Kayla Martin is a dynamic young underwater explorer, photographer, filmmaker, and competent science communicator. Her interests include studying invasive species in the Great Lakes and ways to achieve water supply sustainability for future generations. Kayla serves as a volunteer for numerous Canadian conservation organizations promoting shipwreck preservation and low-impact diving.
Save Ontario Shipwrecks
Since diving her first shipwreck, THE CONESTOGA, at just 13 years old, Kayla has been drawn to exploring Ontario Underwater Marine Heritage.
Wanting to ensure that future generations of diving would be able to explore these time capsules of history, Kayla in 2019 became a member of Save Ontario Shipwrecks (SOS) and presented her My First Shipwreck experience at the organization’s Annual General Meeting.
Inspired by her love of shipwrecks, the SOS board appointed her to the role of Heritage Ambassador.
In this role, Kayla has been making presentations across North America and around Ontario promoting conservation of our Marine Heritage through Low Impact Diving.
Women in Diving
Kayla strongly believes in both diversity and inclusion. Her efforts in promoting both Women and the LGBTQ community have been recognized by the Peel Region Police Board who awarded her the 2018 Peel Region Diversity Scholarship.
These beliefs crossed over into diving in 2016, when Kayla attended her first PADI Women’s Day of Diving Event hosted by Jill Heinerth. Inspired by Jill’s stories of women in diving, she become active in promoting equality for women in the diving community.
Her commitment in this role expanded in 2018 while presenting at renowned Chicago’s Our World Underwater Evening Film Show. Following the evening events, seven members of the Women’s Diving Hall of Fame present at the show gathered for pictures and to congratulate Kayla on being the youngest presenter in the 45-year history of the show. The famous explorer Nancy McGee took the opportunity to challenge Kayla to start organizing her own Women’s Day of Diving events in Canada.
Embracing this challenge, Kayla hosted her first event several months later and continues to hold annual events each year to celebrate Women in Diving.
Great Lakes Water Protection
Kayla’s passion for water has been the key force in her life. She literally could swim before she could walk. This connection to our underwater world inspired her upon entering high school to set goals to make it a more environmentally friendly facility. To achieve this, she founded the Green Team. Over the four years that she was President, the school made significant improvement in its environmental impact.
Kayla is active in Great Lakes conservation and education efforts. She studies invasive species and ways to prevent and control populations from entering water bodies, particularly inland lakes and rivers. She recently worked for Parks Canada in the Rouge National Urban Park Drinking Water Quality Program, transitioning tenants from bottled water to healthy tap water. Her interests lie in examining our interactions with water, the environmental impacts of water use, and ways to achieve sustainability for future generations.
Land and Water Acknowledgement
Kayla acknowledges that the land on which she lives is the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation as well as the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee peoples.
For thousands of years the First Nations peoples of North America have had a special relationship with water. To quote the Assembly of First Nations “Water is the most life sustaining gift on Mother Earth and is the interconnection among all living beings. Water sustains us, flows between us, within us, and replenishes us. Water is the blood of Mother Earth and, as such, cleanses not only herself, but all living things.”
Many First Nations seek to restore the traditional ways of protecting the health of water and to share these ways with the world. Kayla supports their efforts in gaining back recognition of their authority over water and advocates that resources should be allocated to them in their efforts to protect the health of the water that Mother Earth gives.