A local’s guide to IMCC4: Discover St.John’s


By Rodolphe Devillers

Coming to IMCC? Here are some “must see”, “must do”, and other hidden gems of St. John’s you should consider!

Let’s start with the classics: everyone HAS to go to Signal Hill. Easily accessible from town, the hill dominates St. John’s and offers stunning views on the city, the harbour’s entrance (called ‘The Narrows’), and the ocean. Signal Hill is a Canadian National Historic Site, being a strategic military place since the 17th century. It is also from there that the first transatlantic wireless signal was received in 1901. If you have an hour or so and the weather is good, I highly recommend walking the ‘North Head Trail’ that starts from the top of the hill and brings you back downtown along The Narrows and the Battery neighbourhood (take your camera!). It is not a difficult hike, but avoid shoes with high heels… Lots of people run it if you feel in shape!  On the road going to the top of Signal Hill, you can also visit the Geo Centre geological museum (that also has a nice exhibit on the Titanic that sank close to Newfoundland).

Another iconic place is Quidi Vidi, an old small fishing port just north of downtown that has old fishing houses, and one of the three local microbreweries (Quidi Vidi). It is a longer walk or take the bus #15. They organize regular tours and tastings in the afternoon (details on their Website). One of their beers is made with iceberg water! If you sign up for the IMCC-organised ‘Brews and Sustainable Seafood’ event you’ll be able to visit Quidi Vidi that way. The ‘Village Plantation’ building in Quidi Vidi hosts several local artists stores (my personal favourite is the woodcut prints from Graham Blair). A trail leaving from this area and heading to Signal Hill brings you to a nesting area for bald eagles (keep your eyes open – Newfoundland has one of the largest population of bald eagles in North America!).


(Photo: Tourism Newfoundland©) – picturesque Quidi Vidi

Downtown, you cannot come to St. John’s and not have a few drinks late at night on George Street. The street allegedly has the most bars and pubs per area in North America! And guess what, IMCC will be during the (in)famous George Street Festival (July 28-Aug 2). All full-week delegates will receive a one-day ticket to the festival with their IMCC name badge. If you are looking for other good pubs, there are a lot to choose from but I would recommend Yellow Belly – on the corner of George St and Water St (another micro-brewery).  The ‘Underbelly’ in the basement of this old building is a great place to try their beers – I am less keen on their food. The Duke of Duckworth on Duckworth St. is also a very popular place for a drink and their famous fish and chips! (here you can also try beers from the third microbrewery, Storm). If you want to become a real Newfoundlander (with a certificate to prove it), go to Christian’s Bar (23 George St) to get ‘screeched-in’, an increasingly popular tradition for people visiting the province.

Other things to do (quick facts):

  • Go for a drink or lunch at The Rooms museum Cafe (fair prices, good food, great view). No need to pay the museum entrance (just take the elevator) but you can obviously visit the museum as well (Natural history, Arts, etc.)
  • Walk to the lighthouse on the other side of the harbour (takes a while though, but it is a nice place!)
  • Get a coffee at Fixed Coffee (183 Duckworth St)

If you have more time and a car, there are a lot of things to see in the region (e.g. Cape Spear, seabird reserves, whale watching tours). Check our next blog post to see what to visit outside of town.


Dr. Rodolphe Devillers is on faculty in the Department of Geography at Memorial University.  He is a member of the Scientific Program Committee for IMCC4.


So, what is OceansOnline?


By Matt Tietbohl


It’s Wednesday evening after the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC4). You have just spent a whirlwind of five days attending talks, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. You may have found new opportunities for collaboration and have certainly learned a lot about marine conservation research around the globe. But now that you have all this information, how will you use it? How can you share what you’ve learned with others so they might share the same appreciation you have for marine conservation? Enter the OceansOnline meeting.

To be held on on August 4thm immediately following IMCC4, OceansOnline is a whole day filled with facilitated discussions, workshops, and talks focused around using the internet as a valuable tool for science communication and research. Nearly every day, new platforms and technologies pop up that allow for improved communication and connection with people around the world. In this ever changing “online ecosystem”, it can be difficult to find the most effective ways to communicate your message. OceansOnline has been designed to bring together experienced people familiar with a variety of tools to engage in open discussions on how best to harness this power for marine conservation.

So, what better way to wrap up your trip to St. John’s than staying for an extra day to improve upon your science communication skills? Register now.

OceansOnline promises to be quite a different experience to IMCC. The day is full of hour-long facilitated discussions, plenary talks, and networking events. You are going to be part of something new and exciting. Schedule highlights are listed below.

Plenaries: Easkey Britton and Andrew David Thaler, will kick off the meeting. Easkey is an international champion surfer and marine social scientist. Co-founder of the non-profit Waves of Freedom, she works to use the transformative impact of surfing as a creative medium for social good and forging connections across cultures; in her speech, she will talk about surfing for social change and how to use the online world to turn moments to movements. Andrew is a science educator and deep sea ecologist who hosts underwater robotics workshops and is currently studying population bottlenecks in several shark species at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. He may be most famous for managing Southern Fried Science, one of the most popular marine science blogs on the web!

Facilitated Discussions: How can I use online “edutainment”? How do I engage fishermen in conservation via international link-ups? What’s a HappyWhale?  These are just some of the questions you can help to answer. Discussions will be facilitated by scientists, journalists, teachers, and conservation enthusiasts.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 14.48.08

(Photo: Karyn Traphagen) A facilitated discussion at ScienceOnline Oceans; the conference from which OceansOnline was born.

Workshops: Ever thought your work would make a great nature documentary? Always thought you’d be a podcaster the public would dig? Want to learn how to share your conservation success stories? There’s plenty of workshops for you.

Online Tools: The theme of IMCCs is “Making Marine Science Matter”. At OceansOnline you will receive instruction in how to use new technological tools to make your marine science matter.

The full conference program is now available. You can register for OceansOnline on the IMCC4 website. Prices start at just $75.


Matt Tietbohl (@MattTietbs47) is a masters student at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia where he is studying coral reef food webs. He is a member of the Communications Committee for SCBMarine and for IMCC4. He is the Oceans Online Communications Chair.

OceansOnline Plenary Speaker Profile: Easkey Britton


One of the highlights of the inaugural OceansOnline conference is set to be our two plenary speakers. Over the few days we’ll be featuring each of them on this blog. If you don’t want to miss their presentations you’ll need to register soon for the conference, which immediately follows the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC4). OceansOnline registration is not automatically included in the IMCC4 registration – you need to select the add-on on the IMCC4 registration page.


Plenary Speech: Surfing for social change: From moment to movements

Easkey Britton is an internationally renowned professional surfer, artist, marine social scientist, and explorer from Ireland, with a Ph.D. in Environment and Society. She is a co-founder of the non-profit Waves of Freedom, one of the pillars of which is digital storytelling. Waves of Freedom uses the power of surfing as a creative medium for social change and women’s empowerment in places like Iran and spear-headed the world’s first global Surf + Social Good Summit in Bali. She is an honorary research fellow in Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She is best known as a big-wave surfer from Ireland, with a PhD in Environment and Society, who is channelling her passion for surfing into social change. Her parents taught her to surf when she was four years old and her life has revolved around the ocean ever since. A recent graduate from THNK’s Creative School of Leadership, her work is deeply influenced by the ocean and the lessons learned pioneering women’s big-wave surfing at spots like Mullaghmore, earning her a WSL Big Wave Award nomination. An inspirational public speaker, her work and unique connection to the ocean led her to being asked to talk at TEDx Dublin and she has presented her work at international conferences and published numerous book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. Follow her on Twitter @easkeysurf.

OceansOnline Plenary Speaker Profile: Andrew David Thaler


One of the highlights of the inaugural OceansOnline conference is set to be our two plenary speakers. Over the few days we’ll be featuring each of them on this blog. If you don’t want to miss their presentations you’ll need to register soon for the conference, which immediately follows the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC4). OceansOnline registration is not automatically included in the IMCC4 registration – you need to select the add-on on the IMCC4 registration page.

Quoto IMCC4 Plenary Thaler

Plenary Speech: Ocean outreach in an evolving online ecosystem

Andrew David Thaler is a deep-sea ecologist and population geneticist who studies the consequences of human impacts on the biodiversity and connectivity of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. He completed his PhD in Marine Science and Conservation from Duke University, where, in addition to his research, he launched the popular blog Southern Fried Science, now among the most visited marine science websites in the English language. He is currently a visiting scientist at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science where his work focuses on the genetic signals of population bottlenecks among endangered sharks, integrating low-cost, open-source robotic assets into research and conservation programs, and empowering a community of citizen oceanographers through Oceanography for Everyone. You can find him on Twitter @sfriedscientist.

4th International Marine Conservation Congress Plenaries: Jean Wiener


One of the highlights of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) is always the amazing plenary speakers. Over the next week and a bit we’ll be featuring all the plenary speakers on this blog. If you’re excited to hear them speak in person, make sure you register now for IMCC4.


Quoto IMCC4 Plenary JEAN WiEner

Plenary Speech: Empowering stakeholders when the public sector fails

Born and raised in Haiti, Jean Wiener has worked on environmental issues in general, and on coastal and marine issues in Haiti in particular for over 23 years. In 1992, he founded Haiti’s first coastal and marine environmental non-profit the Fondation pour la Protection de la Biodiversité Marine (FoProBiM) and retains his position as the head of the organization. As the director of FoProBiM, he specializes in coastal and marine sciences, community development, and environmental management. He has executed a wide range of projects including resource assessments, association building, environmental rehabilitation, community needs evaluations, as well as pure scientific research for institutions as diverse as the Ministry of Environment of Haiti, the UN (UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO, UNOPS), USAID, IDB, NOAA, and the OAS, to name but a few. He is also the national focal point in Haiti for the International Coral Reefs Initiative (ICRI), the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Network (WIDECAST), the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), NatureCaribe, and several International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) specialist groups. He has established contacts at all levels throughout most of Haiti and is often considered the national reference for all things coastal and marine. He has won environmental awards from Condé Nast, the Whitley Fund for Nature, the Erick Eckman Award (Haiti’s first ever environmental award presented by the Minister of Environment and the President), and the Goldman Environmental Prize for Islands and Island Nations (2015). He holds a Bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, USA.