Sam is a native of the Ottawa Valley, and moved to big-city Montreal for work and school. Strangely in love with the ocean for such a landlocked Quebecois girl, when she can’t get herself to one of Canada’s three coasts, she’s sharing her experiences and passion for Canada’s incredible wildlife. Environmental biologist trained at UQAM and Bamfield Marine Science Centre, she’s a science communicator and educator by trade, using varied mediums to engage folks young and old into protecting and enjoying nature. She is a strong believer that understanding and experiencing the environment is the key to protecting it. Building the next generation of stewards will be a labour of hope, brought forth by love.
She loves scuba diving, the hum of beehives, the smell of the High-Arctic tundra and working to raise science literacy in Canada.
Caroline Merner is from Victoria, BC and crossed Canada to study Sustainability and International Development, with a minor in Spanish in Halifax, NS, at Dalhousie University. Her favourite way to cross Canada has been with the francophone cycling relay team, La Grande Traversée, mentoring youth along the way. Caroline is passionate about youth engagement, as a youth member on the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and a guide in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Banff National Park. Her journey in conservation started working at Habitat Acquisition Trust and on an ultra-marathon expedition with impossible2Possible, presenting to a network of classrooms tuning in worldwide. An avid traveler, Caroline studied abroad in UNESCO-designated, Cusco, Peru. Back on campus, she is a co-Director of the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office. She is always keen to integrate her experiences back to her community to help foster connection and protection of our planet. Caroline’s favourite nature moment: a kayak in phosphorescence off a Gulf Island in BC. She’d love to hear, what is your favourite nature moment?
Elise wants to live in a world filled with environmentally conscious consumers, nature-loving kids and rivers clean enough to drink from!
Since she was small, Elise has enjoyed spending time outdoors at her grandparent’s cabin in Alberta. Some of her earliest memories in nature include swimming in the lake, making clay sculptures on the beach and eating too many saskatoon berries. She continues to love outdoor adventure, with her most recent journey taking her through the Torngat Mountains in Labrador and the icebergs in Greenland on a Students on Ice Arctic expedition.
As a young educator, she has been working for Parks Canada for the past 2 years, inspiring urban youth to get outside. From September to April, she studies Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. When she is not at school, Elise enjoys volunteering the campus community garden, running through forest trails and camping in the Southern Gulf islands.
Elise is thrilled to have been selected as a CC-IUCN Youth Ambassador this year! At the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, she hopes to learn as much as she can from the conservation biologists, indigenous leaders, politicians, and NGO representatives in attendance. She also can’t wait to engage in meaningful discussions with about conservation with youth from around the world. One of Elise’s favorite sayings is by Jane Goodall, “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” She hopes that by attending the IUCN WCC, she will be able to focus in on what kind of change-maker she can be.