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Your Brain on Water

As a child I was fortunate to grow up near the ocean. My family took frequent trips to “the Jersey shore,” spending our summers in Wildwood, Stone Harbor and Cape May, New Jersey, which was about a two hour drive from our home in suburban Philadelphia. For the past 25 years my home has been Santa Cruz, California and my trip to the beach is a 5 minute bike ride away. I came here because I wanted to live by the sea in a climate that was temperate enough to enjoy the many ocean splendors year round. Salt water clears my head, brings me peace and solitude and energizes and reinvigorates me all at the same time. Apparently I’m not alone. Many people feel the same way, which is the subject of the New York Times best selling book, Blue Mind by marine scientist, Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols, in which he explores the mind’s connection to water, merging the fields of cognitive science and ocean exploration. It is is a fascinating study of the emotional, behavioral, psychological and physical connections that keep humans so enchanted with water.

I highly recommend his book and encourage you to engage with other ocean, river, stream, lake, pond and “everything water” lovers by participating in the Blue Mind Online Book Club.

Join Dr. Nichols nightly for Facebook Live readings and on Sundays at 6 pm PST for discussions on Facebook and follow the conversation on all social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) using the #bluemind hashtag.

Sponsored by Radio Hatteras, Buxton Village Books and Blue Mind Life. Daily excerpts from Blue Mind will be broadcast on Radio Hatteras along with weekly interviews with the author featuring questions from readers and guest protagonists from the book.

Proceeds and donations benefit Radio Hatteras and the Blue Mind Fund. Read along with water-loving friends around the world: January 16th (I know I’m getting a late start here, but you can catch up!)  to March 25th, 2017.

Ocean Memories

image of 2 girls posing at the beach

My sister Julie and me, Avalon, NJ circa 1965

In honor of Facebook’s Throwback Thursdays, I’m posting this photo of my sister Julie and me taken many, many years ago in the summer of 1965 in Avalon, New Jersey, about a 2 hour ride from our home in the Philadelphia suburbs. I was about 4, she was 2, and I still have vivid fond memories of that  vacation. Our parents rented a house very close to the beach and while they slept in we took off for the “shore” as we called it. There was a lot of freedom in those days. (Parents didn’t fret like they do now. ) We built sand castles, dug for clams and chased hermit crabs as they scurried across the wet sand.

As we got older we took summer jobs in Wildwood, New Jersey to earn spend money and pay for our college tuition. On our days off, we’d have beach picnics noshing on tins of smoked clams while lounging in beach chairs along the water’s edge reading summer novels and working on our tans.

These are our ocean memories, and it was these early experiences that instilled in us a life long appreciation for  the ocean, its natural beauty and the joy it could give us.

Santa Cruz surfing legend and wet suit inventor Jack O’Neill recognized this need to reach children at an early age when he founded the O’Neill Sea Oddysey Program, a floating classroom aboard a 65 foot catamaran, that teaches children about the importance of the living sea and its relationship to the enviroment. By engaging them and personalizing the experience, it inspires a life long love and appreciation for the ocean, an imprint that lasts a life time.

This is my call out to you to share your story. Post your ocean memories here in the comment section and the first five respondents will receive a SeaweedArt gift from me.

SeaweedArt at Seymour Center’s Jingle Shells

Jingle ShellsCome check out SeaweedArt prints, cards and holiday cards this Sunday at Jingle Shells, the annual holiday craft fair at the Seymour Center. It is my favorite event of the year. Lots of great arts and crafts– all homemade, wonderful food, an incredible view of the Monterey Bay and just so much festive fun holiday cheer. Support local artists in our support of ocean education and conservation. Don’t miss the whale lighting at 5:45!

Ocean Conservation for Kids

When famed wetsuit innovator and surfer, Jack O’Neill, founded the O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) Program in 1996, his intention was to inspire children with a life long passion and appreciation for ocean conservation. Hence, a living classroom was created on board the 65-foot Team O’Neill catamaran,  where 4th – 6th grade students sail the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary and receive hands-on lessons about the marine habitat and the importance of the relationship between the living sea and the environment. The program is conducted on board the catamaran with follow-up lessons at the shore-side Education Center at the Santa Cruz Harbor. It is free of charge, but students earn their way into the program by performing a project  to benefit their community. OSO also serves special needs students through a program sponsored by the Adam Webster Memorial Fund.

I support many ocean advocacy programs, but I’ve always had a special soft spot for OSO because they know that the best steward for clean oceans are children. For that reason, for the next two months, SeaweedArt will donate 10% of all profits to the O’Neill Sea Odyssey Program. For all you ocean lovers out there, start shopping and spread the word. You make also make a direct donation to OSO here.

Help Keep Oceans and Beaches Clean and Safe

The Dhermiu village tourism destinationsThe EPA is proposing once again to cut all federal funding for beach water quality monitoring, putting over 100 million Americans at risk of getting sick from polluted water! In 2000, when the federal BEACH Act was passed, water quality monitoring made big advancements in setting standards and funding monitoring programs to ensure your safety.

Just like health safety inspections for food, we rely on water quality monitoring and reporting to ensure that the water we swim, surf and play in is safe. With 23,481 beach closures and advisories issued last year, now is not the time to stop beach monitoring.

Ask Congress to continue to support beach water testing programs.


You Can Help Protect Sea Otters

Sea OttersU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is undertaking a process to clarify terms under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of what would constitute a native handicraft item made from a sea otter pelt. The environmental and scientific communities are concerned that this would add hunting pressure on sea otters in Southeast Alaska and elsewhere in Alaska and that this is being carried out as a means of managing fisheries through predator control. Please send a letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by August 6 by clicking here.

Does Your Facial Scrub Contain Plastic Micro-Beads?

salt scrub

No plastic micro beads in here

Did you know that in the past decade, more and more personal care products have been sold in The United States and around the world that contain micro-plastic particle abrasives used as an exfoliant? This is perhaps the most offensive form of  plastic pollution because this plastic is actually designed to be washed down the drain.

Micro-plastic particles are found in all oceanic gyres, bays, gulfs and seas worldwide. Micro-plastics are pervasive in the environment. They absorb persistent organic pollutants and are consumed by a variety of marine life including the fish we harvest for food.

Natural alternatives such as apricot shells, cocoa beans and sea salt can be used as sustainable alternatives to plastic.

The 5 Gyres Institute, together with their Global Partners, Plastic Free Seas and The Plastic Soup Foundation have initiated a campaign to eliminate this plastic from all consumer products by demanding that companies cease using them in their products.
Here’s how you can help:

Let’s Turn Facebook Blue

You have been invited to participate in an ocean plastic pollution global awareness campaign. Healthy oceans are very important for the health of the planet and one of the most serious threats comes from the plastic pollution. Please take a look at the following video so you can better understand the enormity of this issue: 

Blue Turtle TOn June 8th, World Oceans Day, environmental activists from all around the world will simultaneously upload a photo of themselves wearing this T-shirt on their Facebook walls with a short caption telling everyone about one thing that they are doing to make this world a better place, with a focus on, but not limited to, plastic pollution. We are going to flood facebook walls with this. That’s not all. Participants will also receive instructions for a secret plan which is going to be a huge surprise for all. To join the Let’s Turn Facebook Blue event click here. 

Real change is achieved slowly, at turtle speed– one step at a time. Change one thing in your life without thinking. If you eliminated one plastic bag or a straw you can make an huge impact in reducing plastic pollution. It does make a difference so JUST DO IT!

For suggestions on how you can reduce plastic waste and pollution, please visit The Plastic Pollution Coalition.

Order your Blue Turtle T-shirt  here. Order two or more and use this coupon code worth $10  RF2013

Happy New Year

My husband Bill and I spent New Year’s Day visiting metal marine animal sculptures in front of closed museums. Here we are posed in front of the Santa Cruz Natural History Museum whale and there’s Bill in pseudo Burt Reynolds Cosmo poses on top of the whale’s tail in front of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Exploration Center.  He’s wearing the new Irish Fisherman’s sweater I got him for Christmas. It was a warm and sunny beautiful day. Gotta love livin’ in Santa Cruz.

Time Lapse of Kids Ocean Day Hong Kong

Over 1,000 Hong Kong school children, teachers and volunteers form a massive kid-designed dolphin to say in two languages “Protect” in English, and Ocean in Chinese (海洋), communicating their desires for a clean and thriving sea. Kids Ocean Day Hong Kong is organized by Ocean Recovery Alliance, Bonza Pie and the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, as well as the Malibu Foundation and Spectral Q from Los Angeles. The children are alerting the world about their appreciation of the ocean and the need to protect it. The event links the Hong Kong and California Kids Ocean Day projects, run by the Malibu Foundation for the past 20 years, across the Pacific Ocean, and marks the first beachhead in Asia which brings our young, future ocean ambassadors together to deliver a global message about ocean protection.

Aerial Art by John Quigley of Spectral Q and time lapse images from Daniel Basson.

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