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Lucy Wilkie of Port Williams is one of 40 youth leaders from across Canada involved in the Ocean Bridge program. The aim is to connect young people across the country to improve ocean literacy and volunteerism.
Lucy Wilkie of Port Williams is one of 40 youth leaders from across Canada involved in the Ocean Bridge program. The aim is to connect young people across the country to improve ocean literacy and volunteerism. - Kirk Starratt

WOLFVILLE, NS - Nova Scotia is known as Canada’s ocean playground and a Port Williams resident is doing her part to help ensure that this remains the case for generations to come.

19-year-old Lucy Wilkie said the Ocean Bridge program is an Ocean Wise initiative funded by Canada Service Corps. The year-long program is bringing together 40 youth leaders age 18 to 30 from across Canada in the name of ocean health and conservation.

One component is weekly ocean community service within local communities. Wilkie was at the Wolfville Farmers Market on July 21 promoting some of the ocean health events she has planned for the summer. She urges community members to get involved as much as possible in Ocean Bridge initiatives and with ocean health in general.

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Wilkie said that, growing up in Nova Scotia, she’s always had a great love for the environment and spending time outdoors appreciating nature.

She feels very connected to the oceans and to the planet in general and thought that the Ocean Bridge program would be a way to get more directly involved with helping promote ocean health. It was also a way to make connections with like-minded young people across the country. This is the first year for the program and Wilkie said she hopes it continues.

She said that, the more research she does, the more she is motivated to try to make a difference. Wilkie applied for the Ocean Bridge program while she was travelling abroad earlier this year.

“I’m very grateful that I got accepted and was able to partake in such a great opportunity because it’s opened a lot of doors for me in a lot of different ways. It’s been really inspiring, it’s been a great time for sure,” Wilkie said.

Ocean conservation trips are part of the program. In May, Wilkie and the other 39 youth leaders met up in Haida Gwaii off the coast of British Columbia. They spent 10 days implementing ocean service activities that they co-created with the community beforehand.

Wilkie said it was “an incredible experience” and she’s looking forward to another ocean conservation trip in October, this time to Vancouver. They’ll be doing urban outreach and ocean literacy activities there.

She said one of the greatest threats facing our oceans is plastics. Single-use plastic items present a huge problem. Wilkie is focusing a lot of her community service around this issue. Another is sound pollution having a negative impact on many species of animals that live in the ocean and depend on sound for navigation and communication.

Wilkie said a lot of people are aware that there are problems surrounding ocean health, even if they aren’t aware of the magnitude of these problems or what we can do in our everyday lives to help as individuals.

Wilkie, a graduate of Horton High, will be moving to Montreal in September to start university at McGill. She’ll be studying in the Faculty of Arts.

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

Raising awareness

  • Community ocean health events that Wilkie has planned for this summer include shoreline cleanups in Scots Bay on Aug. 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Huntington Point on Aug. 21 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit Scots Bay Shoreline Cleanup and Huntington Point Shoreline Cleanup on Facebook.
  • There will be free documentary screenings at the Al Whittle Theatre in Wolfville with Albatross showing on July 29 at 7 p.m. and Sonic Sea on Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. For more information or to reserve tickets, visit Free Albatross Screening and Free Sonic Sea Screening on Facebook.
  • Wilkie is also facilitating the Ocean Protection Art Contest as a means to create art and explore ocean conservation. The contest is open to all students in Nova Scotia from grades Primary to 12 and all mediums are welcome. Submissions are being accepted until Oct. 31. For more information, visit Ocean Protection Art Contest on Facebook.

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