What they’re into … with David Shiffman (@WhySharksMatter)

This is a series I’ve been featuring each Tuesday this summer to get a special sneak peek at the many different personalities behind the scientists, activists, and educators (including bloggers) who play an integral role in the marine science conservation field. It’s essentially an extension of the overwhelmingly popular and well done Tumblr blog, This Is What A Scientist Looks Like, (BCS was featured in April!) which sets out to illustrate that scientists are not just crazy haired nerds in lab coats. I’ve sent a list of 15 random questions and asked that each person share at least their answers to 5 of them. This week features David Shiffman of Southern Fried Science and I am so glad he agreed since I know this crowd loves shark talk.

David with a sandbar shark in Charleston harbor

David is a Ph.D. student at the University of Miami’s Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. His research focuses on shark behavior, ecology, and conservation, and he has interacted with over 2,500 sharks on three continents. David writes about shark science and conservation topics for the marine biology blog Southern Fried Science, and is active on Twitter @WhySharksMatter. Additionally, David has a B.S. with distinction in Biology from Duke University, and a Masters in Marine Biology from the College of Charleston. If you and your class or community organization are interested in joining David and the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program for a shark tagging expedition in the Florida Keys, please let him know!

What is your favorite Sunday breakfast?
When I lived in Charleston, SC, crab cake eggs benedict. They don’t have that here in Miami, but there’s a place around the corner from my apartment that makes peanut butter and chocolate chip pancakes.

What’s your favorite midnight snack?
Homemade cookies. My first word was “cookie”.

Are you a night owl or a morning person?
Although field research often involves getting up at 4:00 a.m., I am not a morning person. I enjoy having morning people in the car with me when I have to drive to our research locations before the sun rises, though.

Which sitcom character do you relate to?
I’m not sure if “Glee” counts as a sitcom, but if so, Sue Sylvester. If not, Jack Donaghy from “30 Rock” or Ron Swanson from “Parks and Recreation”.

What is your favorite scent?
Bacon. Or maybe popcorn. Actually, they make bacon-flavored popcorn now. It’s surprisingly not gross.

What three things would you take with you to an island?
If this is an island I’m vacationing on, I’d bring snorkel gear, beer, and beer. If this is a deserted island I’m going to be stranded on, I’d bring a satellite phone, a GPS, and a boat to help getting un-stranded.

Are you a cat person, dog person, or neither?
I am definitely a dog person. My new puppy Magnolia is sitting at my feet in my office as I answer these questions.

Bonus random fact you’d like to share about yourself?
There is a hot dog named after me (the Shiffman) at the hot dog stand on Duke’s campus. It is a hot dog served on a twinkie.

Yum! Thanks for the amazing idea for dinner tonight, David! Also, thanks for sharing your personality with us. For more ‘What they’re into …’ with other ocean folks click here.

When I cannot escape seaside, I am grateful for Josie Iselin’s unique eye

“Brilliant and captivating images of raw, earthen materials collected from the beach coupled with phrases of a scientific or contemplative nature always reinvigorate my psyche when the beach is near or far.”

It’s no secret that it’s tough to get to the beach sometimes. When life affords me the extravagance of a weekend of nothing to do and some extra comp time I can usually make it up to south Jersey where my husband and I grew up and we still have family. However, since DC is my home base these days, I sometimes find my beach meditation and inspiration in the form of books. I grew up an avid reader and find the tangible qualities of a book incredibly relaxing. Piles of books can be found in each of the rooms throughout our house and when looking for our first home I was unyielding that we be no more than a short bike ride from the nearest library. What this introduction has to do is express how much I value books and, in particular books that inspire me about the sea. With that I would like to share with you the collection of books that I find so dear to me from the artist and author Josie Iselin.

Josie Iselin is the photographer, author, and designer of six books (Beach Stones (2006), Leaves & Pods (2006), Seashells (2007), Heart Stones (2008), Beach: A Book of Treasure (2010), and Sea Glass Hearts (2012)) that focus on the breathtaking forms found in nature, concentrating on those treasures found seaside. Josie’s mission is to “produce enticing, original, and well-designed books that combine art and science, leaving the reader with new information and an appreciation for the world around them”. You can tell why I am so enamored with her work as sharing information in a unique and approachable manner is a big part of my mission on this blog.

Understanding the process that Josie takes to create such beautiful and classic images is fascinating. For almost twenty years she has used a flatbed scanner and computer to generate her images of the treasures she collected along the coast. She has noted that, “She is still captivated by the fluidity with which this technique allows her to render and design with three-dimensional objects”.

The most comprehensive of Josie Iselin’s ethereal catalog of maritime wonders is Beach: A book of Treasure. The over 100-page book published by Chronicle Books has images of seaside plants, oyster, clam, and scallop shells, igneous rock, fossilized seashells, crab exoskeletons, and sea glass displayed with such care that you cannot help but be in pure amazement with the design of Mother Nature. Nowhere else have I been able to view the skull of a seagull in a manner that suits me (often times I get intimidated by text found in captions of extensive ornithology books and that ultimately suppresses my examination). The text is remarkable in that it interweaves first-hand experiences of tossing a Frisbee with the explanation that the beach we play on is also known by scientists as “the first extension of the benthic zone”.

This book also revels in the colors that are the ocean ecosystem. Upon Josie’s placement of light with the scanner, sea urchin tests and multicellular algae are given the proper stage to display brilliant, bright colors and patterns. I also, appreciate the fact that the author took the time to recognize that often times not everything found on the beach is a treasure. As she noted, “We know that its (a pictured object of marine debris) production used a great deal of heat both in its formation and in making the materials it is composed of. This represents a net loss of resources for our environment. In contrast, the self assembly of the oyster shell, a durable and hard thing, occurs with no energy expended and without detriment to the maker’s environment”.

I optimistically encourage you to take the time to review Josie Iselin’s collection of beautiful books and, just like the author, I hope you will enjoy “celebrating the ordinary wonders we find at the beach and will bring thoughtfulness and stewardship to this extraordinary place of discovery”.

What they’re into … with Jim Wharton (Seattle Aquarium)

This is a series I’ve been featuring each Tuesday this summer to get a special sneak peek at the different personalities behind the scientists, activists, and educators (including bloggers) who play an integral role in the marine science conservation field. It’s essentially an extension of the overwhelmingly popular and well done Tumblr blog, This Is What A Scientist Looks Like, (BCS was featured in April!) which sets out to illustrate that scientists are not just crazy haired nerds in lab coats. I’ve sent a list of 15 random questions to some folks I know and asked that each person share at least their answers to 5 of them. This week’s feature shares some insight into the world of Jim Wharton.

Jim Wharton, Director of Conservation and Education at the Seattle Aquarium, feels at  home again in the Pacific Northwest after over 8 years in Florida working for the Smithsonian Marine Station and Mote Marine Laboratory. He started his career in marine science education as a volunteer, then educator at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Jim is also deeply involved with the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA) where he is a member of the board of directors and more committees than he has time for. You can learn more about him at about.me/jimwharton or follow his on Twitter for marine science miscellanea @jimwharton.

Jim notes, “The mission of the Seattle Aquarium is ‘Inspiring conservation of our marine environment’. To be true stewards of the marine environment people have to be science-literate and ocean-literate…but first they have to care. Marine science education helps people develop all these muscles, for flexing in support of the ocean.”

What is the last thing you bought that you shouldn’t have?
Unagi. I know freshwater eel is on SeafoodWatch’s sushi red list, but sometimes I’m weak. A colleague explained to me recently that one of the precursors to behavior change is a public declaration…so consider this mine. Any animal that swims thousands of miles out to sea to reproduce deserves a little more respect from me.

What is your favorite sundae topping?
Dark chocolate and caramel combo…on principles of general awesomeness.

What three things would you take with you to an island?
Assuming my family and/or a satellite phone is cheating…The Demon-Haunted World, mask/fin/snorkel, sunglasses. The Demon-Haunted World, by Carl Sagan, is a treatise of reason and a book I can read over and over. Mask/fins/snorkel, well, it’s an island. And anyone who knows me knows that I would be very uncomfortable without my sunglasses.

How superstitious are you?
Not at all (see above). I used to pretend to be superstitious (probably because everyone around me seemed to be), but I’ve given up believing that jinxes, broken mirrors, or wearing the same socks on gamedays have any real effect on the external world. I do think the idea of finding some locus of control in a chaotic world is a very human and understandable impulse. Wait, did I just call myself ‘inhuman?’

What is your favorite day of the week?
I’ve often bragged that Fridays and Mondays are meaningless to me. It’s a fringe benefit of loving the work you do. 

If you were a geometric shape, what would you like to be?
A star? Too much? I guess I’ll go with a triangle. Triangles are well-balanced and they have a point. I just hope people don’t find me obtuse.

What’s some other random favorite information about you?
I actually enjoy public speaking, but hate making toasts. Go figure.

Thank you for participating, Jim, keep up the great work! Everyone else, don’t forget to check out previous editions of “What they’re into …” with David Helvarg and Miriam Goldstein.

No balloons at the celebration for the Beach Chair Scientist …

Today is the fourth birthday of the Beach Chair Scientist blog. Despite the fact that some companies label latex balloons as ‘biodegradable’ and therefore, ‘safe’ for the environment, I will not be decorating any birthday celebration with balloons. Balloons blow! What has been widely spread is that latex balloons breakdown at ‘the same rate as an oak leaf from a tree‘. First, let me explain ‘latex’. Latex is a white tree sap of rubber particles from the plant, Hevae brasiliensis. After it is processed it becomes rubber. Rubber, as we know, is used in a variety of products because of its strong resilience and tear resistance. Balloons are made from latex (essentially, liquid rubber) once colors are added.

It just would not feel like a celebration for Beach Chair Scientist because I have been to countless beach clean-ups and see those latex and mylar balloons, as well as the strings that are tied to them, along the shoreline. Balloons are just not following the path that balloon manufacturers want us to believe. It may be true that research done in a controlled setting proves that when latex balloons rises to almost 30,000 feet they will freeze and bust into tiny slivers that fall back to earth. However, there are just too many natural factors (e.g., trees, wind) that impede balloons from rising to that height prior to losing their helium and flaying to the earth whole. Not to mention that even if latex balloons do break apart into tiny shards the tiny shard are still detrimental to the ocean. According to Sea Turtle Foundation, “Most balloons are made from ‘biodegradable’ latex, which degrades on exposure to air. However degradation can take up to six months and balloons floating in seawater can take up to twelve months to degrade”. In many areas it is illegal for mass balloon releases. Please check out your area for the local laws on balloons.

Here are ten examples of balloons affecting the ocean ecosystem:  

  1. On a New Jersey beach a sperm whale was found dying because it had a balloon in its stomach halting the passage of food.
  2. At a clean-up was on an island 5 miles out to sea – the distance cleaned at the 4 sites we targeted was about 1/2 mile of shoreline – in southern Maine this past June over 550 pounds of marine debris were found, including 232 pieces of debris (9 of which were balloons and one was found right next to a gull’s nest).
  3. Birds will collect plastic debris for their nests, and unknowingly construct death traps for their young.
  4. Balloons, plastic straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags, and metal beverage cans were found to be the most abundant type of marine debris litter as a 10-year national survey completed in 2008.
  5. Most of the trash found along the California coast during a 2003-2010 survey was 82% land-based plastics, including plastic bags, plastic bottles, balloons and straws.
  6. Fishing gear fragments, packaging materials, balloons, bottle caps, and straws were found to be the most common items found during a Cape Cod survey that collected 5,829 items along one-kilometer.
  7. A leatherback turtle starved to death because a latex balloon was stuck in its stomach. After the turtle necropsy, the only thing found in its intestines was three feet of nylon string attached to a balloon.
  8. Animals can become entangled in balloon ribbons and string, restricting their movement and their ability to feed.
  9. Bottlenose dolphins in California, loggerhead turtles in Texas, and a green turtle in Florida were all found dead after ingesting latex balloons.
  10. In the UK, Risso’s dolphins in French waters and fulmars in the North Sea are known to ingest balloons.

If you’re still keen on celebrating with balloons try to do activities where you can control them and not have them released into the atmosphere. You can put prizes inside them or decorate them or play games. Below are are alternatives for decorating and commemorating without balloons. Check out the background image from Orlando Sentinel with the juvenile loggerhead turtle swimming close to the floating balloons.

One last thing, if you’re in the DC area Saturday, July 21st and would like to join me during a stream clean-up with United By Blue please feel free to come along! It’s a great event co-sponsored by Subaru and fun for the whole family. Read this article about my first experience volunteering with them. Please feel free to drop me a line at info@beachchairscientist.com or leave a comment below if you have anything else you like to add to this post or just a question in general.

What they’re into … with Miriam Goldstein (Deep Sea News)

This is a series I am featuring each Tuesday this summer to get a special sneak peek at the many different of personalities behind the scientists, activists, and educators (including bloggers) who play an integral role in the marine science conservation field of today and tomorrow. It’s essentially an extension of the overwhelmingly popular and well done Tumblr blog, This Is What A Scientist Looks Like, (BCS was featured in April!) which sets out to illustrate that scientists are not just crazy haired nerds in lab coats. I’ve sent a list of 15 random questions and asked that each person share at least their answers to 5 of them. This week features my favorite commentator over at Deep Sea News, Miriam Goldstein.

Miriam is a Ph.D. student studying Biological Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. For her thesis work, she is researching the impact of plastic debris on zooplankton communities and invasive species transport in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre. She is the principal investigator on the SEAPLEX cruise, which explored plastic debris in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre in August 2009. Miriam is an active science popularizer and educator, and has appeared on CNN, CBS, NPR Science Friday, and PRI’s The World, among many other media outlets. Her popular writing has appeared in Slate Magazine and Open Laboratory, and she currently writes for the web’s leading marine science blog, Deep Sea News. Miriam has been a Fellow in the NSF Marine Biodiversity and Conservation IGERT program and the NSF GK-12 teaching program. She holds an M.S. in Marine Biology from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and a B.S. in Biology from Brown University. Before coming to Scripps, she worked as a construction project manager in New York City, an outdoor educator in New Hampshire, and an environmental consultant in Boston. Miriam is originally from Manchester, NH.

What is your favorite fruit flavor?
I don’t really like fruit flavored things that aren’t fruit, but I LOVE berries. One of the best things about living in southern California is all the strawberries, especially in February! But my very favorites are raspberries and blueberries.

What is your favorite Sunday breakfast?
That’s really hard since brunch is my favorite meal. I’d say it’s a tie between my own homemade popovers with maple butter (I like to bake) and my husband’s chilaquiles (a spicy mix of fried corn tortillas, eggs, and onions). {Scroll down for the chilaquiles recipe}

Are you a night owl or a morning person?
Definitely a night owl, which is sort of unfortunate since marine biology is organized around a lot of early mornings. I still do my best to never start work before 9:30 or 10 AM, since I don’t really wake up fully until then.

Which sitcom character do you relate to?
I’m a huge nerd and I love kickass female characters. So one of my favorite shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer (though I’m really more of a Willow than a Buffy). I also love Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica and Zoe from Firefly. Veronica Mars is probably my favorite TV character closest to being a scientist, since she’s a detective.

What is your favorite pastime?
I like to waste time on the internet, bake, and backpack. My favorite thing to bake is pie, any kind of pie, though my husband’s favorite is my apple cranberry crisp. We’ve been backpacking the John Muir trail in the Sierras for the past few summers – last summer we did an 100-mile hike from Bishop to Mt. Whitney, most of which was above 10,000 feet. Standing on top of Mt. Whitney was pretty amazing – it’s so high that if we were in an airplane, we’d be able to use our electronic devices!

Are you a cat person, dog person, or neither?
Both! I love dogs, but I travel too much to have one. I have two cats, one skinny and one…not so skinny. It’s a constant battle to keep the fat cat at an acceptable level of fatness. (She shared a picture of them here too!)

If you were a geometric shape, what would you like to be?
A dodecahedron so I could have the coolest name.

What’s some other random favorite information about yourself?
My new favorite thing is Spotify, the music service. I’ve become a little obsessed with making themed Spotify mixes. You can check them out here: http://sharemyplaylists.com/members/miriamgoldstein/playlists.

I am honored that Miriam shared some insight into her day-to-day life and I definitely agree that being a dodecahedron is the way to go as far as shapes. Be sure to check last week’s featured ocean conservationist David Helvarg, Executive Director of Blue Frontier, and check back next Tuesday for a guy who loves his job so much that Fridays and Mondays are meaningless. Now that’s the way to live!

Chilaquiles recipe
Serves two people, scales linearly. The better the tortillas, the better the dish. Fresh salsa will be better, too (from the refrigerator aisle, or homemade, if you have the energy). This recipe will be mildly spicy. There are lots of way to give it more kick, but my preferred is to add a habanero to the jalapenos.

1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped into 1″ pieces. Not too small.
4 eggs
8 high quality corn tortillas, sliced into 1″ x 3″ strips (approx.)
salsa (at room temperature)
cheddar cheese (for grating)
half avocado, chopped (optional)
vegetable oil

Tools: Skillet or frying pan, knife and cutting board for chopping, two dinner plates, 1 medium mixing bowl, and 1 small mixing bowl.

1) Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a skillet at medium, enough to coat pan and then some.
2) Put onions into pan and sautee. After a  minute, add peppers. Saute both until soft.
3) Put onions and peppers into small bowl and set aside.
4) Add oil to pan until it’s 1/2″ deep, and heat oil on medium high. When you put a piece of tortilla in, it should sizzle. If it doesn’t, oil isn’t hot enough.
5) Put in tortillas and fry. Push them around until they start to get crunchy. Tortillas will cook unevenly, which is fine. Remove when you have reached preferred level of crunchiness. We like them with some bend left in them.
6) Remove tortillas to bowl with paper towel in it. Pour off oil in pan until there’s enough left to  coat the pan.
7) Put half of tortillas and half of onion-pepper mixture back into pan. Push around until everything is warm again.
8) Crack two eggs over tortilla-onion mixture. Scramble quickly so eggs will cook into mixture.
9) When eggs are cooked, pile onto empty plate.
10) IMMEDIATELY grate cheddar over mixture, enough to make a thin layer over the center of the mixture. Add more if you like more, less if you like less. Cheddar shreds will melt over hot mixture.
11) Repeat steps 7-10 for each person.

Add avocado chunks, if you have them. Put a few tablespoons of salsa on top of each plate. Put the salsa on the table, in case diners prefer more. Eat promptly.

A naturalist’s must-see destination: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

I have it on my bucket list to explore at least ten more National Parks in the next decade, but I am going to have to rely on family and friends to share their adventures since I just spent some time in Maine visiting Acadia National Park. My brother, wife, and their sons (8 and 6 years old) just spent a week at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and have kindly taken the time to share their adventures from the boys perspective. Take a look at this 60-second  movie on what sort of wildlife awaits you at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Also, here are 5 little known facts about Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge to hopefully entice you to visit. (The interminable forests should become graceful parks, for use and delight. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1844)

  1. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge was purchased with Duck Stamp revenues.
  2. Most historians believe that the famous Chincoteague ponies are remnants from that settlers who used the island for grazing livestock in the 1600’s in an effort to avoid difficult fencing regulation. Descendants of those ponies are still living there today.
  3. In a CNN Special from June 2012, Assateague Island National Seashore was named as one of the 7 prime spots to view wildlife. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is at the Virginia end of the National Seashore.
  4. The endangered sea beach amaranth is well adapted to survive the harsh seashore conditions of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.
  5. Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge has 14 ‘pools’ that total over 2,600 acres that are carefully manipulated to control moisture levels.

From sea to shining sea, a flag for you and me!

I hope everyone enjoys a happy and safe Independence Day this 4th of July!

(Please be careful using fireworks. According to Mother Earth News, “Fireworks can unleash a shower of toxins into soil and water, and scientists are only beginning to figure out what that means for human health”. Also, don’t forget your boat safety skills. Instead, get creative for our new contest this summer!)

What they’re into … with David Helvarg

This is a series I will be featuring each Tuesday this summer to get a special sneak peak at the different personalities behind the scientists, activists, and educators (including bloggers) who play an integral role in the marine science conservation field. It’s essentially an extension of the overwhelmingly popular and well done Tumblr blog, This Is What A Scientist Looks Like, (BCS was featured in April!) which sets out to illustrate that scientists are not just crazy haired nerds in lab coats. I’ve sent a list of 15 random questions to some folks I know and asked that each person share at least their answers to 5 of them. This first week we’re starting off with the one and only David Helvarg.

David is an author and Executive Director of Blue Frontier Campaign.  has written: Blue Frontier, The War Against the Greens, 50 Ways to Save the Ocean, Rescue Warriors and Saved by the Sea. His next book, ‘The Golden Shore – California’s Love Affair with the Sea’ will be out in early 2013. He is editor of the Ocean and Coastal Conservation Guide and organizer of ‘Peter Benchley Ocean Awards’ and ‘Blue Vision’ Summits for ocean activists. He has worked as a war correspondent in Northern Ireland and Central America, covered a range of issues from military science to the AIDS epidemic, and reported from every continent including Antarctica. An award-winning journalist, he produced more than 40 broadcast documentaries for PBS, The Discovery Channel, and others. His print work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, LA Times, Smithsonian, Sierra, and Parade. He’s done radio work for Marketplace, AP radio, and Pacifica. He has led workshops for journalists in Poland, Turkey, Tunisia, Slovakia and Washington DC. David is a licensed Private Investigator, body-surfer and scuba diver.

Here are David’s answers to his chosen questions:

What is the last thing you bought that you shouldn’t have?
A 12-pack of Coke.

What is your favorite Sunday breakfast?
Huevos Rancheros, fresh OJ and the Sunday New York Times, ideally on a porch with friends and a water view.

Are you a night owl or a morning person?
Can’t say I really give a hoot but neither do I wake up with a smile on my face.

What is your favorite room in your home?
My home office – just a 10 second commute from the bedroom.  If you work hard you get to play hard. 

What is your favorite scent?
The iodine and slightly kelpy odor of a living sea.

What is your favorite sundae topping?
Anchovies.  Only kidding.  Chopped nuts, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, it’s all good.

What is your favorite pastime?
Bodysurfing, diving, or snorkeling depending on conditions.

What three things would you take with you to an island?
Dive gear, my girlfriend and a boat.

How superstitious are you?
I believe in evolution and anthropogenic climate change so not very but I have given the occasional agnostic prayer for friends and loved ones in trouble.

What is your favorite day of the week?
Whatever day of the week I’m on a beach.

Are you a cat person, dog person, or neither?
Thought I was a dog person till I ended up in a 20-year relationship with a tabby named Poose, the finest small furry predator I’ve ever known or am likely to.

If you were a geometric shape, what would you like to be?
Elliptical.

Thanks to David for playing along and I hope you’re relaxing on the beach enjoying an ice cream sundae with plenty of chopped nuts, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream somewhere. To the dear rest of you, please keep an eye out for more to come from other amazing ocean conservationists this summer and please don’t forget to participate in the Summer Sustainability Creativity Challenge!

It’s on: Summer Sustainability Creativity Challenge!

Summer is here and what better time of year to show your devotion to the ocean with some fun and creativity? Inspired by 1) the trio of huge fish made from plastic bottles constructed as a display during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development this past month and 2) my new found skill at fusing plastic I am calling upon all readers and friends of readers to create some art (functional or not) with items they would otherwise toss. Why not start a collection of bottle caps or soda tabs to create a sign for your favorite band or music act? Start creating a pile of cardboard and make an homage to your favorite animal, brand, or company just like artist Mark Langan. These submissions can also be useful for around the house. Why not upcycle glass baby food jars for storage? I’ve got my own projects in the works and will share later this summer.

This contest is set up to demonstrate that anyone, anywhere can make an impact on saving the ocean. That’s right, even if you’re a Minnesota-ite (or is it Minnesotian?) everything that goes into your watershed will end up in the sea. This contest is also set up to help build awareness as to how much waste we produce that we could otherwise reuse. Who knows, maybe this contest can be practice for when you someday build an entire home out of shipping containers?

Rules and regulations

  1. Each entry should be photographed and emailed to info@beachchairscientist.com no later than midnight EDT on August 17, 2012 (please limit to 4 images at 300 dpi).
  2. All images sent will be property of Beach Chair Scientist.
  3. Each entry should be accompanied with a brief statement including 1) names and ages of the artists, 2) what type(s) of how much of each material(s) were used, 3) any other material(s) used, 4) collection process for gathering material(s), 5) intend of the piece, and 6) favorite anecdote from the while creating the entry for the Summer Sustainability Creativity Challenge. This statement should not exceed 500 words.
  4. Entry can be submitted by any one person or organization. The winner will be notified to the email address that submitted the entry on August 31, 2012.
  5. This year there will be three top entries chosen by a group of three remarkable individuals (1 teacher and 2 non-formal science educators that will be introduced later this summer). Their judging will be based on four overall factors: creativity and originality, message and intent, collection process, and lessons learned. On August 24, 2012 these entries will be announced and we’ll launch into an audience participation vote when the voting will close at midnight EDT on August 30, 2012. The winner will be announced August 31, 2012.

Prize package

  1. (1) Beach Chair Scientist t-shirt (winner’s preference)
  2. (1) Marine science learning packet (coloring book, learning pages, stickers, etc.)
  3. (1) $50.00 gift certificate to your favorite store on Etsy
  4. (1) Autographed hardcopy edition of Josie Iselin’s Beach: A Book of Treasure
  5. (1) David Helvarg’s 50 Ways to Save the Ocean (hardcover or e-book, winner’s preference)
  6. The honor and prestige of being the first winner of the Summer Sustainability Creativity Challenge!
  7. The top 10 entries will be featured in a video posted on August 31, 2012

If you or your organization would like to co-sponsor this contest please contact info@beachchairscientist.com. Please do not hesitate to contact info@beachchairscientist.com with any additional questions or comments.

100 ocean quotes

Because there is not just one quote that summarizes how ethereal and majestic the ocean is, and in honor of World Oceans Day, and because you know I like lists, here is an archive of some inspiring quotes about the important aspects of our ocean all from people you may have heard of a time or two. If you have another favorite, please don’t forget to share and comment below.

100 Quotes about the ocean from the Beach Chair Scientist

1. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
2. “In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans” – Kahlil Gibran
3. “We know that when we protect our oceans we’re protecting our future.” – Bill Clinton
4. “It isn’t the oceans which cut us off from the world — it’s the American way of looking at things.” – Henry Miller
5. “The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free!” – Bryan W. Procter
6. “To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?” – Walt Whitman
7. “There is the life of the plankton in almost endless variety; there are the many kinds of fish, both surface and bottom living; there are the hosts of different invertebrate creatures on the sea-floor; and there are those almost grotesque forms of pelagic life in the oceans depths. Then there are the squids and cuttlefish, and the porpoises, dolphins and great whales.” – Sir Alister Hardy
8. “Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.” – Loren Eiseley
9. “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” – e.e. Cummings
10. “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came…” – John F. Kennedy
11. “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Isaac Newton
12. “Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.” – Lloyd Biggle Jr.
13. “It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose, should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist: the threat is rather to life itself.” – Rachel Carson
14. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa
15. “To me, the sea is like a person–like a child that I’ve known a long time. It sounds crazy, I know, but when I swim in the sea I talk to it. I never feel alone when I’m out there.” – Gertrude Ederle
16. “My soul is full of longing for the secrets of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
17. “The sea will grant each man new hope, and sleep will bring dreams of home.” Christopher Columbus
18. “Animal protection is education to the humanity.” – Albert Schweitzer
19. “The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” -Blaise Pascal
20. “You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” – Evan Esar
21. “Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer
22. “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” – William James
23. “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Wyland
24. “The tradition of freedom of the high seas has its roots in an era when there were too few people to seriously violate the oceans — but in hindsight that era ended some 150 years ago.” – James Carlton
25. “The true peace of God begins at any spot a thousand miles from the nearest land.” – Joseph Conrad
26. “Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.” – Robert Henri
27. “The sea hath no king but God alone.” – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
28. “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” – Thomas Fuller
29. “After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” – Pam Shaw
30. “Primeval forests! virgin sod! That Saxon has not ravish’d yet, Lo! peak on peak in stairways set— In stepping stairs that reach to God! Here we are free as sea or wind, For here are set Time’s snowy tents
In everlasting battlements Against the march of Saxon mind.” – Joaquin Miller
31. “The oceans deserve our respect and care, but you have to know something before you can care about it.” – Sylvia Earle
32. “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
33. “A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
34. “From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
35. “No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
36. “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
37. “The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” -Christopher Paolini
38. “Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” -Sarah Kay
39. “Hark, now hear the sailors cry / smell the sea, and feel the sky / let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.” -Van Morrison
40. “Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.” -John Kenneth Galbraith
41. “It’s hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much. Everything about it is renewing for me, almost like therapy… Beach Therapy.” -Amy Dykens
42. “A pool just isn’t the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life.” – Linda Gerber
43. “I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me. The sea.” – Gary Paulsen
44. “Fishes live in the sea, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.” – William Shakespeare
45. “I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.” – Helen Keller
46. “When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
47. “The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean.” – Beyoncé Knowles
48. “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
49. “The use of sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession therof.” – Elizabeth I, Queen of England
50. “The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” – Kate Chopin
51. “I felt the full breadth and depth of the ocean around the sphere of the Earth, back billions of years to the beginning of life, across all the passing lives and deaths, the endless waves of swimming joy and quiet losses of exquisite creatures with fins and fronds, tentacles and wings, colourful and transparent, tiny and huge, coming and going. There is nothing the ocean has not seen.” – Sally Andrew
52. “The waves of the sea help me get back to me.” – Jill Davis
53. “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” – Dave Barry
54. “I couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. It was a giant reset button. You could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed.” – Avery Sawyer
55. “If we don’t manage this resource, we will be left with a diet of jellyfish and plankton stew.” Daniel Pauly
56. “I want to get out in the water. I want to see fish, real fish, not fish in a laboratory.” —Sylvia Earle
57. “People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet-we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.” – Sylvia Earle
57. “It is important to remember that the ocean’s resources are finite. The commitment these kids are making here today is a clear and compelling call to all of us to pay attention to our ocean.” – Ted Danson
58. “My boat is on the shore, And my bark is on the sea.” George Gordon Byron
59. “Even castles made from sand fall to the ocean” – Jimi Hendrix
60. “Ever since I was a child I’ve felt connected to water: lakes, rivers, streams––I love to jump in and swim around. But it’s the ocean where I go for rejuvenation, revelation, and solace.” Susan Rockefeller
61. “No love is Like an ocean with the dizzy procession of the waves’ boundaries …” – Jack Spicer
62. “I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and the lows.” – Drew Barrymore
63. “Without water, our planet would be one of the billions of lifeless rocks floating endlessly in the vastness of the inky-black void.” – Fabien Cousteau
64. “We are blessed with a magnificent and miraculous world ocean on this planet. But we are also stressing it in ways that we are not even close to bringing under control.” – Carl Safina
65. “The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves …” – Wyland
66. “It is particularly appropriate that we unveil this campaign on this first day of the annual international coastal clean-up effort, … Beach cleanups are something each of us can do any time of the year. I’m proud to be participating in the cleanup efforts today and I encourage everyone to make the time for these types of activities.” – Ted Danson
67. “The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” – William Wordsworth
68. “Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.” – Heinrich Zimmer
69. “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson
70. “The sea lives in every one of us …” – Wyland
71. “Always remember that the ocean delights in feeling your feet in her eternal bath …” – Wyland
72. “Ocean energy can contribute a great deal toward the protection or our atmosphere – without damaging marine ecosystems that are equally vital to the planet’s future.” – Fred Krupp
73. “Do what we will, the Colorado will one day find an unimpeded way to the sea.” – Donald Worster
74. “At the end of the day, no amount of investing, no amount of clean electrons, no amount of energy efficiency will save the natural world if we are not paying attention to it – if we are not paying attention to all the things that nature give us for free: clean air, clean water, breathtaking vistas, mountains for skiing, rivers for fishing, oceans for sailing, sunsets for poets, and landscapes for painters. What good is it to have wind-powered lights to brighten the night if you can’t see anything green during the day? Just because we can’t sell shares in nature doesn’t mean it has no value.” – Thomas L. Friedman
75. “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” – Hunter S. Thompson
76. “There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” – Joseph Conrad

77. “And I shall watch the ferry boats, and they’ll get high, on a bluer ocean against tomorrow’s sky. and i will never grow so old again, and i will walk and talk, in gardens all wet with rain…” – Van Morrison
78. “‎I have always been fascinated by the ocean, to dip a limb beneath its surface and know that I’m touching eternity, that it goes on forever until it begins here again.” – Lauren DeStefano
79. “A pool just isn’t the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life.” – Linda Gerber
80. “No matter how remote we feel we are from the oceans, every act each one of us takes in our everyday lives affects our planet’s water cycle and in return affects us.” – Fabien Cousteau
81. “Into the ocean went a world more fantastic than any imagination could inspire …” – Wyland
82. “You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.” – Thomas Traherne
83. “I do an awful lot of scuba diving. I love to be on the ocean, under the ocean. I live next to the ocean.” – James Cameron
84. “I heard silence, silence infinite as the bottom of the ocean, a silence that sealed.” – Anne Spollen
85. “The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
86. “Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life.” – Tamora Pierce
87. “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” – Vincent Van Gogh
88. “Your heart is like the ocean, mysterious and dark.” – Bob Dylan
89. “Individuals of all ages can make an important difference in the overall health of our ocean by the actions they take every day. Simple things like picking up trash on the beach, recycling and conserving water can have a big impact on the health of our ocean.” – Ted Danson
90. “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” – Sylvia Earle
91. “That the sea is one of the most beautiful and magnificent sights in Nature, all admit.” – John Joly
92. “To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” – Rachel Carson
93. “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach” – Henry Beston
94. “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about the sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.” – Herman Melville
95. “To heal the ocean, we must heal ourselves.” – Dr. Rod Fujita
96. “If you like to eat seafood or swim in the ocean, it’s time to get involved.” – Julie Evans-Brumm
97. “And I have loved thee, Ocean! And my joy of youthful sports was on thy breast to be borne, like thy bubbles, onward; from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers. They to me were a delight; and if the freshening sea made them a terror, ‘twas a pleasing fear.” – Lord Byron
98. “Catch a wave, and you’re sitting on top of the world.” – The Beach Boys
99. “The sea is not a bargain basement.” – Jacques Cousteau
100. “Only God almighty and naval research can save us from the perils of the sea.” – John Warner