education module. Ocean School is a ground-breaking collaboration between Dalhousie University and the National Film Board of Canada built to advance ocean literacy in youth and educators. Since 2018, it has used the power of cinematic storytelling, inquiry-based learning and immersive media like augmented reality, virtual reality and 360-video to bring the ocean into classrooms and homes all across Canada.

Preparing the next generation of researchers to be leaders in marine science has been a top priority for MEOPAR since its inception. This partnership allows us to take that mission one step further. Together with Ocean School, we will help expose an even younger generation to the wonders of the ocean, the challenges that face it and many possibilities that lie in a marine research career. In providing curious young people with an evocative way to engage with science—and the people behind the science—we hope to inspire Canada’s future early-career marine researchers, social scientists and engineers.

“MEOPAR’s engagement with Ocean School provides a unique avenue to share some of our network’s new and exciting research results on oceans and coasts with a broad audience across the country,” says MEOPAR’s Associate Scientific Director, Ron Pelot. “Capturing the attention of our young Canadians is essential for sparking their interest in an ocean science career, but also for imbuing them with a sense of the magnificence and yet fragility of the marine environment. The new generation will be key participants in developing and promoting sustainable management of this valuable resource, which is the basis for MEOPAR’s research program.”

This year, with support from MEOPAR, Ocean School is developing new educational material that will dive into why plastics enter our waterways, how they make their way to the ocean and which communities are impacted the most by this issue. Through engaging video and interactive activities, the learner will explore how personal, government, and industry choices about plastics are affecting our ocean and the people who live on it.  This new content will span across Canada and feature Memorial University’s Dr. Max Liboiron—a MEOPAR-funded researcher and the Director of Memorial’s Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR)—as well as research from the Ocean Wise Plastics Lab in British Columbia.

“Plastic is one of the biggest pollution issues of our time, and It touches all of our lives every single day. By working with kids and their teachers we hope to inspire a new generation to help solve this problem, for the ocean, and for our own future,” says Ocean School Scientific Director Boris Worm. “Leveraging MEOPAR’s wide network of cutting-edge scientists will be critical for our success with this module”

While the marine plastics module won’t debut until 2022, we’re proud to share this short film on Dr. Liboiron and CLEAR lab, made in collaboration with Ocean School with footage from Couple 3 Films. An incubator for feminist and anti-colonial methods, CLEAR is changing the future of science—or, as Liboiron says, “how science is done by who”—by promoting humility, equity, accountability and supporting community-based and citizen research.