Ocean Sense

Local Observations. Global Connections.

Ocean Sense is a novel education program that develops skills in analysing, understanding, and sharing of ocean data and knowledge. By exploring local observations and global connections, this program invites communities, educators, and students to collaborate in discovering the ocean through Ocean Networks Canada observatories.


The ocean and humans are connected in many ways. We depend on the ocean for more than you might realize, from food resources and transportation, to a spiritual connection and the oxygen we breathe. As coastal populations continue to grow and our use of and impacts to the ocean increase, it is vital that global citizens develop an Ocean Sense: an understanding that the health of the ocean reflects the health of the planet.

Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), an initiative of the University of Victoria, develops, operates, and maintains cabled ocean observatory systems. These observatories supply continuous power and Internet connectivity to subsea instruments including cameras, water quality sensors and underwater microphones.

Ocean Sense uses data and resources from Ocean Networks Canada's coastal and deep-sea observatories to provide a unique platform for learners and educators to dive into the ocean and explore the world beneath the waves. The instruments mounted on each observatory extend our senses underwater, like our eyes and ears in the sea, allowing us to discover and understand ocean processes. The program includes lesson plans, online resources, collaborative opportunities and in-person events to help educators and students gain insight into current oceanographic research and incorporate ocean science and technology into the classroom in exciting and effective ways.

Collaborative development

All materials in the Ocean Sense program are openly accessible and are developed in collaboration with program participants. The core lesson plans, introducing the instrument technology, data analysis, ocean science concepts and connections with Indigenous knowledge are suitable for grades 6–12. Lessons are aligned to specific learning objectives in the provincial/territorial curricula of British Columbia, Alberta, and Nunavut. Your contributions, comments and improvements to the program are welcome. Contact us to join the community of Canadian educators contributing to Ocean Sense.

Ocean Science Symposium

Participants in the Ocean Sense program are invited to an annual in-person event at the University of Victoria (limited funding available). Through hands-on activities and interactive sessions, educators and students connect with each other, graduate students and scientists to share their passion for ocean science and technology. Click here for more information on this flagship event!

Taking part

Educators and students are invited to join the conversation about ocean data and science, Indigenous knowledge and science in community.

Youth Science Ambassador Program

Youth Science Ambassador Program: Connecting youth with their local ocean environment, ocean data, and place-based Indigenous knowledge

The Youth Science Ambassador Program is an innovative initiative Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) is championing; connecting youth from local communities with world-leading ocean science from ONC’s observatories and the place-based Indigenous knowledge of the ocean that exists within their region. Engaging both rural and urban Indigenous communities, this Program is all about engaging and inspiring the next generation of ocean scientists, marine resource managers, and environmental stewards by connecting them with their local ocean environment.

The program is facilitated by a local youth in a variety of communities along coastal British Columbia and in the Canadian Arctic, adapting the Program to meet the needs and interests of their community. Hands-on learning activities and research projects are co-developed with key community educators and knowledge holders, emphasising a large focus on the place-based Indigenous Knowledge held within their territory. The Youth Science Ambassadors work to connect students and classes with ONC data (from local community observatories) and Indigenous Knowledge through the development of enquiry projects relevant to their local ocean environment. These enquiry based projects are developed surrounding the interests of students and priorities identified by the communities. Although the projects vary greatly depending on the community, they all have a common ocean thread: making local observations, global connections.

Join us online

Be part of the conversation about ocean data. Share your discoveries using the hashtag #OceanSense.


Support for the Ocean Sense program is provided by NSERC PromoScience, Canada Foundation for Innovation, and Polar Knowledge Canada.