In the heart of Halifax, nestled against the picturesque backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, a passionate marine conservationist has been quietly making waves. Meet Emily Baker, an advocate for marine life and a dedicated volunteer with Back to the Sea Society. In this blog post, we dive into Emily's journey – from exploring the depths of the ocean to inspiring visitors at the Back to the Sea Centre!
Hailing from Halifax, Emily embarked on a remarkable journey that led her to the enchanting world of marine invertebrates. Armed with a degree in Marine Biology from Dalhousie University, she delved deep into the study of marine life, particularly captivated by the intricate lives of marine invertebrates. "During my undergrad, I became interested in marine invertebrates – they are such a fascinating group of animals and are SO important to our marine ecosystems," Emily explains.
Emily’s passion led her to the BIO (Bedford Institute of Oceanography), where she contributed to a benthic ecology lab focused on studying deep-sea corals and sponges that inhabit our offshore waters. "I got to see a lot of marine life that lives FAR below the 'blue blanket' that Back to the Sea aims to lift!" Emily enthuses.
Seeking broader horizons, Emily ventured to New Zealand, earning a Master of Marine Conservation, and gaining a global perspective on marine conservation efforts. Returning to Halifax, her hunger for knowledge persisted, and she now pursues a PhD in Applied Sciences at Saint Mary's University, focusing on coastal restoration – a testament to her unwavering commitment to preserving and revitalizing our marine environments.
Motivation: Igniting the Flame
Although Emily's memory of her initial encounter with Back to the Sea might be hazy, her commitment to the organization remains unwavering. "I can't remember how I learned about Back to the Sea! [but] I do know that I volunteered for the first time in 2018, and I loved it! Since then, I've come back as often as I can, and I'm hoping to continue volunteering in the future," Emily recalls. A childhood fascination with touch tanks ignited her desire to contribute to an organization that brings the wonders of the ocean to life for both locals and visitors alike. With Nova Scotia's rich maritime history intertwined with the ocean, Emily recognizes the importance of fostering a deeper connection between the community and its marine heritage.
Volunteer Experience: A Touch of Wonder
At Back to the Sea, Emily has found her niche as a touch tank interpreter, a role that allows her to share her passion and knowledge with a diverse range of individuals. "My volunteer role has primarily been as a touch tank interpreter - showing people the animals, answering questions, and sharing cool facts about the species they are seeing," Emily explains. Whether engaging with children, curious grandparents, lifelong locals, or inquisitive tourists, Emily finds immense joy in showcasing the marvels of ocean life.
"One of the most rewarding aspects of my volunteer experience is when people ask if something in the touch tanks was really found right here in Nova Scotia - and I love watching the looks on their faces when I say 'absolutely yes!' Because I know that the next time they are at the beach, or near a tide pool, they will know what they might find," Emily shares with a smile.
Personal Stories and Anecdotes: A Glimpse of Magic
Among the countless anecdotes, one heartwarming tale stands out. "There are so many that it's hard to choose! Many visitors (of all ages) are initially hesitant to touch the animals, and then by the end of their visit they have touched everything! Being part of that shift is a lot of fun!" Emily chuckles. However, her favourite story involves a young hermit crab enthusiast: "A kid had come in who absolutely loved hermit crabs... both of us watched a hermit crab move from one shell to another one! Neither he nor I had EVER seen that before, so it was super exciting for both of us. And it was wonderful to see a kid's patient observation skills rewarded by Mother Nature!"
Conclusion: A Sea of Possibilities
Emily's journey from studying deep-sea corals, to inspiring young and old minds at Back to the Sea exemplifies the power of education and community engagement in nurturing a love for marine life. Through her contributions, Emily continues to bridge the gap between the mysterious depths of the ocean and the eager hearts of those who seek to explore its wonders.
Inspired by Emily's story? We invite you to join the Back to the Sea family and embark on your own voyage of discovery. Together, we can lift the 'blue blanket' that veils our marine treasures and empower generations to come.
Reach out to our Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com, or apply to volunteer using the form on our website!