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MERS Marine Mammal Naturalist Course 2023 - Campbell River

  • 12 May 2023
  • 9:00 AM
  • 15 May 2023
  • 5:00 PM
  • Maritime Heritage Centre (621 Island Highway - Rotary Hall), Campbell River
  • 0


Registration is closed

Course is now full,
please sign up for the waitlist (click "Join waitlist" to the left)
as more spots may become available.

Payment is not required to join the waitlist.

The Marine Education and Research Society is once again offering a course on British Columbia's marine mammals including: whale species, 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 an intensive, in-classroom only, 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.

Please note that attendance for all sessions is mandatory. Successfully meeting this criteria will lead to a Certificate of Participation.  

New this year, we have teamed up with the Interpretive Guides Association of Canada to offer our course sequentially with their 1-day Apprentice Interpreter course. This optional addition will enable participants to earn an “Associate Interpreter with a Marine Mammal Naturalist Specialty”. See below for details on this option.

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

Important notice re. COVID:
We will be monitoring the progress of COVID up until the start of the course and will communicate any healthcare protocols by the end of February 2023. We ask that all participants (attendees and presenters) be prepared to provide proof of vaccination prior to entering the venue and be willing to wear masks during the course.

Cost: $625 per person ($300 non-refundable; remainder refundable up to 4 weeks prior to Course start). Registration is non-transferable.

Course Bursary:
For those who reside in B.C. and have a financial barrier to being able to attend but whose learning will strongly benefit local marine conservation / education, we are offering two bursaries to cover the cost of the course and a Marine Mammals of British Columbia book (best resource to complement the content of the Course). The bursary deadline is January 15, 2023 and successful applicants will be notified by February 17, 2023. Bursary Application now closed.

Friday, May 12: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PST (1 hour lunch break)
Saturday, May 13: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PST (1 hour lunch break)
Sunday, May 14: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PST (1 hour lunch break)
Monday, May 15: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
PST (1 hour lunch break)

Location:  Maritime Heritage Centre (621 Island Highway), Campbell River

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

Topics covered: 

  • Marine Biodiversity of BC - from plankton to giants
  • Classification of Marine Mammals
  • The Value of Being a Marine Mammal Naturalist
  • Seals and Sea Lions - natural history and conservation concerns
  • BC Killer Whale Populations - natural history and conservation concerns
  • 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
  • The Return of Giants - MERS research into Humpback Whales
  • Sea Otters - natural history and conservation concerns
  • Identifying Marine Mammals in the Field
  • Summary of conservation concerns and solutions

If you have any questions, please contact

Optional Add-on: Apprentice Interpreter Course with the Interpretive Guides Association of Canada (IGA)

Take what you have learned in the MERS course and turn it into interpretive materials and programs that engage your audience!  

New this year, the Interpretive Guides Association of Canada (IGA) will be holding a 1-day Apprentice Interpreter course following the MERS Campbell River Course for those interested in obtaining interpretation training. For those that take BOTH courses, you will be issued an Apprentice Interpreter w/ a Marine Mammal Naturalist Specialty certification from the IGA. The IGA is offering a special price for their course to participants of the MERS course. The two courses are hosted separately but will occur sequentially to facilitate this unique learning experience and certification.  

Further details on the IGA course, click here. Register for the IGA Apprentice Interpreter Course at this link.

All photos on this site © Jared Towers, Christie McMillan, Jackie Hildering, and Heidi Krajewsky, unless otherwise indicated. 
All content 
© 2022 Marine Education and Research Society.
Registered Canadian Charitable #: 85759-9112-RR0001

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