The Beacon

Blog Tags: Sea Turtles

Sound, Brain and Ocean Waves

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Image via wikimedia commons.

Last time we heard from Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols, he sent us wisdom from a coconut. Now he's back with several cool new projects. The first is called Ocean Voices, a website where you can record your own thoughts on the oceans and listen to others' voices, too.

The culmination of the project will be an Ocean Opera performed in June 2010 to kick off World Ocean Month and Jacques Cousteau's 100th Birthday celebration. With more than 300 voices so far, Nichols hopes to get 1000 by the end of this year. Check it out and speak up for the seas!

And then there's his forthcoming book, Oceanophilia, co-authored by Andy Myers. So what is Oceanophilia, you ask? Keep reading and find out, in this post by Nichols from yesterday's Huffington Post:

Oceanophilia: The Neuroscience of Emotion and the Ocean

“We are tied to the ocean.  And when we go back to the sea—whether it is to sail or to watch it—we are going back from whence we came.”  - President John F. Kennedy

Once I met a man who hated the ocean.  Intensely, he said.  He described to me fear, negative associations and a general unease he couldn’t quite put his finger on.  His aversion was so strong— especially when measured against my own great, unabashed love for the ocean—that I’ll never forget my bewilderment.  Everyone I have ever known loves the ocean.  I’m not talking about lower-case “l” kind of love either; the kind that we apply indiscriminately to pop stars, sports teams and chocolate bars.  I mean the capital “L” kind of Love; the love that is unfathomable and ineffable, a fusion of respect, understanding, awe, sensuality and mystery.


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Kate Walsh Joins Oceana to Save Sea Turtles

Actress Kate Walsh, star of ABC’s “Private Practice,” (and that fantastic Cadillac commercial) has joined Oceana in our campaign to protect sea turtles. Needless to say, we are tickled to have her on board.

Walsh travelled with Oceana scientists to the U.S. Virgin Islands this summer, where she encountered leatherback hatchlings and swam with green sea turtles. (Watch the video below -- she's impressively graceful in the water).

Check out Kate's new website with Oceana, http://oceana.org/turtlesoffthehook, where you can see her new PSA about turtles, photo slideshows and bonus footage, and sign up to join Kate in the fight to get turtles off the hook. Plus, don't forget to check out the interview with Kate in the latest Oceana newsletter.

Kate Walsh Swims With Sea Turtles from Oceana on Vimeo.


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Rachel Maddow Loves Sea Turtles

Rachel Maddow, known for her incisive take on American politics, is also, it seems, a fan of sea turtles. In a "Moment of Geek" segment from her show last week, she showed a video of 82 green sea turtle hatchlings at Sea World in San Diego. "All of the world's species of sea turtle are on the endangered list, so there being 82 new little ones in the world is sort of a big turtle-y deal." We couldn't agree more, Rachel. If that makes us geeks, then so be it.

 


Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy


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Kate Walsh, Sea Turtles and More in Our Fall Newsletter

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Actress Kate Walsh with a leatherback hatchling. © Tim Calver


I’m happy to share our latest quarterly newsletter with you. We’ve taken a slightly different approach this time around and featured several facets of our campaign to save sea turtles.

We’re also officially introducing Kate Walsh, star of the hit TV shows “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice,” as our sea turtle campaign spokeswoman.

These stories and more are inside:

*Kate Walsh Wants to Get Sea Turtles Off the Hook: The actress travels to the Virgin Islands with Oceana to film a public service campaign to protect sea turtles.

*New Oceana victories to protect krill, sea turtles and more.

*Introducing Casey: This 11-year-old sea turtle activist from North Carolina raises money for sea turtles through bake sales, and joins Oceana’s holiday adopt-a-creature fundraiser.

*Nesting Nights: Oceana online editor Emily Fisher and marine biologist Kerri Lynn Miller traveled to Bald Head Island to witness loggerhead sea turtle nesting.

*Photos from our Sea Change Summer Party honoring Morgan Freeman and Glenn Close.

*A profile of Lea Haratani, marine biologist and new vice chair of the Ocean Council.

*A sustainable seafood recipe from renowned Spanish chef Sergi Arola.

You can also download a PDF of the newsletter. I hope you come away entertained and enlightened about Oceana’s work.



[Andy Sharpless is the CEO of Oceana.]


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A Bad Year for Loggerheads

loggerhead sea turtle

A female loggerhead on Bald Head Island, NC. © Oceana/Jeff Janowski

During my turtle trip to Bald Head Island, NC in June, the loggerhead nesting numbers were looking dismal, but it was fairly early in the season, so the folks at the Island Conservancy were hoping things would turn around. It turns out Bald Head had its worst nesting year on record since 1983.

This year's loggerhead nesting numbers are in, and yesterday Oceana announced that this year was one of the worst on record from North Carolina to Florida. In Florida, which accounts for nearly 90 percent of loggerhead nesting in the United States, nesting decreased by more than 15 percent in 2009.


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Inbox Inspiration

We frequently get e-mails from Wavemakers who have questions or comments about our work. But every once in a while we get stories that just plain make our day. We got such an e-mail on Friday from a father named Frank. He wrote:

My son, who is 8 years old, has started a charity on his own. We read an article about how marine animals are dying from starvation after mistakenly eating plastic bags...especially sea turtles. So my son saved his money all summer (from picking up dog poop in our back yard) and used the money to buy reusable shopping bags.


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A Visit From Casey

casey sokolovic

Eleven-year-old sea turtle activist and 2009 Ocean Hero nominee Casey Sokolovic and her parents visited Oceana HQ in Washington, DC last Friday. Coincidentally, I was in North Carolina last week on the sea turtle nesting expedition you've been reading about, so I didn't get the chance to meet her. We traded places -- she was in the office, and I was looking for sea turtles nesting and visiting the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center where she volunteers. To raise money for the Center, she has held bake sales (with turtle-shaped cookies, of course), and has worked with NC coffee brewery Joe Van Gogh to create an organic sea turtle blend. Her coffee is now being carried in Whole Foods stores throughout the Carolinas, with 10% of the proceeds going to the center.


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Nesting Nights: Rehab Redux

© Oceana/Jeff Janowski

Editor's note: This is the last in a series of six blog posts from Emily and Kerri Lynn's trip to North Carolina to watch loggerhead sea turtles nesting. The most recent post was about a full loggerhead nesting.

After witnessing our first full loggerhead nesting, we woke up early, drank some much-needed coffee, then drove over to Jean Beasley’s Sea Turtle Hospital on Topsail Island, NC. After visting last year, I was curious to see how things had changed.

When we arrived, Jean and her team of interns were saying a tearful goodbye to a loggerhead sea turtle, Coastie, who died that morning after getting surgery at NC State in Raleigh.

“We can’t save them all, but we do the best we can,” Beasley told the group of solemn students ranging from middle-school to college age.

Currently housing 22 sea turtles, the hospital is getting too big for its britches. Everywhere you look, including the bathroom, are pools with sea turtles in them. A new, much bigger facility is in the works, but Beasley said she’s far from having the funding needed to complete the project.


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Nesting Nights: The Real Thing

loggerhead nesting

© Oceana/Jeff Janowski

Editor's note: This is the fifth in a series of blog posts from Emily and Kerri Lynn's trip to North Carolina to watch loggerhead sea turtles nesting. The most recent post was about beach erosion.

As promised, I have more to report on our expedition to Bald Head Island, NC. After 3 nights on the island, Kerri Lynn and I had seen a female loggerhead's false crawl and the end of a female nesting.

With only one night remaining, we were really hoping to see the whole nesting process. We got our chance on the fourth night at 2 a.m. When we got to the beach it was starting to rain, and there was no moon in sight.

The interns told us that they had seen five sets of tracks -- all false crawls -- two of which they think were this female, since the tracks appeared similar. The turtle was at work digging her egg chamber, but we stayed at a distance to make sure we didn’t scare her off.

We stayed quiet and still, waiting for her to go into the nesting “trance” to get closer. We all turned our flashlights off, and as our eyes adjusted to the darkness, we could see glints of bioluminescent algae on her shell.

As soon as she started dropping eggs into the chamber, the interns gave us the go-ahead to get closer. They got busy measuring her shell and checking her for tagging IDs while we watched the eggs drop into the sandy pit she’d neatly dug. There was a noticeable chunk taken out of the back of her shell. The interns guessed that a predator had taken a bite when she was a juvenile.


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Nesting Nights: Shrinking Habitat

© Oceana/Jeff Janowski

Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of posts from Emily and Kerri Lynn's trip to North Carolina to watch loggerhead sea turtles nesting this week.

You may have noticed the lack of update yesterday – we were on the beach during the wee hours of Thursday morning watching another nesting mother (!), and then we drove over to the Topsail Island Sea Turtle Hospital for most of the day, so stay tuned for full posts (and photos) on those events next week.

But for today, I wanted to return to a recurring theme in this week’s adventure: beach erosion. When I came down to Bald Head last September to see loggerhead hatchlings, I didn’t hear a word about beach erosion. That’s not to say it wasn’t happening, but this time, it’s on everybody’s lips.


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