A little dose of ocean conservation inspiration

This is a whimsical – yet still direct and profound – image I wanted to share from from my Ocean Conservation Inspiration Pinterest board. Do you have a particular phrase or image that drives you?

What they’re into … with Mark Gibson (Breaching the Blue)

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 and asked that each person share at least their answers to 5 of them. Here’s what Mark Gibson had to say.

Mark at Ted Turner’s Flying D Ranch, a model ranch in terms of species conservation and land restoration.

Mark runs Breaching the Blue, a website on the “politics, economics, and human dimensions of the global ocean”.  He says you can think of it as a sort of ‘digital nerdery’ – a place and space to tinker with ideas on ocean conservation and politics. These days he spends a lot of time thinking on how we might rebuild fish stocks through innovations in fishing rights and reduce illegal fishing through the application of criminological theory.

He studied international affairs at Johns Hopkins SAIS in Washington, DC, and tailored his coursework to look at marine policy.  He sees this as a perfect example of how you don’t need to go to a ‘blue’ school to do ocean work. In fact, the combination of a more traditional international security education with ocean affairs led to his tackling of a lot of interesting issues, from the political economy of MPA selection to the international law that would govern displaced island nations.

After graduating, Mark worked at Oceana and the Pew Environment Group.  This led him to some interesting work, from evaluating the damages to fishermen after the Deepwater Horizon Spill to a full-scale policy analysis of Europe’s deep-sea fishing. A major interest of his is helping the NGO world better use all the great economic data out there.  Why work so hard to make moral arguments when so much of the ocean could be protected on economic grounds alone?  He continues to work in ocean conservation in DC, but spares us the details to maintain his independence.

In the long term, Mark hopes to have his own consulting practice that would analyze the economics of fisheries crime and efficacy of enforcement activities.  The aim would be to offer a knowledge product that would a) increase the efficiency of enforcement efforts, b) increase the value of fishery access rights, and c) improve overall conservation. He’s now exploring how he might go about that.

Outside of oceans, Mark spends his spare time rock climbing, practicing pop psychology as a Myers-Briggs enthusiast, and promoting the slightly eccentric diet and lifestyle known as ‘Paleo’.

What is the last thing you bought that you shouldn’t have?
More books. I’ve committed myself to not expanding the Gibson library until the end of the summer.

What is your favorite fruit flavor?
Banana.

What is your favorite Sunday breakfast?
Avocado and mushroom scramble with a grass-fed beef patty, fresh berries, and artisanal coffee.

What’s your favorite midnight snack?
Almond butter.

Are you a night owl or a morning person?
Morning person.

What is your favorite room in your home?
The basement.  I have a ‘Bat Cave’ with a small library and a large cache of climbing gear, diving equipment, and other outdoor paraphernalia.

Which sitcom character do you relate to?
I relate equally to Ron Swanson and Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation. Go figure.

What is your favorite scent?
Fresh coconut.

What is your favorite sundae topping?
I don’t eat ice cream, but it would probably be dark chocolate or raspberries.

What is your favorite pastime?
Scuba diving.  The best job I ever had was as a divemaster in the Bay Islands.

What three things would you take with you to an island?
A sea kayak, a tent, and a bottle of hard cider.

How superstitious are you?
Not at all.

What is your favorite day of the week?
Friday.

Are you a cat person, dog person, or neither?
Dog person.

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

What’s some other random favorite information about you?
Favorite blogs: Marginal Revolution and the Dan Ariely Blog.
Music: Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, and Steve Earle
Movies: The Life Aquatic, Moon, 3:30 to Yuma
What I’m reading: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Why People Obey the Law, Managing Small-Scale Fisheries: Alternative Directions and Methods, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, and The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communication

Thanks to Mark for participating in this questionnaire and I hope you’re finding time to get through that library. Check out the other great folks that contributed to the “What they’re into …” series this summer.

Philly, it’s time to get enthusiastic about ditching those bags of plastic

It’s no secret that I am not a fan of single use plastic bags (Check out this series about the majestic plastic bag from last summer) and I support any campaign requesting city officials to review a ban on plastic bag. This is especially true when the city of focus is Philadelphia, PA. I might be more of DCist lately, but my heart and soul are from Philly (Go Phils!). My parents are from the area and I still have plenty of family that I do not see enough in the area, not to mention I was raised in south Jersey. The way I always differentiate south and north Jersey for people that wonder why I make such a distinction is that when you say ‘the city’ in south Jersey you are referring to Philly and if you say ‘the city’ in north Jersey you are referring to NYC.

In any event, I actively volunteered with DC Surfrider as they worked vigorously to pass the Anacostia River Cleanup and Protection Act of 2009 which set up a 5 cent cost for all single use plastic bags and know that this type of change in a city has an impact on local streets, sidewalks, and waterways. The goal here is simple, if you live in or care about the beautification of Philadelphia, please sign this petition to bring attention to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, therefore initiating a vote in City Council. For more information please visit Green Philly Blog.

Los Angeles has officially banned plastic bags, joining cities Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Toronto & many more. Philadelphia voted and rejected a plastic bag ban in June 2009. We need to bring the ban back to our city of brotherly love.

Please feel free to share this message and if you’re on Twitter use #BanPhillyBags to add to the conversation.
Here is another great infographic on the subject “How Convenience is Killing Our Planet” from the folks at ArteIdeas.

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.

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.

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.