Ocean Greetings!  
The Ocean Project provides this e-newsletter as a free service to 2,534 contacts at zoos, aquariums, museums, conservation organizations, schools and others involved in our Partner network..

We hope you will find these news updates, resources, events, and opportunities for action useful in your work and life. Please forward widely and encourage colleagues and friends to subscribe!


In This Issue
Partner input requested for conservation communications initiative
Kiribati creates world's largest marine reserve
Global mapping of anthropogenic effects on our ocean
Losing touch with nature: A new study
Americans do more than they realize to live "green"
The enviro active museum
A dose of "free-range thinking"
Creating high-impact non-profits - strategies, tools, and ideas
Smart Chart 3.0 - communication solutions for good causes
Global Heating, Atmospheric Cancer... What's in a name?
Plan B: Adopting to a warmer world
The future of organic aquaculture remains controversial
Matt Damon returns to PBS with The State of the Ocean's Animals
Ocean inspired film and music making for World Ocean Day
National Science Teachers Association conference in Boston, March
Working forum on nature education in Nebraska, July
Restore America's Estuaries national conference in RI, October
Partner input requested for national conservation communications initiative
The Ocean Project logo The Ocean Project is undertaking a multi-year national initiative to find out how the conservation community can connect more effectively with the American public in order to build environmental literacy and encourage conservation action. The Ocean Project was recently awarded a three-year grant from NOAA as part of its Environmental Literacy Grants program to pursue this initiative and help enhance the conservation efforts of our partners and the wider conservation community.

Our aim is to determine what must be communicated to increase ocean awareness and stimulate positive behavior change. Along these lines, SeaWeb conducted the first national public opinion research about the ocean in 1996. The Ocean Project followed in 1999 with what remains the most comprehensive opinion research ever conducted on public attitudes, perceptions, and knowledge related to the ocean. Nearly 10 years later, we are updating and expanding our database of public awareness, knowledge, and attitudes. (Learn more about this project).

To help inform our research and make our initiative as valuable as possible for all our partners, we have been compiling all pertinent public opinion research on a host of environmental issues, as well as other types of environmental communications, visitor studies, and social marketing research. We are looking to include both academic and "gray" literature and resources. Some of these resources have been added to the environmental communications research and tools section of our Website.

If you know of any relevant research or publications please email your suggestions to apenn@theoceanproject.org. Thank you!
 
Kiribati creates world's largest marine reserve
coral reef New England Aquarium Press Release
February 14, 2008


The small Pacific Island nation of Kiribati has become a global conservation leader by establishing the world’s largest marine protected area – a California-sized ocean wilderness of pristine coral reefs and rich fish populations threatened by over-fishing and climate change.

The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) conserves one of the Earth’s last intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems, consisting of eight coral atolls and two submerged reef systems in a nearly uninhabited region of abundant marine and bird life. The 410,500-square-kilometer (158,453-square-mile) protected area also includes underwater mountains and other deep-sea habitat.

Kiribati and the New England Aquarium (NEAq) developed PIPA over several years of joint scientific research, with funding and technical assistance from Conservation International’s (CI) Global Conservation Fund and Pacific Islands Program.

"Kiribati has taken an inspirational step in increasing the size of PIPA well beyond the original eight atolls and globally important seabird, fish and coral reef communities,” said Greg Stone, the NEAq vice-president of global marine programs. “The new boundary includes extensive seamount and deep sea habitat, tuna spawning grounds, and as yet unsurveyed submerged reef systems."

"The creation of this amazing marine protected area by a small island nation in the Pacific represents a commitment of historic proportions; and all of this by a country that is under serious threat from sea-level rise attributed to global warming,” said CI President Russell A. Mittermeier."

View the full story at the New England Aquarium’s website.

Learn more about the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) at its website.

Photo © Wolcott Henry.

 
First ever global mapping of cumulative anthropogenic effects on our ocean
Global map of total human effects on the ocean Stanford University. "First-ever Global Map Of Total Human Effects On Oceans." ScienceDaily 15 February 2008.

A team of researchers has constructed the first global map of human influences on marine ecosystems by gathering and interpreting massive amounts of data from the professional literature and from researchers around the world. This study suggests that about 41 percent of oceans bear a serious human "footprint " and that few blue spots on our planet are likely pristine.

"A series of papers have highlighted the role humans are having on the degradation of the oceans, through specific activities," said Fiorenza Micheli, an associate professor of biology at Stanford. "It's timely to put it all together-to show how all the different effects sum up."

Their results suggest that coral reefs are in trouble; nearly half have taken a hard human punch. Other spots of concern include seagrass beds, mangrove forests in estuaries, seamounts, rocky reefs and continental shelves. Soft-bottom shallow and deep ecosystems, as well as the open ocean, fared best, though even they were not pristine in a majority of locations.

The study also shows that human influence runs deepest in the North Sea, the South and East China Seas, the Caribbean Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Bering Sea, along the Eastern Coast of North America and in much of the western Pacific. The least affected areas are largely near the poles.

The worldwide impact map is a scaffold, which should be filled in with on-the-ground research, Micheli said. "Globally, it's important to see what the most impacted areas are and where are the last wildernesses," she said. "Our results and approach, augmented with additional local information, can also inform management at a local and regional scale. Looking at the data globally, some information is lost."

View full story in ScienceDaily.

To access the study visit: http://www.nceas.ucsb.edu/GlobalMarine.

Photo credit: The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

 
Losing touch with nature: A new study
riding in the woods The Nature Conservancy news release

Nature recreation worldwide -- from camping, hunting and fishing to park visitation -- has declined sharply since the 1980s, and the negative consequences for nature and conservation could soon be profound says a new study sponsored by the Nature Conservancy, Evidence for a fundamental and pervasive shift away from nature-based recreation, by Oliver Pergams and Patricia Zaradic.

The study examines data from the United States, Japan and Spain on everything from backpacking to duck hunting. It builds upon earlier Conservancy-funded studies by Oliver Pergams of the University of Illinois-Chicago and Patricia Zaradic of the Environmental Leadership Program that correlated a decline in visits to U.S. National Parks with an increase in television, video game and Internet use.

Nature.org talked with Pergams and Zaradic about their latest study -- and whether their findings mean that people no longer care about nature.

View the full interview at nature.org.

Learn more about the study at videophilia.org.

Download the full study.

 
Americans do more than they realize to live 'green'
green earth Corporate Social Responsibility News from: Home and Garden Television
February 15, 2008


When it comes to doing their part for the environment, Americans may be "greener" than they think - with many participating in more than two "green" activities regularly.

A new study entitled "Moving Consumers from Green Interest to Green Action," conducted by Insight Research Group in partnership with HGTV and the Natural Resources Defense Council, set out to gain an in-depth understanding of people's relationship to green and how it fits into their lives. The research found that more than 84 percent of respondents believe "it is a moral obligation" to care for the environment and 86 percent already participate in at least one green activity such as conserving energy at home, recycling, driving a fuel efficient car, buying recycled products or picking up litter.

When asked why they participate in "green" activities, consumers reported the major motivators are that "it's good for the environment" (82 percent), "it helps future generations" (78 percent), "it's healthy" (78 percent), "it's the right thing' to do" (78 percent), and "it fits with my morals or beliefs" (73 percent).

The study found that Americans would be willing to do even more if they understood how a particular "green" action could help the environment as well as benefit them personally. In fact, 78 percent said they are "willing to make a lifestyle change for the good of the environment." While many responded that "the best way to solve current environmental problems" is through individuals (72 percent) and businesses (64 percent) taking responsibility, most admit they can't distinguish between the reality and the hype, and report it is hard to know what actions are truly good for the environment.

View full story in Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire.
 
The enviro active museum
Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum By Elizabeth Wylie and Sarah S. Brophy
Museum - January/February issue, 2008


In St. Michaels, Maryland, the 40-plus-year-old Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) interprets and preserves the culture of the region, a culture once based almost entirely on the bay. Despite the museum's popularity, President Stuart Parnes is concerned. "I've been asked, if the museum prospers while the bay dies, what's the point?"

The museum's mission is to preserve the culture of the region, Parnes says, "but we all recognize that this means more than collecting physical artifacts. If we are going to preserve the very tenuous culture of the bay's people, we need to help sustain the bay." Now, through greening the museum campus and expanding environmental programming, the museum is choosing to emphasize environmental stewardship for the institution, for the community and for the bay through waterfront restoration, pollution reduction, stormwater management and education--for starters.

As environmental sustainability goes mainstream, many museums like CBMM are finding they have an expanded role in educating on environmental issues; in turn, these museums realize benefits as they engage the public and attract support. Where once it was primarily science and children's museums that made the public connection between interpretation and community action, now history and art museums and others, small and large, are finding that sustainability is an issue that connects their missions to local, regional and global communities in new ways.

It may seem that zoos, aquariums and gardens have a head start on environmental practice compared to gallery-based institutions, but all can embrace sustainability and community action. Institutions with non-living collections often fail to recognize the synergy between global environmental health and institutional health--overlooking the financial savings, educational opportunities, improved conditions for objects, staff and visitors and the mission connections to history, art, innovation, preservation and technology. In these museums green has not reached standards of practice or accreditation, but surely it will. Just as issues of diversity, disabled accessibility and ethics have made their way into professional expectations, so too will environmentally sustainable practices.

View full story through the American Association of Museums.

Authors Sarah Brophy and Elizabeth Wylie are co-authors of a forthcoming book, The Green Museum: A Primer on Environmental Practice, due out this summer from AltaMira Press. Learn more about green museums.

Photo credit: Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.

 
A dose of "free-range thinking"
free-range thinking You have their attention. Now, are you closing the deal, or are you Falling Flat on Your Ask?
By Andy Goodman
free-range thinking - February, 2008


When public interest organizations reach out for support (financial or otherwise), it's almost always advisable to forget about engaging "the general public" and focus on a more manageable audience closer to the heart of your cause. But that's only step one.

With target audience in mind, you have to craft a message that will cut through the clutter, grab their attention, and pluck a heartstring or two. No easy feat, and even with that accomplished, your work is far from done.

Now you need to select spokespeople and choose media that will deliver your message with the utmost impact. And should you make the right choices at this stage, it's still no guarantee of success. Because in the end, virtually every form of public outreach comes down to the "ask," that make-or-break moment when your audience -- having stopped, looked, and listened -- says, "So, what exactly do you want me to do?"

The right kind of ask can seal the deal, while the wrong kind can let your audience slip away. Inside you'll find classic examples of each, and they're worth studying. Some time soon, lessons learned here might just save your ask.

Read more about the right and wrong ask in February's issue of free-range thinking.

A monthly journal of best practices and resources for public interest communicators, free-range thinkingTM can help you reach more people more effectively. Click here to read the latest issue, access the archives, and request your free subscription.

 
Creating high-impact non-profits - strategies, tools, and ideas
Forces for Good By Heather McLeod Grant and Leslie R. Crutchfield
Stanford Social Innovation Review - Fall, 2007


In fewer than two decades, Teach for America has gone from a struggling start-up to a powerful force for education reform in the United States. How has Teach for America accomplished so much in such a relatively short period of time? And how have other similarly successful non-profits had such significant social impact?

We grounded our findings in several years of research on 12 of the most successful non-profits in recent U.S. history. Collectively, these high-impact non-profits have pressed corporations to adopt sustainable business practices and mobilized citizens to act on such issues as hunger, education reform, and the environment.

What we discovered after closely examining these 12 high-impact non-profits came as a bit of a surprise. We had assumed that there was something inherent in these organizations that helped them have great impact - and that their success was directly tied to their growth or management approach. Instead, we learned that becoming a high-impact non-profit is not just about building a great organization and then expanding it to reach more people. Rather, high-impact non-profits work with and through organizations and individuals outside themselves to create more impact than they ever could have achieved alone. They build social movements and fields; they transform business, government, other non-profits, and individuals; and they change the world around them.

This article presents and explains in clear and simple language:
  • 6 key myths of successful non-profit management: Perfect Management, Brand-Name Awareness, A Breakthrough New Idea, Textbook Mission Statements, High Ratings on Conventional Metrics, and Large Budgets;
    and
  • 6 practices high-impact non-profits use to achieve extraordinary impact: Serve and Advocate, Make Markets Work, Inspire Evangelists, Nurture Non-profit Networks, Master the Art of Adaptation, and Share Leadership.
View full article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Learn more about the book, Forces for Good: The Six Practices for High-Impact Nonprofits by Leslie Crutchfield and Heather McLeod Grant.

 
Smart Chart 3.0 is here - communication solutions for good causes
Communicating Smart Chart 3.0 improves upon Smart Chart 2.0 as a planning tool that helps non-profits make smart choices and develop high-impact communications strategies. Smart Chart is available (free of charge to non-profits) in an online version that offers an interactive approach to the communications planning process. As you work your way through the Chart, you'll have several opportunities to evaluate your answers and ensure you are making the smartest choices. At the end of the process, you will have a fully completed Smart Chart that links your organization's goals to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful communications effort.

Smart Chart 3.0 reflects feedback from more than 500 trainings and workshops with non-profit organizations and foundations for how to make this tool even more user-friendly and effective. Other updates reflect the findings from research on the Activation Point. In December 2006, the Communications Leadership Institute partnered with Spitfire Strategies to research the best practices of persuasion. Through focus groups, case study research, an extensive literature review, brainstorms with an expert panel, and a proprietary research tool called PowerGamesTM, recommendations were developed for the best strategies and approaches public interest groups can use to create change by getting the right people to take the right action at the right time. To access the full report, visit www.activationpoint.org.

Learn more about Smart Chart 3.0
 
Global Heating, Atmospheric Cancer, Pollution Death. What's in a name?
 
hot earth By Andrew C. Revkin
Dot Earth - February 18, 2008


John P. Holdren, the head of Harvard's center on science and technology policy, is sick and tired of "global warming" -- not just the problem, but the phrase. As the respondent to a panel on climate and the press at this year's annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston, he urged the media, and scientists who talk to the press, to substitute "global climate disruption" for that all-too-comfortable pair of words.

What are your suggestions for more effective ways to describe human-caused global warming?

"We've been almost anesthetized by this term," Dr. Holdren lamented. The atmospheric buildup of long-lived greenhouse gases is setting in motion centuries of shifts in climate patterns, coastlines, water resources and ecosystems, he said -- hardly a transformation one would describe with a gentle word like warming.

View full story in Dot Earth.

Contribute your ideas in the Dot Earth blog.

 
Plan B: Adopting to a warmer world
global warming By Liza Tucker and Margaret Koval
Marketplace - Jan 28-30, 2008


What if the investments, lifestyle changes and technologies the world is looking toward to stave off climate change don't work? Marketplace reports on the efforts of engineers, scientists and governments to prepare for living with the consequences of climate change.

The report looks at:
  • Climate friendly efforts in Australia to tap the vast ocean to deal with reduced reliable rainfall and threats of severe drought as a result of climate change
  • One atmospheric scientist's eureka plan to stop sea-level rise with a combination of Salicornia plants and dried up coastal aquifers in Mexico, and the response by Dennis M. Bushnell - chief scientist at NASA's Langley Research Center
  • How the Dutch plan to rise with the tide by investing in 'climate-proof homes' and a new kind of water defense system that would change the Dutch landscape and the way some farmers do business.
  • Man-made attempts at saving wildlife
  • Un-orthodox engineering solutions to climate change
View the full report in Marketplace.

Photo credit: NASA

 
The future of organic aquaculture remains controversial
seafood By Barry Estabrook
Gourmet - February 4, 2008


Otto von Bismarck famously wisecracked, "Laws are like sausage. It is better not to see them being made." After listening to aquaculture advocates and representatives of environmental groups squabbling at afternoon-long workshops on the subject the weekend before last, I'm convinced the same holds true--only more so--for setting organic standards applicable to farmed seafood.

It's a question that will be much in the news in coming months. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), which establishes and enforces such standards, will unveil proposed rules this spring, and one thing is already certain: They will be contentious.

There doesn't seem to be any problem establishing criteria for fish raised on vegetarian diets in self-contained ponds, such as catfish and tilapia. The standards would be pretty much the same as those for chickens or hogs: no antibiotics and drugs; only organic feed. But matters get very sticky when it comes to carnivorous predatory species like salmon, which need fishmeal and fish oil in their diets. Those products come from wild stocks, and as defined by the USDA, wild fish cannot be labeled organic (because it's impossible to control their diets and ensure that they come from clean waters). There are other, similar Catch-22 situations.

View the full story in Gourmet.
 
Matt Damon returns to PBS with The State of the Ocean's Animals
Matt Damon JOURNEY TO PLANET EARTH: The State of the Ocean's Animals will be rebroadcast on the PBS national schedule on Friday, March 21, at 10 p.m. Originally broadcast in March of 2007, the one-hour program was PBS's highest rated show of the week.

Hosted and narrated by Academy Award winner Matt Damon, The State of the Ocean's Animals takes a hard look at the future of our watery natural world: the beauty, the incredible animals, and the dangers that threaten them. The show investigates why nearly half the world's marine animals may face extinction over the next twenty-five years at the hands of global warming, over-fishing, and habitat destruction. Filming locations: California, New England, Florida, Japan, China, Senegal, and the Antarctic.

Find out when it's airing in your area by checking your local listings.

Photo credit: PBS
.
 
Ocean inspired film and music making for World Ocean Day
school of fish The ocean connects every continent and infuses the culture and music of every coastal civilization in the world. London based film composer and record producer Damian Montagu is travelling around the world with his family and his recording gear to collaborate with musicians at the sea's edge, writing and recording new tracks. The project, which is being filmed by his wife Miranda, unites musicians worldwide through their understanding of the power and beauty of the sea.

The music is a multicolored celebration of the sea. It reflects the musician's response to the storms which drive it, the calm that sits at its surface, and the exploitation which unbalances it. It is a fusion of traditional instrumentation and experimental recording and production. The film also seeks to capture the character of the sea and the culture surrounding it in each of the locations.

In celebration of World Ocean Day, the album will be released worldwide in early June, through Itunes,. http://www.theoceanproject.org/wod/

Damian is keen to hear from any partners of The Ocean Project who might be interested in sponsoring the project or those who would like a copy of the films and music videos to present at events on World Ocean Day. You can contact him through the Ocean Tracks website - www.oceantracks.net - or by email at damian@oceantracks.net.
 
National Science Teachers Association conference in Boston, March
NSTA logo NSTA's national conference on science education intends to bring the very latest science content, research findings, and teaching techniques to the classroom teacher. The conference will be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center Thursday, March 27 to Sunday, March 30, 2008.

The conference has been planned around four strands of current significance:
  • Using and Abusing Data
  • Sharpening the Edge in Science
  • Cutting Edge Research: Foundation for the Future
  • Instructional Technology: Research and Applications for the Science Classroom
More than 1,000 presentations and workshops have been scheduled as well as 10 featured presentations related to the conference strands.

To learn more about the agenda and to register, visit the conference's website.
 
Working forum on nature education: New tools for connecting the world's children with nature
Working forum on nature education logo From July 21-23, 2008 at the Arbor Day Farm's Lied Lodge & Conference Center, Nebraska City, Nebraska, 280 delegates from a wide range of professions and from six continents will gather to share ideas on how we can reconnect children around the world with nature.

To learn more about the agenda and to register, visit the conference's website.
 
Restore America's Estuaries national conference in Providence, RI, October
Restore America's Estuaries Restore America's Estuaries is holding its 4th National Conference on Coastal and Estuarine Habitat Restoration - Creating Solutions through Collaborative Partnerships - October 11-15, 2008 at the Rhode Island Convention Center Providence, Rhode Island.

The event is the only national conference focused on the goals and practices of coastal and estuarine habitat restoration and that brings together the coastal and estuarine habitat restoration community. The five-day conference will explore the state-of-the-art in all aspects and scales of restoration, and will be comprised of field sessions, plenary sessions, expert presentations, special evening events, workshops, a poster hall, and a restoration exposition.

Proposals for poster presentations are due February 29, 2008.

For more information and to register visit the conference's website.