By: Panos Grames, Communications Specialist
Some things are hard, even impossible, to do on your own. But an arduous task becomes a whole lot easier — and fun — with a few friends to help.
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When Ocean Keepers kicked off in May 2013, hundreds stepped forward. People held film screenings, conversations and beach clean ups, researched sustainable seafood and wrote letters to government members, the shipping industry and local newspapers. Instead of a few individuals working to protect our vast Pacific coastal waters, it's like we're having a community work party with over two thousand helpers from across Canada!
Here are a few things that inspired us:
Letters to the Editor
Since the editorial page is one of a paper's most widely read sections and people are more likely to absorb messages from their peers than from experts, Ocean Keepers jumped in to make a splash in their local newspapers! Dozens of letters have been published on diverse topics such as marine protection, salmon conservation and shipping impacts on wildlife.
This was the first time some Ocean Keepers even attempted to write a letter to the editor, so we applaud everyone who did, whether it was published or not. Superstar Emma Griffiths has been published twice — here and here!
Thanks to uber volunteer Mairi, we now have some 35 geocaching tags travelling around the world carrying cool information about dozens of marine species, including albatross, whales, dolphins, salmon, kelp and urchins. Each tag has a particular destination. Geocachers will also have the opportunity to join Ocean Keepers and help protect the coast.
I recently took my kids geocaching for the first time, stashing a wooden carving called "Annie the Abalone" in a local park. It's super easy, and they loved it — and learned about abalone's role in our Pacific coastal ecosystem. The next visitor to the cache will pick up the tag, and the learning continues.
Learn more about geocaching here.
Seven habits for a healthy ocean
Many have asked us "What can we do every day to help protect our oceans?" so we put together a "Seven Habits for a Healthy Ocean" campaign that was so popular, we translated it into Chinese and Punjabi.
Share our Facebook postcards with friends and family here.
Ocean Keepers have been hosting events to help spread the love — book clubs, sustainable seafood BBQs and fun crafts for kids.
For example, Jarrett Krentzel, co-founder of Cascadian Crusaders, became an Ocean Keeper in November 2013. He incorporated ideas from our Kids' Ocean Celebration Kit into his fun, interactive book event and inspired 40 families to think about how to help ocean health.
"The real success came during the reflection circle when children shared their personal messages of what they would say to people who are about to litter plastic," Jarrett said.
Some people who care deeply about the health of our oceans don't have much time. But signing a letter takes less than a minute and collectively, they have big impact. Over 1,000 signed letters to the shipping industry telling them to not to walk away from ocean conservation. Nearly 5,000 signed letters to Members of Parliament asked for strong protection for Pacific salmon.
Along with the hundreds helping us around the country, we have dedicated (fantastic) volunteers that come to our Vancouver office every week to respond to email, develop and send out event kits, give campaign advice, work on the geocaching challenge and much more. Their volunteer hours made all this possible ... and a whole lot of fun.