Join me in the cold, dark, life-sustaining NE Pacific Ocean to discover the great beauty, mystery and fragility hidden there.

About / Contact

Photo by Andrew Topham, made possible with Melanie Wood.

Photo by Andrew Topham, made possible with Melanie Wood.

Contact via this link.

What’s “The Marine Detective”?

It’s me, Jackie Hildering, a biology teacher, cold-water diver, underwater photographer, and Humpback Whale researcher living on NE Vancouver Island, British Columbia, CANADA.

It’s my handle under which I work to raise awareness about life in the cold, dark NE Pacific Ocean and illuminate the fragility, beauty, and mystery there.  I hope the name suggests the correct humility. I want to share what I learn so that it may lead to greater knowledge, appreciation, and positive action for the Ocean to which we are all connected and upon which our health depends.


I was raised in British Columbia but taught and administered international schools in the Netherlands for 14 years; also writing curriculum for the International Baccalaureate.

My life changed acutely in 1999 when friends took me on a surprise whale watching trip when visiting NE Vancouver Island. That experience led to my stepping away from a mainstream education career, returning to BC, and striving to find a more effective way to enable people to know their connection to the Ocean and how easy it is to create positive change – for the sake of the whales, our life-sustaining seas, and therefore . . . for ourselves.

Having the privilege of witnessing the return of Humpback Whales led to my becoming a whale researcher and co-founding the Marine Education and Research Society. I’ve also been a Department of Fisheries and Oceans Education Coordinator; the Communications Director for the SOS Marine Conservation Foundation; Community Liaison for the ‘Namgis First Nation’s KUTERRA land-based salmon farm; and serve as a marine naturalist and naturalist trainer for a wide variety of audiences. Current volunteer efforts include being a direction for the Canadian Network for Ocean Education (CaNOE).

MAN award: Left to right: Dr. Randall Peterman – winner MAN award Science; Dr. Murray A. Newman – founding director of the Vancouver Aquarium; yours truly; Dr. John Nightengale – President Vancouver Aquarium. Photo by John Healey.

Recent on-camera experience includes being featured on Animal Planet’s Wild Obsession series, Coastal Revival, and in the BBC productions New threat to Canada’s Pacific humpback whales and Ingenious Animals (at this link as of 41 min).

Recognition includes:

  • January 2011 – Vancouver Aquarium’s Murray A. Newman (MAN) Award for Excellence in Aquatic Conservation. For a rough video of the acceptance speech, click here.
  • June 2010 – Recognition from DFO Director of Oceans, Habitat and Enhancement for “whose contribution to the preservation to the enhancement of the salmonid resource of Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, has helped ensure a better future for all Canadians.



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