Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

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I have spent a lifetime in, and around, the ocean. When I am not in or at the ocean, I am thinking about the ocean! After 30 years of diving, I have seen the damage that global warming, trash, and especially plastic have wrought. Realizing that our oceans and coral reefs are in trouble, I am not alone in wondering how we can reach people and make the change that is needed so desperately. How can we make them care? So far, we have not been able to excite people to make change.

Tam Warner Minton: Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

I became aware of the possibilities of citizen science by watching a documentary many years ago, the BBC’s Queen of Mantas. I started by doing fish surveys on my own and reporting my findings to REEF.org, a foundation keeping track of fish populations on popular reefs. After meeting Dr Andrea Marshall, the Queen of Mantas, I began traveling on her Ray of Hope Expeditions, taking photographs and making observations about Manta Rays. These expeditions also have the perk of traveling to exotic locales and meeting other passionate activists. I also do the same thing for Whale Sharks. Scientists cannot be everywhere, and that is where “citizen scientists” come in. One doesn’t need a PhD in marine biology to report animal behavior, appearance, and take identification, and descriptive, photos. I make these observations wherever I dive or snorkel, regardless of whether I am on an actual expedition or not. These observations are needed so scientists can better understand our oceans and the animals living in them.

Tam Warner Minton: Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

Netflix’s recent documentary, CHASING CORAL, is an eye-opening look at the condition of our reefs. Global climate change has made water temperatures rise to a point where coral cannot survive. What’s the big deal? The big deal is that humans depend on the ocean for their very lives. The ocean gives us nourishment, oxygen, medicines, and more products for our economy than land based products. Reef animals need reefs to survive, and reefs need coral. These are compelling reasons to save our oceans. 

In my lifetime, I have taught many people, and many children, how to snorkel, and how to dive. Almost to a soul, they become ocean lovers. In my experience, when you show people the wonders of the ocean, they respond with awe, excitement, and curiosity. Seeing these reactions excites me as well, and I am overjoyed at these reactions. Now, I cannot bring every human being to the ocean, but I can bring the ocean to human beings by introducing them to our amazing ocean creatures. 

Tam Warner Minton: Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

Thus was ALL FISH FACES born. The first book of a planned series called OCEAN FRIENDS, ALL FISH FACES introduces the tropical fish inhabiting the reefs in our oceans. Photos and fun facts about tropical reef fish presents an underwater treasure of tropical reef fish faces, some fierce, some fun, but all a joy for fish fans young and old. 

Tam Warner Minton: Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

Colorful photos and interesting facts — including names of every fish featured and where the photo was taken — create a colorful dive log worth experiencing again and again. Getting to know, and love, our ocean friends, and feeling the thrill of discovery, is the way to preserve the ocean for future generations! The book includes easy tips on how to help conserve our ocean resources and save our ocean friends. 10% of profits will go to the Marine Megafauna Foundation, co-founded by Manta Ray expert, Dr Andrea Marhsall the Queen of Mantas, to continue scientific research to protect our oceans and ocean giants.

Tam Warner Minton: Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

Introducing animals who are charismatic, colorful, and even comical to look at may be able to engage those who have never really thought about the importance of the ocean before. By engaging this generation, and the next, by introducing them to our fellow creatures, we may find the path to halting global climate change and saving our oceans. By doing so, we will be saving ourselves as well. 

Tam Warner Minton: Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

Zack Rago, the self-proclaimed “coral nerd” from CHASING CORAL, also believes that by showing kids the ocean world, we can raise a generation who cares enough to reverse the damage that has been done by the warming climate. He is part of an educational endeavor called TEENS 4 OCEANS. By using hands on, and virtual reality, the group is bringing hearts and minds to the ocean. “Through virtual reality technology, we are bringing the underwater world directly to the classroom. The experience is unlike anything we have done in the past. Without even getting wet we can explore the variety of life and habitats beneath the waves with students around the world. Google and our good friends at The Ocean Agency have worked tirelessly to bring these experiences into the classroom and T4O is one of the first organizations to do so! Pairing these educational experiences can also come with the showing of the new environmental documentary, Chasing Coral. The Exposure Labs film takes a deep look at the impact humans are having on our oceans, particularly our coral reefs.”

Tam Warner Minton: Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

I cannot think of a better way to excite others about our ocean world than to teach children about our underwater world! If we can engage people, and especially kids, in the beauty of our oceans, we may be able to turn the tide of climate change. 

Tam Warner Minton: Introducing Kids to our Ocean Creatures Just Might Save our Oceans!

“For in the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” ~ Baba Dioum 1968

It is through the excitement of hands on learning that we may be able to create a better future!

 

 

Tam Warner Minton is the travel blogger, writer, and photographer behind the adventure travel blog, www.travelswithtam.com. She has traveled to all seven continents, and is an advocate for citizen science, the environment, and getting out of one’s comfort zone. An avid scuba diver, Tam goes on many ocean research expeditions, and is an amateur underwater photographer. Her book, ALL FISH FACES, introduces amazing, colorful underwater creatures many have never seen before, but are crucial to our oceans. Showing kids of all ages the amazing life beneath the waves is the way to preserve our oceans for future generations!

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Tam Warner Minton

 

 

 

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