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Oceana Magazine Spring 2012: Aimee Teegarden

The “Friday Night Lights” actress and surfer turns her attention to the hidden treasures beneath the waves in a new campaign for Oceana.

What made you decide to partner with Oceana?

My initial interest in Oceana had to do with their efforts in bringing awareness to the harm being done to sea turtles. I’m always trying to find a great charity to partner with and bring a voice to and I’m really passionate about animals, the ocean and sea life.

What ocean issues are most important to you?

When people go to the beach, it’s really easy to pick up your trash and throw it away and not trash another animal’s habitat. It’s the easiest, no-brainer issue. I try to do my part and I think everyone else should do their part too.

What sea creature is your favorite?

Well, after today, I love the sea lions! So cute, so playful. They are just so funny and interactive and have humanistic qualities about them. So, today it’s definitely the sea lions!

Before today did you have a favorite?

I love sea turtles! I think they are so majestic and beautiful and so cool looking. The first time I went snorkeling in Hawaii, I saw this huge sea turtle and I snorkeled right on top of it. That set me off on sea turtles.

What is your favorite thing about surfing, and do you have a favorite spot?

I love surfing because it’s the idea of being in the ocean. Sitting in the ocean and waiting for a set of waves, and understanding and realizing you are a part of something that is so much bigger than you are, really just helps me relax and calm down and makes me realize that the little issues in life aren’t so big. It’s just a fun sport to do with my friends and reconnect and be a part of the ocean.

Tell me about your experience today at Santa Barbara Island.

Around Santa Barbara Island is this amazing sea lion rookery where all the baby sea lions grow up. They live in the kelp forest and they need this habitat for food and protection. Without this important habitat for the sea lions, who knows what would happen.

What did you learn from seeing this hidden treasure/special place?

It’s crazy because you know that these hidden treasures are all over the ocean – you just have to look under the surface. I had no idea this existed just 40 miles off of LA. It’s really upsetting to think these special places could be destroyed by destructive fishing, pollution or other threats. It really makes it obvious why we need to identify these unique and important areas in the ocean and then protect them. I love that Oceana finds the hidden treasures and then fights to protect them.

Did you know Oceana has protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean in the last 10 years?

I did and getting to experience a special place like Santa Barbara Island really puts it all in perspective. How can you not want to protect an amazing habitat like that? We just need to show how special these places are… Once you see these amazing things, all you want to do is protect these places and the animals that depend on them.

What was your favorite part about being out there today?

Obviously, the sea lions, but I’ve never been free diving. That was cool to learn. The sea lions are just as curious about us as we are about them and the longer we were in the water the more comfortable they would get. It was just wonderful being out there and seeing them interact with us and each other and to see them and be at ease. I thought that was really cool.