Sable Island Post-Secondary Award 2023

We were delighted to present our third annual “Inspired by Sable Island” award to Jillian Ramsay for her proposal “Wish You Were Here/Wish You Weren’t” Conservation Education Initiative. This award, administered in partnership with Parks Canada, grants a deserving post-secondary student $500 and a day trip to Sable Island National Park Reserve to work on their proposal.

Our team was very impressed with Jillian’s application and carefully designed project. Her proposal was creative and timely, as well as an excellent example of using the arts and environmental education to further conservation goals. It also has great potential to give back to Sable Island.

Jillian’s initiative aims to raise awareness about the conservation challenges facing Sable Island such as dune erosion, marine pollution and climate-related flooding. While on the island, Jillian took pictures illustrating these conservation concerns. She then used her images to create eye-catching postcards that link to a series of free virtual and printable infographics, providing the viewer with accessible and actionable ways to help protect Sable Island. The postcards will be sold throughout the province starting on Earth Day 2024 so keep your eye out for this great opportunity to learn about conservation challenges on Sable Island, and actions you can take to mitigate them, while also supporting our educational programming!

Jillian travelled to Sable Island National Park Reserve on October 26, 2023 with Parks Canada staff and two Friends of Sable Island board members.

Jillian’s proposal included the following summary:

As a young woman who is deeply passionate about environmental education,
conservation and community engagement, conducting research on Sable Island is
nothing short of a dream. The unique landscape and distinct biodiversity of the
island are profoundly intriguing and captivating to all, yet so few people really know
much about the island beyond the horses and sand dunes. Using skills I am
developing during the completion of my Masters of Resource and Environmental
Management, as well as my professional experience working in conservation and
environmental education, my project will raise public awareness and stimulate
advocacy for conservation concerns on Sable Island.
My project is titled the “Wish you were here! / Wish you weren’t.” Conservation
Postcard Initiative. This initiative is centered on creating and distributing a series of
educational postcards in local shops throughout the province, as well as online. The
imagery on the postcards, as well as a small blurb on the back, will capture a brief
overview of several different conservation concerns facing Sable Island. Current
examples I am eager to research and showcase are dune erosion, marine debris
pollution, endemic species and climate change. Exploring Sable Island to identify
and capture the images first hand will be incredibly important in helping to tell the
conservation story through artistic expression. Visual mediums have the power to
reach a wide audience and create a lasting impact in environmental education. The
postcards will have a QR code and a link that purchasers/recipients can follow to
access further information about the conservation concerns and mitigation
strategies happening on Sable. This information will be displayed through a series of
in depth, online infographics that will be freely printable for public use in offices,
schools, and community centres, or can be shared online. All proceeds from the
postcards will be donated directly to future conservation, education and advocacy
initiatives on the island to help protect and restore the biodiversity and beauty of
this unique natural reserve.
This project will merge my academic and career pursuits to continue educating our
local communities on conservation concerns and actions they can take to support
their mitigation. It will benefit Sable Island, all its supporting institutions and the
public as a whole by providing educational resources that have wide reach and are
designed to generate awareness and advocacy for conservation on Sable Island.

Sable Island has been inspiring people for centuries and Friends of Sable Island keeps that tradition alive through our education program and by supporting ongoing research and promotion of the island. This award helps us continue to inspire the hearts and minds of the next generation of young people who will care for Sable Island National Park Reserve.