Research and Community Outreach Assistant (Contract)
Vancouver Aquarium
British Columbia

The B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network (BCCSN) is a program of Ocean Wise’s Coastal Ocean Research Institute, a citizen science initiative that collects sightings of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) and sea turtles from mariners and coastal residents for conservation-based research.

Based on Saturna Island and in collaboration with the Saturna Island Marine Research and Education Society (SIMRES), the BCCSN Research and Community Outreach Assistant will, through a variety of outreach efforts, help promote the BCCSN and encourage local mariners, residents and visitors to report their sightings and follow the “Be Whale Wise” guidelines when out on the water. This individual will be responsible for collaborating with SIMRES to plan appropriate outreach events, to recruit volunteers, to conduct marina visits to educate boaters, and to deliver youth and public programming on cetaceans. They will also conduct a shore-based study of harbour porpoise habitat use and behaviour in relation to vessel presence, and represent the BC Cetacean Sightings Network and Ocean Wise at public events and during media interviews.

Please note the following important information:
This position is located on Saturna Island, BC. The successful applicant will be responsible for securing their own accommodation and transportation.
This is a two-month summer position with an expected start date of July 8th, 2019.


Assists with the shore-based harbour porpoise habitat usage study by:

Recruiting and managing a team of community volunteers (5-10) to conduct porpoise research;
Assisting with and supervising data collection;
Deploying and retrieving hydrophones and using them to make recordings;
Managing and analyzing data and summarizing findings.

Helps build public awareness of cetaceans around the Southern Gulf Islands by:

Conducting mariner outreach and education by coordinating and undertaking Dock Talks at marinas;
Planning, preparing and attending outreach events such as festivals and other special events around the Gulf Islands to promote the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network and to build public awareness of cetaceans;
Conducting outreach to youth on marine mammals and marine conservation by working with local science camps and other organizations targeting young people;
Developing and maintaining professional links and collaborations with conservation groups, government agencies, ecotourism companies, and commercial and sport fishermen;
Responding to enquiries from staff, members of the public, and the media.

Consciously desires to improve the Ocean Wise and its processes by:

Promptly aiding in Emergency Protocols;
Maintaining and supporting organizational safety standards;
Continually improving our impact on the environment and greening of operations through support of EMS protocols;
Actively demonstrating Ocean Wise’s values and code of conduct;
Performing additional duties as required.


This job is funded by the Canada Summer Jobs program. Mandatory requirements are:

Between 15-30 years of age
Eligible to work in Canada
Education & Experience

Minimum of two years of post-secondary education in biology, natural sciences, environmental studies, marine science, or related field;
Experience delivering educational programs or talks;
Experience with data collection and management;
Valid BC driver’s license;
Project management experience an asset;
Supervisory experience an asset;
First Aid certification is an asset;
Volunteer recruitment and management an asset.


Strong organizational skills;
Knowledge of marine mammal biology and ecology;
Outgoing, energetic, and comfortable with public speaking and engaging the public;
Self-motivated and able to work well under minimal supervision;
Intermediate skills in word processing, database, and spreadsheet software;
Excellent project management and time management skills;
Ability to learn and adapt in a constantly changing environment;
Resourceful, a problem-solver, skilled in meeting priorities and able to adapt to unexpected situations;
Excellent writing skills;
Ability and maturity to deal with a wide variety of ages and personalities.

Working Conditions and requirements

The incumbent will work in a shared office environment with the usual ergonomic risks;
During outreach events, candidate will be exposed to sun, season weather, noise and large crowds;
During shore-based research, incumbent will be exposed to sun, season weather, and rough terrain;
Will be required to lift up to 25kg;
Candidate must own or have access to a vehicle for work-related travel (mileage and gas compensated);
Candidate must be able to travel with the region, sometimes overnight, and to occasionally work evenings and weekends;
Flexibility and availability in schedule are required during the week, including evenings, weekends, and holidays;
Residency on Saturna Island an asset.