BPC sponsors Youth attendance at IMPAC5

It is with great pleasure to announce that Blue Pangolin Consulting will sponsoring an early career professional to attend IMPAC5, increasing Youth engagement through ought the congress – Grace Melchers.

The Fifth International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC5) will be held from February 3rd to 9th in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and will bring together people from all realms of the global ocean network, including high-ranking officials, ocean conservation professionals, industry members, Indigenous leaders, and youth. In an effort to enhance intergenerational participation and provide greater opportunities for young people to learn from inspiring ocean advocates.

Blue Pangolin has selected a Vancouver local working with one of IMPAC5’s partners, University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, to sponsor. Grace has always held a deep sense of fascination for the marine world but has only recently delved into the professional and research realms of ocean science and conservation. After reading Grace’s passion and dedication to marine conservation, which align with Blue Pangolin’s ethos, the Blue Pangolin team were pleased to support Grace’s next steps and gain valuable experience at an international congress.

As an aspiring young marine scientist, attending IMPAC5 will be a life-changing experience. Having the opportunity to learn from and network with a global community of ocean advocates and professionals will allow me to expand my perspectives and career opportunities within ocean conservation.

Grace recently graduated from the Natural Resources Conservation program at the UBC, where she became knowledgeable about terrestrial, freshwater, and marine conservation. Through her courses and electives, she grew passionate about ocean ecosystems, particularly British Columbia’s iconic Pacific salmon, which are facing a multitude of threats in both marine and freshwater environments. This past summer, Grace had the opportunity to work with these incredible species by assisting with the Hakai Institute’s juvenile salmon sampling program in British Columbia’s Discovery Islands. This experience solidified Grace’s passion for marine research and conservation.

“As a young person worried about climate change, the biodiversity crisis, and other environmental threats, I am always searching for ecologically sound, socially just and creative solutions to these issues.” She stumbled upon such a solution through the book Eat Like a Fish by Bren Smith, a regenerative ocean farmer. The book detailed the benefits of kelp farming as a climate, ecological and socioeconomic solution. Grace threw herself into researching more about the ways in which kelp farming can assist in reducing plastic pollution, improving the livelihoods of coastal communities, solving food crises, and enhancing marine environments. She will be starting a Master’s thesis this year at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, where she will compare biodiversity and marine food web complexity in natural kelp forests, kelp restoration sites, and kelp farms using emerging environmental DNA techniques. Prior to setting out on this endeavour, Grace hopes to gain a more holistic perspective on the issues facing our blue planet and their burgeoning solutions, and Blue Pangolin are excited to be a part of Grace’s journey.

Attending IMPAC5 will allow Grace to do so in an extremely immersive and rewarding manner. During her experience at IMPAC5, Grace plans to learn more about how we can expand and enhance marine protected areas while also advancing the blue economy and coastal livelihoods in a sustainable, equitable manner.

I am looking forward to meeting people from all over the world who share my passion for ocean conservation and ocean solutions at IMPAC5 and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do so thanks to the generosity of the Blue Pangolin team”.

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