The Beacon: Jon Frank's blog

Oceana In Action at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon

The Oceana team raced hard to help protect loggerhead sea turtles. (Photo: Oceana)

Earlier this month, Oceana celebrated its golden anniversary at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon by doing what it does best – racing to save the oceans. Among the sands of Zuma Beach, the crash of the Pacific Ocean and the crush of thousands of spandex-clad triathletes, Oceana’s group of five athletes and seven volunteers was responsible for raising $1,000 for Oceana and gathering 265 signatures on a petition in support of establishing widespread critical habitat for loggerhead sea turtles.

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Angela Kinsey Loves Penguin Cookie Cutters

Angela Kinsey of NBC's The Office supports the oceans

It’s no surprise that Oceana supporter Angela Kinsey is crazy about her daughter Isabel. Angela loves the oceans, but it’s 4-year-old Isabel who she thinks of most when Angela helps us protect endangered sea turtles for future generations and rallies support for seafood traceability so parents like her know exactly what type of seafood they’re feeding their families.

And now, it’s once again Isabel who is the inspiration for a gift box set from Citrus Lane, curated by Angela, which includes toys and snacks for kids aged 4-6 and features the penguin cookie cutter from Oceana’s adoption center – along with a sugar cookie recipe from Angela. The other items include a tea set, a paper-doll set, organic snacks and an all-natural, cruelty-free, post-bath beauty set.

The special-edition set is distributed by the subscription box company Citrus Lane, which curates and delivers “mom-tested and mom-recommended” products for kids of all ages. The company – much like Oceana – is proud to call Angela a celebrity ambassador and because the oceans are such a big part of Angela and Isabel’s lives, a portion of proceeds for each special box will benefit Oceana.

We’re grateful to Angela and Citrus Lane for their support of our work and you can go here to learn more about the special gift box. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the penguin cookie cutter and all our other cool marine animal cookie cutter in our Adoption Center.

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Three is a Magic Number

Another succesful triathlon for the Oceana team©Oceana

A triathlon is an athletic competition comprised of three events – a swim, a bike, and a run – that must be completed in sequence. Last week, while Nautica hosted Oceana at the Nautica Malibu Triathlon for the 4th year in a row, we tackled a sequence of our own: completing the race, raising funds, and gathering petition signatures.

And, this year, we set a couple of personal records (that’s “PR” in triathlon parlance), having both a relay team and an individual take the podium as top 5 finishers in their respective classes, and raising over $6,000 for our conservation work. What’s more, we gathered over 200 signatures for our petition encouraging the National Marine Fisheries Service to add the Northeastern Pacific population of white sharks to the Endangered Species List.

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And the Winner is…to be Announced July 18!

Nautica and Oceana volunteers

Volunteer Group at World Oceans Day 2012 ©Oceana

Voting for the 2012 Ocean Heroes Awards closed yesterday and thanks to your status updates, tweets, retweets and emails, we received over 8,000 votes that will determine this year’s winners.

In six days, we’ll reveal those winners (oh, the suspense!) but until then, I’d like use this opportunity to not only thank you again for your votes, but also to thank a supporter who invests great amounts of time, energy and resources into Oceana’s work.

And, in keeping with the suspenseful theme, see if you can guys which supporter I’m talking about. Here are your clues:

Clue 1: This supporter has been a partner and Ocean Hero Awards sponsor since 2009 and has provided over $1 million in funding for our mission to safeguard habitat, end overfishing and protect important marine animals, like sharks and sea turtles.

Clue 2: Just as Ocean Heroes finalists help the oceans in a wide variety of manners year after year, this supporter has aided Oceana in a number of different ways. For example, together we’ve recruited over 50 athletes for Team Oceana – our triathlon team that races and raises funds for Oceana – via triathlons in South Beach and Malibu (and formerly New York City) and volunteered to collect hundreds of pounds of trash out of the Hudson and Anacostia Rivers in honor of World Oceans Day.

Clue 3: This supporter has provided apparel for our PSAs and expedition crews in the Pacific, Atlantic and Mediterranean, helped us raise additional funds through our involvement in the GQ Gentlemen’s Ball, and increased public awareness about Oceana via their own digital media, print advertising and even in display windows (Lord & Taylor on 5th Ave in NYC a couple years ago!).

…If you guessed Nautica, give yourself a pat on the back.

The mission of protecting the world’s oceans may belong to Oceana (literally…it’s our mission), but our successes wouldn’t be possible without motivated supporters like you, committed funders and sponsors like Nautica, and from allies who dedicate chunks of their lives to the betterment of our blue planet – people we like to call ocean heroes.

Oceana would also like to acknowledge the generosity of Revo Sunglasses, the other primary sponsor of the 2012 Ocean Heroes Awards.

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Intermission at the Ocean Heroes Awards


Alexandra Cousteau aboard Oceana's Hanse explorer in the Baltic ©Oceana/Carlos Suarez

We’ve gathered hundreds of nominations for this year’s Ocean Heroes Contest and over the next 6 days, Oceana’s Finalist Selection Committee will have the difficult task of choosing six Adult and six Junior Finalists. They will be announced on June 27 and the rest is in your hands – you’ll vote to decide who will be the 2012 Ocean Heroes.

In the meantime, I’d like to use this break in the action to recognize our two primary sponsors for the Ocean Heroes Contest – Nautica and Revo Sunglasses. When the recovery of the world’s oceans is your primary mission, it’s good to have allies who are willing to put substantial capital and resources towards that mission.

I’ll have more to write about Nautica in the coming weeks, but let’s start with Revo, a partner since 2011. Revo’s support for Oceana begins with our habitat protection campaigns, as the official eyewear partner of our expedition work and extends to the Ocean Heroes Awards, which – as you know – is a program aimed at highlighting and celebrating the achievements of concerned activists, researchers, educators, rehabilitators, conservationists and just about anyone else who pours their heart into the protection of our oceans.

This concept –honoring real heroes – is mirrored by Revo’s own choices for their brand ambassadors. They’re not superstar athletes or famous musicians, but artists, environmentalists and adventurers, like mountain climber Jimmy Chin, explorer Sebastian Copeland and ocean activist Alexandra Cousteau. Coincidentally, Alexandra recently joined Oceana as a Scientific Advisor.

Just last month, Alexandra joined our expedition in the Baltic Sea to help its crew explore the Baltic’s brackish waters and collect data that will assist Oceana in conservation and fisheries management proposals. Because of her association with Oceana, you won’t find Alexandra listed among the finalists for the Ocean Heroes Awards next Wednesday, but you will find 6 adults and 6 young people whose spirit, dedication and energy make them, like Alexandra, valuable artillery in the fight to the protect the world’s oceans.

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The Shark Finatics are Back


2010 Junior Ocean Heroes the Shark Finatics are building a shark out of recycled materials. ©ArtsWestchester

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.

Take care,

-You can support Oceana’s and the Finatics’ effort to ban the trade of shark fins in New York state by signing our petition:

-To learn more about the Green Chimney’s School, please go to

-Don’t forget to come back to Oceana's website on June 6 to nominate a 2012 Ocean Hero

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Interesting Things About Interests


2011 Ocean Hero Peter Wallerstein works to protect and rehabilitate marine mammals.

If you read the blog yesterday, you may recall two things: (1) the 4th Annual Ocean Heroes Contest kicks off on June 6, and (2) nearly 1/3 of Ocean Heroes finalists hail from California. Now while the a significant proportion of finalists in the contest’s  first three years have been from the same state, our 30 previous finalists cover a wide breadth of conservation issues.

For starters, if you were to ask, ‘How are the Ocean Heroes finalists helping the oceans?’, then I’d tell you there are – in my opinion – seven unique areas where people can invest their time: Political Activism, Habitat Conservation, Education, Pollution Reduction, Animal Rehabilitation, Research, and Promoting Sustainability. As you can see in the chart below, most finalists are politically active –from three girls scouts in Hawaii who rallied the state legislature to make World Oceans Day an official holiday to a physics and math professor in California who pushed Italian officials to end drilling in her native region of Abruzzo, which sits east of Rome on the Adriatic Sea.

Ocean Heroes areas of interest

Now that you see there are many different ways to put your energy into ocean conservation, you may ask, “Where is all that energy being focused?’. Amazingly, there’s no end to the different areas of focus where our Ocean Heroes commit their time and energy – SCUBA lessons for underprivileged kids (Education), developing a mooring buoy system to protect coral reefs (Conservation), saving stranded marine mammals (Rehabilitation), and the list goes on and on. As you can see in the pie chart below, marine mammals and sharks are the most popular focal points for our Ocean Heroes Finalists, but even an intense interest in sea slugs (Bonnie Lei, ’10) can earn someone a bid as an Ocean Heroes Finalist.

Ocean Heroes focus

So, whether you want to nominate yourself or someone else for conservation, education or activism, know that there’s no one sure-fire area of focus that makes someone an Ocean Hero Finalist – it’s about dedication and having an impact.

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State of the Ocean Heroes


Has your state gone blue? It could — nominate an Ocean Hero!

Oceana’s 4th annual Ocean Heroes Contest kicks off June 6, which gives you one week to think about this question: “Who do I know that works hard for the oceans and deserves recognition?”

From work in activism to conservation, from education to rehabilitation, from sustainability to research, there are likely tens of thousands – if not hundreds of thousands – of people who’d make good nominees. This makes it difficult for Oceana’s selection committee to narrow down so many candidates to six youth and six adult finalists.

But do you want some clues on where good nominees live? Allow me to share some statistics collected over the previous three contests (and please note… this is a pretty small sample size):

State Where Most Finalists Live: California. Nearly 1/3 of Ocean Heroes Finalists reside in the Golden State.

Coastal States That Have Never Produced a Finalist: Washington, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. This probably has more to do with the small sample size rather than a lack of Ocean Heroes in these states, so nominate the Ocean Heroes near you — it's a matter of state pride.

Landlocked States That Have Produced Finalists: Kentucky, Minnesota, and Washington DC. The nearest ocean being 1000 miles away didn’t stop a shy Minnesota 8-year-old named Sophi Bromenshenkel from selling enough lemonade, hot chocolate and cookies to purchase satellite shark tags for the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami. And, by the way, this land-locked shark-lover won the junior vote and became our 2011 Junior Ocean Hero!

Remember, nominations begin on June 6!

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‘Frozen Planet’ Raises Climate Questions

Sunday night, Discovery Channel aired the final episode of the Frozen Planet series that aired on the BBC last year.

This episode featured Sir David Attenborough visiting both poles – huddled by a sedated polar bear in the Arctic, hollering over the extreme winds at his Antarctic campsite – reminding the audience of a cold reality regarding any species’ survival: it’s adapt or die.

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Oceana Wins TravelShark Charity Hunt

We have been selected as one of three charities winners for the TravelShark Charity Hunt -- and we owe you a huge thanks for nominating and voting for us! 

Thanks to your effort, the online travel network TravelShark will support Oceana – along with the Cheetah Conservation Fund and People in Crisis United – when users upload photos to the TravelSharkPix photo-sharing application.

And, in the spirit of the Oscars last weekend, TravelShark created this short video to congratulate Oceana and the other charities:

We appreciate the recognition, but more importantly, we appreciate everything you do to make Oceana the most effective ocean advocacy group in the world.

Want to do more? Great, I thought you’d say yes! You can support the National Ocean Policy, oppose Congressional efforts to weaken the vital Magnuson-Stevens Act, or help keep our programs running with a donation.


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