Editor’s note: With two days until the launch of the 2012 Ocean Heroes Awards, we have a guest post today from Robin Culler – one of the founders of the Shark Finatics (Junior Award winners, 2010) from the Green Chimneys School in Brewster, NY.
Hello Oceana, it’s been two years since the Shark Finatics were honored to be named Junior Ocean Heroes and now we’re busier than ever. In the past few months, the Finatics have been involved in a few projects:
- When we heard that two sisters had opened a restaurant in Brooklyn and were serving shark burgers, the kids got fired up. They all wrote letters and drew pictures, pleading them to stop and keep the sharks in the oceans. One boy, totally on his own, got his mom to take him to the restaurant so that he could have a heart-to-heart conversation with one of the sisters! I was thrilled!
- I took the kids to the aquarium the other month to see the Sand Tigers there. It was really fun as some kids had never even been to an aquarium before. They loved it! One of the reasons we went was that we were invited to submit a project for an art exhibit in White Plains, NY. It is on the fish around Westchester, in the Hudson and the Long Island Sound. Since the Sand Tiger is in the Sound, we created a wonderful portfolio on all aspects of this shark (her name is Shirowani), including text and pictures. We also created a wonderful shark from soda bottles, foil, cardboard, and lots of duct tape and it will all be on display to the public all summer long.
- I just recently held two workshops at a large conference for educators on the Finatics program. It was so cool having everyone hanging on every word, hearing about how we got started and how we grew. It really is a wonderful story.
As you can tell, we are never without projects to work on! We next have to concentrate, big time, on the shark fin bill in NY. We will be writing letters, getting a petition together, making phone calls, and maybe a trip to legislator offices.
So, long story short, we are thrilled to be staying busy and look forward to seeing who will be the next Ocean Heroes in 2012.
-You can support Oceana’s and the Finatics’ effort to ban the trade of shark fins in New York state by signing our petition: http://act.oceana.org/letter/l-ny-shark/
-To learn more about the Green Chimney’s School, please go to http://www.greenchimneys.org/
-Don’t forget to come back to Oceana's website on June 6 to nominate a 2012 Ocean Hero
We got an email recently from artist Maya Lin about her new project, What is Missing, and it is spectacular. Maya created a monument to the disappearing creatures and places on our planet, and put it on the internet to grow and evolve.
Her project is a powerful interactive website that showcases the disappearing creatures and environments on our planet through a “Map of Memory.” The map is covered in tiny colorful dots, and each dot represents a creature or place in danger. Change the Timeline from past to present, and now each dot represents conservation efforts by many groups including Oceana. A new category, Future, is in the works.
I chose a spot in the ocean and found myself watching a video on right whales. While a whale song played from my speakers, the story was told on the screen in simple, powerful facts, keeping me on the edge of my seat as I watched the whales’ struggles from old-time whalers to modern-day warfare testing. A shorter video on krill was surprisingly fascinating, with facts about their weight (less than a paperclip!) interspersed with the sad reality of how many animals will starve if we overfish them.
Other dots on the map contain simple facts or memories about the creatures highlighted, and you can even add your own memories to the map. You could spend hours on this site exploring the videos and memories of our world.
We applaud Maya Lin for this beautiful and powerful website, and can’t wait to see what it turns into as the stories grow and change.
Last week, international art collectors, philanthropists, celebrities and designers convened for the third year in a row for Christie’s Green Auction.
Last year, the evening's festivities raised a record-breaking $2.4 million for four of the world's leading, science-based environmental nonprofits: Oceana, Natural Resources Defense Council, Central Park Conservancy and Conservation International.
The Green Auction’s companion online auction, powered by charitybuzz, will continue through Thursday, and includes a day with President Bill Clinton, a 13-day safari in Kenya and a volleyball lesson with Gabby Reece.
And if you can’t afford to bid on a safari or celeb experience, you can also text GREEN to 80888 to donate $10.
A huge thanks to everyone who has helped make this year’s auction a success!
This is the ninth in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.
Today’s featured junior ocean hero finalist is eight-year-old Wyatt Workman, who may be familiar to some of you since we have written about his activism and artwork before.
But in case you don’t know Wyatt, he is quite a special young ocean lover. A talented artist, he has dedicated himself to getting the word out about the plastic pollution fouling our oceans. Through his artistic endeavors, including a book, clay figures, and a claymation movie, “Save the Sea from the Trash Monster!”, Wyatt has raised nearly $4,000 for Oceana.
In late 2010, more than 300 people attended Wyatt’s art show, where he sold out of all 70 art pieces he made. He now has a waiting list for his art and he gets about 10-20 people a day signing his website pledge to make changes in their lives to keep trash - particularly plastic - out of the ocean.
He was also recently honored by the Pacific Aquarium in Long Beach, CA as their Young Hero of the Year, his book has been named "Book of the Month" by A&I Books in Los Angeles, and he has been featured in Time Magazine for Kids.
Whew! Impressive for an eight-year-old, huh?
Have you voted yet? Check out the other finalists, cast your vote and spread the word! And stay tuned for more spotlighted finalists in the coming days!
Update on 1/28/11 -- here's the clip of Wyatt!:
Remember 7-year-old artist and ocean conservationist Wyatt Workman? We spotlighted him back in November when he held an art show that raised $2,400 for Oceana.
Well, he didn’t stop there. His total has now climbed to nearly $3,500 (!), and he’s starting to get noticed in a big way. Today he’ll be appearing on the Nate Berkus Show to talk about his artwork, book, and claymation movie. You can catch the show today at 2 pm PST (5PM EST) on NBC, Wyatt’s segment will probably be at the end.
You can learn more about Wyatt and check out his artwork on his website. Oceana and the oceans thank you, Wyatt!
More than 1,000 artists from around the world -- from Bucharest to Nebraska -- submitted their work to the CoolClimate Art Contest, the first online art competition designed to generate iconic images that address the impact of climate change.
A panel of notable art experts and celebrities selected the 20 semi-finalists that were featured on The Huffington Post, and the public voted to determine the Top 5 winners. The judging panel included Jackson Browne, Chevy Chase, Philippe Cousteau and Van Jones, among others.
Pictured here is the winner, “No Pollution Please” by Christos Lamprianidis of Greece. You can check out all the entries, as well as winners and finalists, at the CoolClimate deviantART web site. And if you’re inspired, you can still submit your creation to the CoolClimate project to connect with other artists and share with the public.
Here’s one more way you can help the Gulf -- while upping your cool points.
The Heads of State, who have designed posters for the likes of Wilco, Modest Mouse and Sonic Youth, have designed an Oil Drop poster (pictured here), and they’re donating half of the sale price of each -- that's $20 per poster -- to Oceana.
You can feel pretty good about that (we sure do.) Get your posters here and spread the word.
Okay, so stop me if you've heard this one…
What happens when four top NGOs team up with a world renowned art dealer for Earth Day?
You get an unprecedented partnership that culminates in Christie’s First Annual Green Auction: A Bid to Save the Earth. Wait, did you think I was telling a joke?
Oceana, along with Natural Resources Defense Council, Conservation International and The Central Park Conservancy, NBC Universal, Barney’s of New York, Deutsche Bank and Target have been working to put together the April 22 auction that takes place at Christie’s in Rockefeller Center in New York as part of the 40th celebration of Earth Day.
Christie’s is waiving its usual fees, so every penny from the live auction and silent auction goes to the four charities. A ton, and I mean a ton, of amazing artwork and items are up for bid the night of the event, but you don’t have to be at the event to make a bid to save the earth.
Today the online silent auction launches and along with the artwork and items up for bid there are a boat-load (pun most definitely intended) of experiences on the block including swimming lessons with Oceana supporter and gold medalist Aaron Peirsol (with a $5,000 bid as of 10 a.m. this morning) and sailing lessons with Ocean Conservation Yacht Club Commodore Kristen “The America” Berry.
Here are a few of my personal favorites:
I’d like to give you a sneak peak at the first international green charity auction to be held on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, April 22, 2010.
Christie’s International has invited four leading nonprofits to be the beneficiaries of its first charity auction for conservation: Oceana, Conservation International, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Central Park Conservancy. Between us, we work on all seven continents – and, of course, the oceans in between.
A Bid to Save The Earth will include a live auction at Christie’s New York City space in Rockefeller Center as well as a silent auction conducted online at Charity Buzz. Every item up for bid is donated, and Christie’s is waiving all its usual fees to allow the maximum impact for the beneficiaries.
I appreciate a well-placed advertisement, and not just because I work on Oceana’s Marketing and Communications team. Many times I have hopped off the DC Metro at the Farragut West station to have one of the art museum displays catch my eye.
Last week I was stopped in my tracks by an advertisement for the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The creative was highlighting two current exhibits at the museum, Sargent and the Sea and Edward Burtynsky: Oil. A large thumbnail of the John Singer Sargent painting, En Route pour la pêche, is what caught my eye. The painting shows a family walking along a beautiful beach. Right next to it was a Burtynsky photograph of an oil refinery.
The Corcoran’s website describes Burtynsky’s exhibition as revealing “the effects of oil on our lives, depicting landscapes altered by its extraction from the earth and by the cities and suburban sprawl generated around its use.” He also set out to comment on the approaching end of the oil supply.
The juxtaposition of the two images could be a coincidence, but I hope it gives others pause -- and makes them consider the impacts of offshore drilling and oil pollution on our oceans. And if they need a clearer picture, all they have to do is glance across to the other platform to see our new ad:
Oceana ran this ad, and several others like it, so that museums don't become the only place to see the beauty the oceans have to offer. The expansion of oil drilling on our coasts, especially in Florida, threatens the oceans and all the life within them.
I like museums, but I prefer the real thing.