My Custom Ink t-shirt campaign closed on Monday night, and I ended up selling 12 shirts. Unfortunately, that was not enough for any profit, so I will not be able to donate anything to ¡Viva Vaquita! at the moment. However, I will be donating 25% of my book’s profits to ¡Viva Vaquita!, which should be a lot of money. If you are interested in my Vaquita book, please stay tuned and follow my blog.
Here is the WWF press release about the Official Norm that leading Vaquita scientist Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho sent me last night. It includes a great graphic of the Vaquita-safe trawl that will be put into use over the next 3 years. The leading experts and everyone else involved with the Vaquita are extremely excited and relieved by this new regulation, but our work is not done.
Thanks to Carla Porter for buying a shirt! Today, Monday the 17th, is the last day to buy your very own Save the Vaquita t-shirts, with all profits going to the Vaquita! Please buy one for yourself and your loved ones for this very worthy cause!
Sunday, June 9, was the New England Aquarium’s World Oceans Day Celebration. My family and I had a Vaquita table there, and it went better than well. We got the all-time Muskwa record of 438 table visitors, and combined with Muskwa’s other two tables in California and Connecticut, we directly educated 803 people about the Vaquita this weekend for World Oceans Day! Boston is a beautiful city and the aquarium is amazing, and combined with the perfect, non-windy weather right on the peaceful harbor, the stage was set for an amazing day.
We set up the table at about 10:15 am and the visitors started flowing in 15 minutes early at about 10:45. We got almost 20 people before the event even started. And for the rest of the day, we got almost 100 visitors per hour.
At the table, we had a lot of things. Behind us was a beautiful, life-size Vaquita vinyl banner hanging via one of my mom’s photography backdrop holders. The table was covered in a nice black tablecloth and had comfortable chairs, both put there before we arrived. On the table we had:
1. About 250 paper Vaquita cutouts that kids got to color with markers and pastels. We then tangled up the Vaquita in the fishing net taped to the front of the table for the kids to rescue and take home. On the back of the Vaquitas were V-log and the Muskwa Club’s and web addresses for parents to visit.
2. A poster featuring some of my drawings and included information on the Vaquita.
3. Flyers with info on the Vaquita, with instructions on how to donate to the switch-out, a link to my blog, and more.
4. Examples of what a Vaquita looks like, including paper Vaquitas decorated by my siblings, drawings by various artists, and plush Vaquitas.
5. And of course, ourselves to engage and teach people of all ages about this tiny endangered porpoise.
As the day went on, we got more comfortable with our “speech,” which was the guideline of what we said to every visitor of the table. It explained the basics of the Vaquita’s situation and ended with telling them how they could help and giving them a flyer if they were really interested. We ended up giving away all but one flyer, and all of the paper Vaquitas. In fact, we gave away the last of 250 paper Vaquitas to a kid at 3:59, with one minute left of the event. Everyone we talked to seemed very interested in the Vaquita’s situation, and the kids loved the craft. Because it would be difficult and unnecessary for all five of my family members to attend the table at the same time during the entire five-hour event, we took shifts where two or three of us walked around while the rest covered the table. While walking around, we checked out the other tables, which were all very interesting and worth spending some time at.
We also explored the New England Aquarium itself. The aquarium is probably the nicest I have ever been to. They are right on the harbor, and Boston is a very laid back city, which provided a very peaceful atmosphere. Inside the aquarium were some amazing animals and exhibits. They have Myrtle the Green Sea Turtle, who could be 85 years old, Atlantic Harbor and Northern Fur Seals, California Sea Lions, adorable Little Blue Penguins, and hundreds of species of fish and other marine life. But perhaps my favorite exhibit was Voices in the Sea. Voices in the Sea is a touchscreen exhibit (see blogroll) that features many marine mammals with information, videos, and more about the animal. I had suspicions that VITS would be at the New England Aquarium, so when I found it, I was pleasantly surprised. The best part is that VITS has the Vaquita! All of the information is 100% accurate, and there are three videos explaining different aspects of the Vaquita’s situation. I was glad to see that the aquarium was educating people about the Vaquita with Voices in the Sea.
World Oceans Day was the best day of my life. I loved educating people directly about the Vaquita, because I was so used to just writing about it. It was a rewarding experience that I hope to duplicate on National Save the Vaquita Day, July 6.
You can’t buy your Vaquita t-shirts after Monday! Please buy one for you or a loved one to show your support and to raise funding for the Vaquita!
About a week ago, the Mexican government took an enormous step in saving the Vaquita. The government has created something called the “Official Norm,” a regulation that plans on completely switching out all gillnets with Vaquita-safe trawls in the next 3 years. They hope to switch out 30% this year, 30% next year, and 40% in the third year. This giant step was taken due to the over 38,000 signatures on WWF’s petition to Enrique Peña Nieto, the Mexican president. Read WWF’s article about this landmark announcement:
To donate to the switch-out through the American Cetacean Society Los Angeles Chapter’s new switch-out charity, send a check by mail to: P.O. Box 1208, San Pedro, CA 90733-1208. It is very important that you write “Vaquita” on the memo line for it to go to the switch-out.
If you would like to help make the Official Norm successful, please copy, paste, and send this resolution created by the Muskwa Club to any member of the U.S. government that you can:
A Resolution to Support Mexico in its Effort to Prevent the Extinction of the Vaquita.
WHEREAS, The Vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal, with less than 200 individuals remaining, and is heavily threatened by incidental gillnet bycatch; and
WHEREAS, The Vaquita is likely to become extinct within the next several years; and
WHEREAS, It would not be acceptable for extinction of an intelligent and unique species to occur; and
WHEREAS, The government of Mexico has adopted an Official Norm to replace all shrimp gillnets within the Vaquita’s range with sustainable fishing gear within the next three years;
RESOLVED, That the Congress here assembled commends the government of Mexico for its step to save the Vaquita and strongly encourages the government thereof to successfully complete the program within the allotted time; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the government of the United States highly recommends that the government of Mexico develop sustainable finfishing gear as a further guarantor of the Vaquita’s survival.
Introduced for Congressional Debate by (will be filled in shortly).
Using one of the beautiful paintings that Memuco made for the cover of my book, I created a flyer for my World Oceans Day table. Please share this on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to attract as many people as you can to this awesome event. Unfortunately, the National Aquarium in Baltimore will not be able to host a table on July 6, so I will not be there on National Save the Vaquita Day. I look forward to possibly working with them in the future, though.