Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Inspiring 25,000 Young Scientists to Clean our Oceans

January 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

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IMG_8187There are plenty of doom and gloom news stories about how polluted our oceans have become, with plastic islands the size of Texas and huge slicks of oil. We’re often left with the impression that these problems are too big to tackle, so how do we inspire future generations to act?

I would have smiled wryly if you told me five years ago that my life’s mission would be cleaning our oceans. Yet today I proudly call myself an environmentalist, and understand that this is what I was destined to be from the time that my great-grandmother, Rozalia, and grandmother, Anne, embarked on a transatlantic oceanic voyage to a better life in America.

In my family, we connected with the ocean, as it was the vehicle to our dreams. Throughout my life, the ocean has been inspirational and transformative. It’s no wonder that I spent my life swimming, sailing, SCUBA diving, studying underwater archaeology in college, running sailing programs, and teaching people to sail, paddle, windsurf, and kitesurf!

Trash in the water has always made my blood boil. In 2009, my husband, our two dogs, and I took a vacation to Matinicus Island in Maine. This beautiful island had a gorgeous sandy bay surrounded by pines, but the scenery was marred by a beach covered with rope, bits of lobster traps, bottles, bags, food containers, and more. Though our vacation was a brief one, I spent our first afternoon cleaning man-made debris from this incredible beach.intro

After venting to my husband for the thousandth time about how offensive this situation was, and how unacceptable I considered pollution, his simple challenge was, “Why don’t you do something about it then?”

We did, and today, our Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean is a vital organization battling ocean trash. Last year, Rozalia cleared our marine environment of more than 530,000 pieces of marine debris weighing 85 tons. American Promise, Rozalia project’s 60-foot sailing research vessel, has already sailed hundreds of miles and conducted five cutting-edge scientific research projects into ocean pollution, with future scientists. 41 long-term unemployed workers were hired to clean up storm damage from Hurricane Irene, and Rozalia now has 35 interns. IMG_3968

This year, we are launching Rozalia Project’s Mission Atlantic. We’re inviting kids to become ocean scientists and virtual crew members, interacting daily with the ocean clean up and scientific activities taking place aboard American Promise. This is a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) marine environmental education program, which is delivered daily via email. Mission Atlantic is an opportunity for kids of all ages living in North America (and beyond) to witness beautiful parts of the North Atlantic in the summer (then the Mission Pacific Coast in the fall). They’ll see its damaged parts and will observe people spending their days working to make a significant difference in cleaning the water.

Rozalia Project’s goal is to have our 25,000 or more virtual crew members doing ocean science research alongside our onboard scientists and witnessing American Promise’s crew making discoveries and learning. Registration and participation in the program is free! In this way, we’re sure to get the next generation inspired to act locally and make an impact globally.

Rozalia Project is very excited to include the Long Island Sound in Mission Atlantic’s expedition schedule this June! Join us at several locations to see American Promise, attend one of our interactive presentations, and be part of our trash-hunting team, which utilizes our underwater robot, Hector the Collector. hector

For more information about Rozalia Project, including our mission, our calendar, and to sign up for Mission Atlantic, go to www.rozaliaproject.org. Please also keep in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and our blog. Tell us your stories and achievements— how have you been working for cleaner waterways? We want to hear from you, because Rozalia Project believes that every effort makes a difference!

 

 

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By Rachael Miller

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