MERS Marine Mammal Naturalist Course - ONLINE

  • 9 Feb 2021
  • 4 Mar 2021
  • 8 sessions
  • 9 Feb 2021, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM (PST)
  • 11 Feb 2021, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM (PST)
  • 16 Feb 2021, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM (PST)
  • 18 Feb 2021, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM (PST)
  • 23 Feb 2021, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM (PST)
  • 25 Feb 2021, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM (PST)
  • 2 Mar 2021, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM (PST)
  • 4 Mar 2021, 7:00 PM 10:00 PM (PST)
  • Zoom (online)
  • 0


Registration is closed

In light of the need for continued caution, social solidarity, and doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, we have moved our Marine Mammal Naturalist Course to an online format via Zoom.


The topics covered will remain the same as our in-person 3-day courses (see below). However, we have spread the content over more days to manage Zoom-fatigue. 

Please note that attendance for all sessions is mandatory as is completion of an online test. Successfully meeting these criteria will lead to a certificate of completion.   

Marine Education and Research Society course on BC's whale species and seals, sea lions, dolphins, porpoises and otters too! 

The aim of this course is to enable more people to inform and inspire marine mammal conservation.  This is intensive, crash training for those working (or hoping to work) as whale watch naturalists, kayak guides, park staff, or others interested in gaining a deeper knowledge of the natural history and conservation of BC's marine mammals. 

**Must be at least 18 years old to attend the course**

If you have any questions, please contact

Cost: $300 per person
($200 non-refundable; remainder refundable up to January 11th, 2021)

Location:  Online via Zoom

Instructors: Christie McMillan, Jackie Hildering, Caitlin Birdsall and Leah Thorpe. See bios at this link. 


  • This course will be taught on Zoom. Download of the free Zoom app on your desktop, laptop, or mobile device will be necessary in order for you to participate fully in the course and have access to the interactive components.
  • You must have a very good internet connection as we must see you on video throughout the course. Participation is mandatory to become certified!

Online Course Requirements:

  1. You must have the Zoom app downloaded on the device you intend to use. The Zoom app is free and easy to use. Our course is optimized for the desktop or laptop experience.
  2. You must have internet access.
  3. You must have a working video camera, microphone, and speakers (on your device or you can use a webcam, headset or earbuds connected to your device).

Schedule (note that there may be adjustments in the order that content is delivered):

Day 1 - Tuesday, February 9th, 7 PM to 10 PM

  • Introductions

  • Marine Biodiversity of BC - from plankton to giants

  • Classification of Marine Mammals 

Day 2 - Thursday, February 11th, 7 PM to 10 PM

  • The Value of Being a Marine Mammal Naturalist  (includes tips on effective interpretive delivery)
  • Seal and Sea Lions- natural history and conservation concerns

Day 3 - Tuesday, February 16th, 7 PM to 10 PM

  • BC Killer Whale Populations - natural history and conservation concerns

Day 4 - Thursday, February 18th, 7 PM to 10 PM

  • Grey Whales - natural history and conservation concerns
  • Minke and Fin Whales - MERS research, natural history and conservation concerns
  • Dolphins and Porpoises - natural history and conservation concerns

Day 5 - Tuesday, February 23rd, 7 PM to 10 PM

  • The Return of Giants - MERS research into Humpback Whales

Day 6 - Thursday, February 25th, 7 PM to 10 PM

  • Sea Otters - natural history and conservation concerns

  • Identifying Marine Mammals in the Field

Day 7 - Tuesday, March 2nd, 7 PM to 10 PM

  • Man vs. Marine Mammal - summary of the complex human history with marine mammals

Day 8 - Thursday, March 4th, 7 PM to 10 PM

  • Content remaining from previous sessions

  • Evaluation and feedback

All photos on this site provided by and © Jared Towers, Christie McMillan, Jackie Hildering, and Heidi Krajewsky, unless otherwise indicated.
Photos are not to be used without permission.

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