MERS Marine Mammal Naturalist Courses




Motivated by the need for caution, social solidarity, and doing our part to limit the spread of COVID-19, we have postponed the Marine Naturalist Courses we had scheduled for March, May and June of this year. The registrants for these course have been contacted with next steps which includes the options of being signed on for a potential October or November 2020 Course in Campbell River; and/or to be among the first to have access to spots for Spring 2021 Courses. If you wish to be added to the waiting list for a potential fall Course in Campbell River, please click “Join Waitlist” at this link (no payment needed) - https://mersociety.org/event-3811143. Dates for the course will be confirmed at a later date.

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, 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. It is not possible to only attend part of the course. Completion is recognized with a certificate of participation (North Island College students and some participating kayak guides will also undergo a written test).  

Cost: $300 per person ($200 non-refundable). There is one bursary available for participation in the Port McNeill or Campbell River course. Click here for details. 

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

If you have any questions, please contact .

Course Day 1 

10 to 5:30 (2 x 15 minute breaks and a 1 hour lunch break) 

  • Introductions
  • Marine Biodiversity of BC - from plankton to giants
  • Classification of Marine Mammals 
  • BC Killer Whale Populations - natural history and conservation concerns
  • The Value of Being a Marine Mammal Naturalist #1 (includes tips on effective interpretive delivery)

Day 2

9:00 to 5:30 (2 x 15 minute breaks and a 1 hour lunch break) 

  • Seals and Sea Lions - natural history and conservation concerns
  • Dolphins and Porpoises - natural history and conservation concerns
  • Minke and Fin Whales - natural history and conservation concerns
  • The Return of Giants - MERS research into Humpback Whales
  • Grey Whales - natural history and conservation concerns
Optional activity:  Social Dinner 

Day 3

9:00 to 4:30 (2 x 15 minute breaks and a 1 hour lunch break)

  • Sea Otters - natural history and conservation concerns
  • Identifying Marine Mammals in the Field
  • Man vs. Marine Mammal - summary of the complex human history with marine mammals
  • Interpretation role play 
  • Feedback and presentation of certificates




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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