New Vaquita art

Here is a poem that I wrote for an upcoming poetry competition focused on ocean pollution:


The dark gray sky casts its shadow on the sea,
The sea swells with the wind, whipping up froth.
Thunder booms among the rolling clouds;
Lightning flashes in the distance,
But underneath, it is calm.
The muffled sound of the storm above dances off the coral.
Small reef fish swarm in and out of nooks and crannies.
All seems fine at first, but there is something wrong here.
A ghost enters the scene.
A nearly invisible drifter.
A gillnet.
But this fishing net does not belong to anybody.
It has been abandoned,
But its job is not done.
This ghost still has lives to take.
First comes a shrimp,
A puny pink prawn:
His life ends and is doomed to drift away,
Trapped forever.
Next is a fish.
A huge one at that.
He swims right into the net,
And in the blink of an eye,
The life leaves his body.
A little porpoise swims through the shallows,
Bubbles dancing down her side.
She’s teaching her baby how to fish.
They happen upon a juicy meal,
But as the mother darts towards the target,
She is struck by a web of death.
The fish they were chasing
Was already a victim.
The baby, terrified, watches as her mother writhes in agony.
And the ghost has taken yet another life.

Here is a double exposure image, made from a Vaquita photograph and an ocean sunset photograph that I combined using digital software:Vaquita Double Exposure

And here is a mosaic of a Vaquita made out of hundreds of photographs taken during International Save the Vaquita Days 2014 & 2015:

ISTVD Mosaic

International Save the Vaquita Day has become a huge event, and one that has been—and will continue to be—making a legitimate difference for the Vaquita and its survival. Showing the people and government of Mexico that the world cares about the Vaquita and appreciates their efforts to date will hopefully inspire them to follow through with their promises and actually save this species. To make ISTVD 2016 the biggest one yet, help ignite the buzz and donate to the event by buying a cool ISTVD 2016 t-shirt!

The Great Puzzle

This box shone like none before,

Colors danced around
in harmony.

Simply put, twas simply beautiful;

The kind of puzzle you complete
to relax.

Like a sandy stroll,
thoughtless yet peaceful.

Eagerly, I slid off the lid,

I could not believe it.

The sight stunned me,

Hundreds, no, thousands
of tiny pieces.

Smugly piled on top of each other,
“I’m impossible,” they seemed to jeer.

But I smirked.
I had finished bigger jigsaws before.

Dumping the contents on a table,
I began.

At first, it was not easy,
I didn’t know where to start.

But I got the hang of it,
piece by piece.

I laid the groundwork,
relieving my future self.

But then something happened
that changed everything.

I glanced over and saw a timer:
20 minutes left.

It smiled evilly,
mocking me.

My hands began to shake,

I looked at all the pieces.
Too many.

I wanted to quit.

But I looked again at the box.
The finished puzzle was wonderful.

I got back to work,

I put down every piece I could.
But it was not enough.

10 minutes.

I was so close,
yet so far.

I tried every strategy I could think of.
5 minutes.

But I had an idea.

I called over some friends
to conquer this thing together.

We used all of our hands, and did everything we could.

Ten seconds.

Even closer.

At last, we got every piece in.
But wait!

There was still a blank space in the puzzle.
5 seconds.

I looked under the table, and found it:
The last piece.

I quickly put it in the open space just as the timer ran out.

We did it.

We all celebrated and cheered,
and I looked at the puzzle.

It was a picture of a mother and baby Vaquita,
Safely swimming.

The puzzle is a metaphor for the Vaquita’s situation. The solution seems simple, yet there are endless tiny pieces that must be put together in order to save the species. There is also the added pressure of a biological timer, the decline of the population. But if we work together, we can solve this real-life jigsaw puzzle.

And the finished product will be beautiful.

Times have changed

I remember when I was a little boy
first learning about the Vaquita.
I was filled with wonder and determination…
Determination to keep them on this planet.
I donated my Christmas money;
I didn’t get souvenirs when the rest of my family did,
so I could donate even more.
I told everyone I knew,
and told them to do the same.
I even started a Vaquita club at my school to raise money.
I emailed the experts as often as I could,
and read every book and website with the word, “Vaquita.”
I don’t exactly remember what I thought was going to happen to the species,
but I know what I wanted to happen.
That was around the time Chris Johnson’s movie came out,
and I loved it.
But I was also scared…
Scared we might lose the Vaquita forever.
Thinking back upon these things,
I wasn’t doing very much.
But I loved doing it.
Then came V-log.
I still remember coming up with the name,
“A vlog is a video-blog, and Vaquita starts with V, so it could be a Vaquita-blog!”
I was 11 at the time, so I wasn’t the best with websites.
My first post was,
“Vaquita is Spanish for ‘little cow.'”
I became obsessed with learning and writing about the Vaquita,
so I started a book on it.
When I finished writing the book,
I kind of stopped for a little while.
But then my passion was rekindled by art.
I learned that I love to draw, especially Vaquitas.
I began illustrating my book.
And then, on one fateful March morning,
I received a comment.
It was from William Whittenbury.
He told me all about his club,
The Muskwa Club.
My life changed dramatically on that day.
Together, we have accomplished so much.
Videos, tables, my book’s publishing,
and National Save the Vaquita Day.
This event coincided with the Official Norm law,
and this summer was one of utter awesomeness for the Vaquita,
and me.
I am learning the ways of a businessman, conservationist, and artist.
Or some combination of the three…
Muskwa and I may be getting some pretty crazy ideas,
but hey, they are working.

And there has never been a more exciting time in the world of the Vaquita.



I want you to go deep into your memory.

Back to when you were a kid.

When the world was simpler,

Yet more wondrous.

Now travel to the worst memory of your life.

Maybe the day you broke your leg and ruined your summer.

Or maybe someone died.

Like a friend.

Or a family member.

Someone you loved.

Think about all the tears and the pain.

How their loss changed your life.

How dearly you missed them.

How you wish you go back in time and be with them.

How you hoped it wasn’t real.

The Vaquita is a family member.

A brother.

A sister.

A father.

A mother.

Except this family member,

You can save.

If the Vaquita goes extinct,

You may not even know.

You could find out years later.

How guilty would you feel?

Did you ever feel so guilty,

Because you knew that something was your fault,

But someone else was punished.

Minorly or majorly.

Extinction is not minor.

Extinction means ‘to extinguish.’


In a way,

Losing the Vaquita is worse than losing a loved one.

Because we completely control the fate of the Vaquita.

We are holding the entire species in our hands.

Like a fragile egg.

We can manipulate its success.

Not individually,

But as a group,

A whole,

We can save the Vaquita.

Because if we don’t,

The guilt will be overwhelming.

The present

The present is an important time.

By now, the present is in the past.

And there is nothing you can change about the past.

However, the only time you can change the future

Is right now.


You might ask, “Why do I help the Vaquita?”

And my answer is, “Why wouldn’t I?”

I cannot force myself to think of a world without Vaquita.

They have helped shape much of my young life, from the early online research to now.

They have inspired me to do things I never thought were possible—or had the courage to do.

They have given me the confidence to stand up and make a difference in this dying world.

They have presented me with endless ideas for poems, books, and artwork.

They have saved me with the knowledge that I am saving them, and they still have a chance.

The Vaquita has given me so much, and now it is my turn to give back to them.

I know the day the Vaquita dies will make me want to do the same.

It is this fear of loss that has pushed me for years to make a change.

And you may ask, “Why save the Vaquita?”

And my answer will always be, “Why not?”

Like a web

Like a web,

the net

devoured my soul.

With invisible hands,

the net

gouged my body.

Like a whirlpool,

the net

sucked me in;

stabbing me with knives,

wrapping me up.

I rolled to escape

the net,

but it was no use.

The net


suffocating me.

The net

stopped my heart.