Ma­rine Geo­mat­ics

Nova Sco­tia Com­mu­nity Col­lege

The Coast - Career Minded - - SPONSOR CONTENT -

The women I’m work­ing with are awe-in­spir­ing and ex­tremely ac­com­plished in the fields of ocean ex­plo­ration, science, scuba div­ing, movie-mak­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and ed­u­ca­tion.

Kit­rina God­ding

I’m bring­ing at­ten­tion to cli­mate change in the Arc­tic.

What drew you to the Ma­rine Geo­mat­ics pro­gram at NSCC?

To take the pro­gram at NSCC you have to ei­ther be in the sur­vey pro­gram at COGS, NSCC’s Cen­tre for Ge­o­graphic Sciences, or have a pre­ferred Bach­e­lor’s de­gree. I had just fin­ished an un­der­grad in ge­ol­ogy and geog­ra­phy at Saint Mary’s Univer­sity, but that wasn’t a de­fined ca­reer. I went into Ma­rine Geo­mat­ics be­cause it was a way of gain­ing hands-on knowl­edge, and I en­joy study­ing any­thing re­lated to the ocean.

What was par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram like?

The pro­gram was ex­actly what I wanted. Ma­rine geo­mat­ics is map­ping the ocean floor. You learn the back­ground class work, but you also go to field school where you work hands-on with the equip­ment for the job you’ll be do­ing. It’s ex­pe­ri­ence that’s di­rectly ap­pli­ca­ble to what I’ve done pro­fes­sion­ally.

You’re a part of the all-fe­male Sedna Epic Ex­pe­di­tion Team. Can you tell me what it’s like be­ing part of this unique project?

The Sedna Epic Ex­pe­di­tion is pre­par­ing to mount an epic snorkel re­lay of the North­west Pas­sage, dur­ing the sum­mers of 2018 and 2019. The women I’m work­ing with are awe-in­spir­ing and ex­tremely ac­com­plished in the fields of ocean ex­plo­ration, science, scuba div­ing, movie-mak­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and ed­u­ca­tion. Our goal is to bring global at­ten­tion to cli­mate change in the Arc­tic, in­clud­ing dis­ap­pear­ing sea ice and changes in the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment. We’re also work­ing with Inuit com­mu­ni­ties to de­liver hands-on, ex­pe­ri­en­tial ocean ed­u­ca­tion aimed at em­pow­er­ing young girls and women to tackle cli­mate change and so­ci­etal change in the Arc­tic.

What’s it like work­ing with the Inuit com­mu­ni­ties on the front lines of cli­mate change?

I was part of Sedna’s 2016 ex­pe­di­tion to Nu­navut, which fol­lowed the proof-of-con­cept ex­pe­di­tion in 2014 to Labrador and Green­land. This past sum­mer, we de­liv­ered our in­no­va­tive Bring­ing the Ocean to Eye Level out­reach pro­gram in Iqaluit, on Baf­fin Is­land. We set up mo­bile aquar­i­ums that tem­po­rar­ily housed lo­cal sea crit­ters and we ran un­der­wa­ter ro­bot-build­ing work­shops for youth. We learned that many Inuit are brought up to fear the wa­ter, likely be­cause it’s the lead­ing cause of death in the Arc­tic. In the win­ter months, peo­ple fall through the ice while hunt­ing and fish­ing. And in the sum­mer months, peo­ple die in boat­ing ac­ci­dents. The Inuit gen­er­ally don’t swim, and many mem­bers of the com­mu­nity hadn’t seen the sea life in Fro­bisher Bay or in their back­yard, so to speak.

Sedna’s sci­en­tific dive team col­lected species of small fishes and in­ver­te­brates for the aquar­i­ums, en­abling chil­dren and el­ders to ob­serve th­ese crit­ters for the first time. Tak­ing the con­cept of “bring­ing the ocean to eye level” one step fur­ther, Sedna’s sea women men­tored 10 Inuit and north­ern girls and young women, lead­ing them on snorkel sa­faris in Fro­bisher Bay. It’s been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, and I look for­ward to re­turn­ing to the Arc­tic in the sum­mer of 2018.

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