Sea Smart: Inspiring Girls to Learn About the Ocean

For the young girl* in your life interested in the ocean, there’s only one week left of Sea Smart’s Girls Only Marine Biologist in Training (MBIT) online camp.

*Marine Biologist in Training camps are for girls only to help address the vast underrepresentation of girls in science-related fields. Sea Smart embraces an inclusive definition of “women” and “girls” that includes people who identify as women, girls, trans, gender queer, gender non-binary, Two-Spirit, and gender questioning. An inclusive environment means all participants feel safe and supported however they may identify.

At SCWIST, we love this initiative and wanted to further highlight the online camp by asking Sea Smart a few questions.

What’s the origin story of MBIT? How did it get started?

Sea Smart is a women-led STEM organization that cares deeply about empowering girls to pursue their love for STEM. Although marine biology has high female representation, there are many marine-related careers, such as oceanography and engineering, that have low female representation. We created our program to get girls excited about marine sciences and be exposed to female role models in a diversity of marine STEM fields.

How has the camp adapted to an online version?

The girls in our program are learning the same overall content from our day camps, but we’ve adapted it to have fun games and activities that make use of engaging digital platforms. For example, the presentation portion of the camp is delivered using Kahoot, an interactive trivia game that kids and teachers love! We are also creating a self-led course from the content of our programs so we can continue to educate girls across Canada and beyond.

Your website states that girls will “learn about marine ecology, scientific research, and how to pursue a career in marine sciences.” In more detail, what does the training cover?

Girls in our camp learn about the diversity of life in the ocean, including the invertebrates that we can easily spot and monitor on beaches. Participants develop a mini-research project to learn about the scientific method and present their findings on the last day of camp. These projects are student-led and can be done outdoors or indoors.

There have been so many creative research projects so far! One of our campers counted the number of vehicles that passed in front of their building, separating the categories into vehicle type (car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle) and colour, and presented on the trends that were found. Another camper monitored the butterflies in her yard to determine which plant they seemed to prefer. She recorded over 40 butterflies landing in her yard, where most chose to land on the lavender.

We also invite female professionals in marine STEM fields as guest speakers in our sessions to share their work and answer questions. This is an opportunity for young girls interested in marine sciences to learn first-hand from an expert in their field and to be inspired by these fantastic role models.

If you know any girls aged 8 to 12 who would love this program, please let them know. Registration is open, with the next camp starting August 17th.