Sustainabiity

Ocean Guardian Dive Club

By OceanFirst on 8/7/17

(Photo credits: Kellon Spencer)

This summer, Ocean First was chosen to be a part of a pilot program through NOAA, called the Ocean Guardian Dive Club. This unique and free opportunity taught the young ocean stewards in our community about our impact on the ocean and our responsibilities for its future.

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During the first two days of the club, our inaugural ocean guardians were given a crash course about the marine sanctuary system, taught by Thea and Kathryn. Day one focused on the mission of the National Marine Sanctuary System and its role in supporting a healthy ocean. Day two centered in on the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary, the whales’ migration patterns, and how they are impacted by humans.

After some time in the classroom going over the physics and physiology of diving, the ocean guardians donned their gear and hopped in the pool to learn the basics of scuba diving. Day one was focused on feeling comfortable in the water and with their gear. Day two was when the real fun began: using a new kelp forest installation and golf ball tree, the guardians were challenged to use their buoyancy skills to slalom through the kelp forest and carefully place a golf ball on a PVC pipe tree branch without knocking anything over. The team to get all golf balls on the branches won! Perfect buoyancy doesn’t only help win relay races; staying off the reef and being spatially aware are key parts of being a responsible diver. “There was tons of enthusiasm from all of the instructors in class and pool made it so much fun and engaging for the kids”, said Kathy, one of the participant’s parents.

Another important component of the OGDC is the stewardship project. Guardians are challenged to pledge their time to make a positive change in their community. After an enthusiastic discussion about the threat of single-use plastics and the myriad of alternatives, the guardians agreed to go into the community and try to persuade restaurants to cut back on their plastic straw distribution. "Kathryn and Thea were so patient with the kids. The role playing for talking to potential business owners/managers was a great way to build their confidence speaking” said Kathy.

During National Slurpee Day, some of the Ocean Guardians stood outside 7/11 on the Hill to hand out compostable straws to the crowd of free slurpee seekers as an alternative to plastic straws. We look forward to hearing about more impacts that the guardians will make in the community and hope that the experience will make them lifelong ocean guardians!

Contact us if you are interested in getting your child involved with youth scuba and marine science activities, we almost always have something on the books and love teaching the divers and ocean stewards of the future!

 

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