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Sea Scope Inc – Empowering Youth as Underwater Explorers

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Sea Scope Inc

By Allyson Brown

How my Adventure Began

I remember how devastated I was when my flight to Puerto Plata was canceled. COVID-19 shut down was not supposed to affect ME. I was thankful to have not lost any loved ones and thankful I was able to financially sustain myself, but what I did not anticipate was losing my “freedom.” Freedom, for me, was being able to hop on a plane and to do one of the most calming activities I’ve ever experienced…scuba diving.  Being in a landlocked state, I needed to travel to get to the ocean. Finally in 2020, I was able to return to Puerto Plata and dive! To my surprise one of my favorite SDI instructors asked me when I told him I was headed down the path of Master Diver, “why not teach?” Luke, owner of Superior Dive Sosua, had no idea that he had planted a seed. A seed that began to grow a few months later when I decided to become a Divemaster. Towards the end of my training I noticed something had changed within me. The 16 years of anxiety I had suffered was completely gone. I sat at Carlyle Bay beach, Barbados and this revelation came to me as well as a vision to develop a youth program in Indianapolis that would give black and brown kids the opportunity to become underwater explorers! A conservation focused program that combines science, aquatics, and water wellness therapy.  And so Sea Scope Inc was established in the summer of 2021.

Welcome New Planet Savers!

February 2022 was the beginning of this new adventure I decided to embark upon. An adventure that began with classroom workshops teaching youth about our ocean planet and watching kids’ faces light up during activities, such as taping all the single-use plastic I could find onto their mentor. These workshops concluded with a trip to the Oceans Exhibit and Dolphin show at the Indianapolis Zoo. One thing I know is that all of our youth participants will remember how land-based, plastic pollution affects our planet. My new adventure also continued with water safety, snorkeling, and intro to scuba diving (for those that qualified) classes. There is an indescribable joy these kids have when they have the opportunity to “play in the pool.” This component of the program is what interests most parents, especially since 65% of African Americans are unable to swim, with drowning disparities being significantly higher amongst African American youth than their white counterparts. And so far, this new adventure has resulted in our planet having 21 new ocean explorers: 14  [junior] open water scuba divers (ages 10 to 18), 3 supervised divers, 1 scuba diver, and 5 snorkelers.

The Freedom Water Brings

The youth Discoverers program not only gave our divers and snorkelers a new self confidence, but also new friendships, and for many an outlet for stress, anxiety, and trauma. Many of our participants understand that “water is therapeutic.” One of our participants who was faced with the death of their mother mid-programming stated that the water helped them “deal with fear and anger. It holds them in a way their mother no longer can.”  To see how happy and at peace these youth are when in the pool, and how they become “FREE” of their problems and situations is worth EVERY moment spent developing and maintaining our youth programs.

Everything New

Of our 21 Discoverers, two youth completed their certifications in a local quarry, while the others  completed their training in the Florida Keys! Several of the youth had never been on a plane,  seen the ocean, or a man-made beach for that matter. I get excited when I see their faces the moment they step onto the boat, the moment they first see the ocean, and the moment they take a giant stride into an experience they would have never imagined they’d experience.  From that first moment off the boat and after their first underwater adventure where they have seen nurse sharks, rays, a beautiful variety of reef fish and other aquatic life is the meaningful connection they need to desire to become planet savers and continue this Discoverers path!

We All Must Play Our Part

As I write this blog I am trying to fight back the tears. These aren’t tears of sadness but tears of joy. Our first AquaForce participant is beginning her 7 month training to become a Master Scuba Diver Trainer. She never imagined having a career before the age of 19 and has dreamed of studying our oceans since she was 3 years old.  Many of our other Discoverers will be trained as citizen scientists and scientific divers to help us combat this global crisis that requires the entire world’s help.  All youth from all backgrounds deserve every opportunity that will allow them to cultivate their talents and that connect them to a world that’s bigger than they could have known.  We are excited to make these opportunities available for Marion County and welcome this new breed of underwater adventurers into the conservation world.  As we gear up for their continued training and our new class of Discoverers, we stay true to the commitment we made in doing OUR part to saving our ocean plant. Won’t you join our efforts? Because the fate of our oceans depend on it!

Dr. Allyson Fisher Brown is an SDI Divemaster located in Indianapolis, Indiana. To keep up with a new wave of youth ocean discoverers, check out their website and follow them on Instagram and Facebook.

From its humble beginning in 1994 to today, the group of training agencies Scuba Diving International (SDI), Technical Diving International (TDI), and Emergency Response Diving International (ERDI) form one of the largest diving certification agencies in the World – International Training. With 24 Regional Offices servicing more than 100 countries, the company today far exceeds the original vision the founders had when they conceived the idea on a napkin, sitting at a kitchen table in the early 1990’s.

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The Ocean Cleanup to Complete 100th Extraction Live from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

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the ocean cleanup
  • The Ocean Cleanup marks 100th extraction of plastic pollution from the Pacific Ocean by livestreaming entire cleaning operation from start to finish.
  • Occasion brings together supporters, partners, donors and followers as the project readies its cleanup technology for scale-up.
  • Founder and CEO Boyan Slat to provide insight on the plans ahead.

The Ocean Cleanup is set to reach a milestone of 100 plastic extractions from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Extraction #100, scheduled for 28 or 29 May 2024, will be the first ever to be livestreamed direct from the Pacific Ocean, allowing supporters and partners around the world to see up close how the organization has removed over 385,000 kilograms (nearly 850,000 lbs) of plastic from the GPGP so far – more than double the bare weight of the Statue of Liberty.

the ocean cleanup

The mission of The Ocean Cleanup is to rid the oceans of plastic. To do this, the non-profit project employs a dual strategy: cleaning up legacy floating plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (the world’s largest accumulation of floating plastic), while stopping the flow of plastic from the world’s most polluting rivers.

The Ocean Cleanup captured its first plastic (the first ‘extraction’) in the GPGP in 2019 with System 001, following years of trials and testing with a variety of concepts. Through System 002 and now the larger and more efficient System 03, the organization has consistently improved and optimized operations, and is now preparing to extract plastic trash from the GPGP for the 100th time.

the ocean cleanup

Extraction #100 will be an interactive broadcast showing the entire extraction procedure live and in detail, with insight provided by representatives from across The Ocean Cleanup and partners contributing to the operations.

This is an important milestone in a key year for The Ocean Cleanup.’ said Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. ‘We’ve come a long way since our first extraction in 2019. During the 2024 season, with System 03, we aim to demonstrate that we are ready to scale up, and with it, confine the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to the history books.

the ocean cleanup

The livestream will be hosted on The Ocean Cleanup’s YouTube channel and via X. Monitor @theoceancleanup for confirmed timings.

www.theoceancleanup.com

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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