Reflections from a Marine Climate Change Intern


Since the beginning of October, I have had the pleasure of being the Marine Climate Change Intern at CPAWS-BC. Although today is my last day, I have a smile on my face as I reflect upon my time here.

The first day of my internship started with travelling to the community of Masset, in Haida Gwaii. Visiting Haida Gwaii and Prince Rupert during a week of travelling with Sabine Jessen (CPAWS National Manager of Oceans and Great Freshwater Lakes Program) was a highlight of my internship. It was amazing to get to attend the Haida Marine Advisory Committee meetings as well as the PNCIMA meetings in Prince Rupert and observe the process of marine planning at two different spatial scales.

Getting back from the trip, I dove head first into researching how climate change has been incorporated into marine planning initiatives around the world. Through this research and discussions with climate change experts, I was able to compile heaps of interesting information and innovative ideas about how marine planners and managers have and can strategically adapt to our changing climate. Some of the most interesting aspects of this work was the conversations with experts, gathering their insights and getting them to think creatively about innovative ways to adapt to climate change.

I then began working with World Wildlife Fund Canada on putting together some of the pieces of an ecosystem focused Marine Climate Adaptation Report for BC. I produced a case study entitled: Shellfish Harvesting in BC: Responding to a Changing Climate. This project enabled me to learn a great deal about shellfish biology and harvesting in BC and apply what I had learned through my research and conversations on climate change adaptation to a particular situation: shellfish harvesting.

Before I started the internship, I knew climate change has been a tough topic to deal with for both researchers and management. However, through this internship, I gained an even greater appreciation for the difficulty in tackling this very difficult problem of designing strategies to deal with climate change impacts. Yet I also learned that there are some amazingly intelligent people working in the field, and it has been a pleasure to meet and interact with them.

It has also been a pleasure to be a part of CPAWS-BC, and be able to each day come into an office with such friendly, fun, and environmentally passionate people. It has been great learning about the all of the things that CPAWS-BC is involved in and how the organization takes on the mission of constantly working to protect BC’s natural treasures. Thanks everyone at CPAWS-BC for having me as part of the team and I look forward to staying involved!
 

- Erica Olson