World Oceans Day 2014

Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, June 8th, is World Oceans Day 2014! Like last year, my family will be hosting a table in Boston’s New England Aquarium for their World Oceans Day celebration! Please join us between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm for a day of fun, learning, and conservation!

World Oceans Day Vaquita

The New England Aquarium is big on ocean conservation, and has created the live blue™ Initiative, a project that protects endangered marine species and their habitats. I look forward to educating the public on one of the planet’s rarest and least-known species, the Vaquita, at this wonderful aquarium.

Please check out this really neat website about bycatch, with great statistics and graphics: http://www.bijvangst.org/en/home

Elaborating on my last post, Project #ChangeOurPerception, here is Anthony Bourdain’s blog, which talks a lot about the evolving food culture of Mexico, and The Truth About Mexico, a great Facebook page showing the positive truth about this extremely misunderstood and under-visited country.

Below are some photos of the Vaquita-related things that I have gotten in the past few months:

My dad’s Vaquita calf carving, to go with the mother he made earlier:

Calf Carving

Stephen and Anthony Palumbi’s book, The Extreme Life of the Sea, which contains a few pages about the Vaquita:

The Extreme Life of the Sea cover

The Extreme Life of the Sea interior

Jean-Pierre Sylvestre’s Dolphins & Porpoises: A Worldwide Guide, which we found in an old book shop:

Dolphins and Porpoises

Dolphins and Porpoises interior

Beach Bar Radio and Save the Whales/VIVA Vaquita’s awesome shirt from their Booster campaign:

Save the Whales back

And this cool t-shirt from Vince Radice’s Vaquita documentary Indiegogo campaign:

Vince Radice Shirt Front

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World Oceans Day summary

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Flyer

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.

WOD Poster

World Oceans Day

Attention! Please join me at the New England Aquarium on June 9 for their World Oceans Day Celebration! My family and I will have a Vaquita table there with brochures, crafts, and much more! The event is on Sunday, June 9 from 11:00 am-4:00 pm at 1 Central Wharf, Boston, Massachusetts. The celebration will be outside behind the aquarium right on the harbor. I will be running one of the many tables manned by non-profit organizations or community groups (in this case, I am from the Muskwa Club). I would love to see some of you there, and if you do come, please say hi and tell me that you came from my blog. I will post pictures from the event afterwards. For more info on the event, visit http://www.eventkeeper.com/clients/neaq/ek_neaq.cfm?allArgsTBD&curMonth=6&curYear=2013#6/9/2013. See you there!

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Muskwa’s National Save the Vaquita Day

The Muskwa Club has put up the first episode of their series of shadow puppet videos. You can watch it below. Also, their website is now www.muskwaclub.org.

Attention Muskwa Club members: the deadline for ordering a Vaquita t-shirt is Tuesday, May 7 at 11:59 pm, though I may extend the deadline slightly. Order it here: http://www.customink.com/signup/2nvhf7s2.

I have made a lot of progress on my book, including finishing all text, almost finishing all the illustrations, and I have front and back cover images (courtesy of Memuco and Tom Jefferson). I might even get NOAA or The Cousteau Society to pay for printing by sponsoring it! I hope to send it off to publishing this month.

Immense progress has been made with Muskwa’s National Save the Vaquita Day, about which they are contacting the president to make it an official day, July 6th. They have many, many aquariums participating in or considering participating in the event, with the Waikiki and Cabrillo Aquariums being confirmed for that day. Also, there is a chance I will be manning a table at the New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts on June 9 for World Oceans Day, and the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland on July 6 for National Save the Vaquita Day, if they confirm their participation in the event.

The Muskwa Club has a huge range of contacts in every imaginable niche, which is helping make all of this possible. They will be selling my book on July 6 at many of their tables, (¡Viva Vaquita! will be doing the same), and the Cabrillo Aquarium has even offered to sell the book at their gift shop! The Muskwa Club has many projects that they are keeping under wraps for now, but believe me, they are awesome! Also, I am now writing a column for the Muskwa Club’s monthly newsletter.

In other news, Jonathan answered the riddle correctly! Q: What is a Vaquita’s favorite model of computer? A: Microsoft Surface.