World Ocean Day
By Taylor McConnell, Education Specialist
During this quarantine I am finding myself with some extra time but spending the majority of it watching a screen. So, a few weeks ago I decided to head to my bookshelf, grab a book and start reading. I grabbed, “50 Ways to Save the Ocean” written by David Helvarg, the founder of Blue Frontier and illustrated by Jim Toomey.
The Blue Frontier is a grassroots-level organization whose mission is “builds the solution oriented citizen engagement needed to protect our ocean, coasts and the communities, both human and wild that depend on them.”
Today is World Oceans Day, where we celebrate and give back to the ocean, I am going to share with you 5 ways I am choosing to save the ocean based on this thought provoking book.
1. Conserve Water: Use a Rain Barrel
I have had an unused, preassembled rain barrel sitting in my garage for about a year and I finally took the time to install it our first week in quarantine. It was easy to install and has filled up quickly thanks to all the rain we had received the past few weeks. I personally use the water to for my garden, but there are so many other uses! You can wash your car, water the lawn and many other non-drinking and non-cooking uses.
2. Scoop the Poop
Scoop the Poop, we have all heard it before, but have we heard the reason why? Our pet’s poop can lead to increase levels of bacteria and nitrogen in our waters making our water unswimmable. They can also contribute to algal blooms which end up creating dead zones and being very detrimental to our waterways that lead to the ocean. Dead zones are areas that are so deprived of oxygen, nothing can live there. We already see dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay and many of its rivers. So do your part and pick up after your animals!
3. Citizen Science
Citizen Science is when we, the everyday people, help scientist collect and analyze the data. Some citizen science programs I have helped with include The Cornell Lab’s “The Great Backyard Bird Count” and Ocean Conservancy’s marine debris project “Clean Swells”. If you are interested in finding your citizen science match, I suggest starting with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Citizen Science page. There are lots of resources to get you started!
4. Learn About Your Local Maritime History
What did the land look like before there was an increase in human impact? If you are from the Norfolk region, the answer is a wetland, which makes a lot of sense! When it rains we often see flooding, because this land originally was meant to collect and store water, but now all the roads and other impervious surfaces (those that do not allowing water to flow through them) collect the water causing flooding and other variations of water damage. If you want to learn more, next time you are at Nauticus take a look at our aquaria and ask the educators which habitats they represent!
5. Enjoy the Ocean
This is the most import one! Share with us the ways you enjoy the ocean on social media and visit us once we reopen! The more you spend time at the ocean, and its rivers and wetlands, the more of an appreciation you have for it. You will become more aware of the problems unique to your beach. Like many challenges we are facing in the world today, one solution is not the answer; we need to look locally and find a solution that will help our beach.