Monday, April 29, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: A leatherback turtle's necropsy inspiring action

This intern blog comes from Shira Catlin. Shira is a sophomore at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine where is is working towards a BA in Human Ecology with a focus in Marine Science and a teaching certification in elementary education. Shira was recommended by our partners at the Boat US Foundation where she also interns and we are excited to have her onboard!

I grew up in Western Massachusetts, surrounded by mountains, rivers, and lakes, but unfortunately not the ocean. Through family vacations and class field trips I was fortunate enough to spend time on the coast learning about periwinkles, humpback whales, and phytoplankton.

Through my studies at College of the Atlantic I get to work with a marine mammal research group called Allied Whale that conducts research in the Gulf of Maine. The group was founded in 1972 by the former president Steve Katona along with students, staff and faculty. The organization has grown and is now part of the Northeast Marine Regional Stranding Network. Allied Whale curates the humpback and fin whale catalogues of the North Atlantic. Allied Whale responds to strandings from Rockport, ME to the eastern Canadian coast.

This past August Allied Whale was notified of a floating--and what seemed to be dead --Leatherback turtle. It is unusual for Allied Whale to respond to turtle strandings. The majority of calls Allied Whale responds to are about seal pups or whales.

On August 22nd, Allied Whale took the college’s research boat to the coast off of Schoodic Point near Winterport, Maine to assess the leatherback turtle. The turtle was deceased and was transported back to the college where a necropsy would be performed once the school year resumed. Allied Whale has a permit to conduct necropsies to determine cause of death as well as to collect data. Work-study students and volunteers take part in operation. A necropsy is an autopsy performed on an animal. If a deceased animal comes in during the winter or at times when there are not enough volunteers or students present to conduct a necropsy the animals are put into a freezer and are necropsied at a later date.

Although the smell might be horrendous, and it can be gory, necropsies are exciting, educational, and engaging. The procedures are completed outside along the main driveway of the college. Observers are encouraged to stop and take pictures, ask questions, and learn about the process they are witnessing.
During the leatherback necropsy there were many professors excited to learn about what the inside of the turtle looked like. In addition, the local elementary school arranged for the sixth grade class to come in small groups and observe the procedure.

This was the first necropsy I was participating in and the fact that it was on a turtle was very exciting. I began as a work-study student for Allied Whale this past fall and this was one of the first necropsies of the season. There were many questions that I and many other people were wondering before the start of the necropsy. Probably the most pressing one was, “How did the turtle die?” The only way to answer this question was through performing the necropsy.

Necropsies vary in their length depending on the size of the animal and how much data needs to be gathered. Taking pictures and documenting information also adds to the amount of time needed to complete the task. In this circumstance, the necropsy took almost a full day.

In the final stretch of the procedure the stomach and the esophagus were opened up, and our prediction for the cause of death became known. Inside the stomach the only content was a sheet of plastic. This moment of “ah-ha” was not positive nor was it happy. The sixth graders observing were seeing first-hand how pollutants such as plastic can be ingested by marine animals.

I imagined the turtle floating along and mistaking the plastic for a piece of seaweed, simply opening it’s mouth thinking it was eating another satisfying meal but in reality it was consuming a material that would become trapped in it’s stomach. This would cause the turtle to have a false sense of fullness, leading to a decrease in it’s intake of nutrition.

Having the experience of taking part in this necropsy and being able to see the sixth graders learning first hand about the damage marine debris can do to an animal reinforced my desire to take my interest in education and marine science to help increase understanding about why we need to keep the oceans free of toxins of all kinds.

The Rozalia Project combines my love of the marine environment and my enthusiasm for education. I am looking forward to the summer aboard The American Promise where together we will teach kids about marine debris and spread knowledge about how we can collaborate to prevent debris from ending up in the ocean and having detrimental effects on the environment and marine ecology like the sheet of plastic had on the unassuming turtle found near Winterport, Maine.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: More time in and on the water than on land

Todays intern blog comes from Christian Adley, a Civil Engineering major at University of Massachusetts: Dartmouth who is a sailor, swimmer and whose fascination with marine life and desire to protect the ocean has led him to Rozalia Project.

There is something about being out on the water that just puts my mind at ease. I grew up in Milton Massachusetts which is seven miles south of downtown Boston where I have lived all of my life. Its perfect for me because it is one of the few towns in the area that has a town yacht club where I am helping my dad restore our Phillip Rhodes 25’ Seafarer Meridian. I also have a summer house in Hyannis Port on Cape Cod where during the summer there is a good possibility that I actually spend more time in and on the water then on dry land. I’m from a family of water lovers, I have three brothers and one sister where all of the boys in my family are lifeguards and my sister is looking forward to become one once she is old enough. I grew up sailing mostly small boats which makes it even more exciting to be spending some time on American Promise because this will be like uncharted waters for me.

My love and respect for the ocean started at young age with my obsession with marine life, I would swim off the jetty with my goggles and snorkel and see what cool aquatic life I could see. My favorite sea creature is the sea turtle which due to the abnormally warm water temperature on the cape last summer I managed to see in its natural habitat while sailing my Hobie Cat about a quarter mile off shore,  it was pretty amazing. Experiences like this are the reason why I want to help educate the public in ways to keep our ocean clean because I want everyone to be able to enjoy the true beauty of the ocean and all of its inhabitants.

The way that I view the ocean is that it is going to take a long long time until we have explored every inch of it and there seems to be so many more mysteries about it that need to be explored and if we pollute and continue to misuse in my opinion the world’s most important and fascinating natural resource that there is no going back. That is why I can’t wait to get started on showing people why the ocean is so amazing and what they can do to help keep it clean.

**RP note: the above video of the effect trash has on the wildlife on Midway Island is very upsetting (have a look before showing kids). Don't let it overwhelm you... Rozalia Project, our interns and more and more people are working on the problem of marine debris! You can learn more and join us to take action as virtual crew on American Promise! Check out

Monday, April 22, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: Happy Earth Day (and swimming with giant manta rays)

Today is Earth Day and the intern blog comes from someone with some unique and exciting experiences.  Anna Feyerherm comes from Kansas, goes to school at the University of Missouri and has spent some quality time in the water in one of the most exciting locations in the world, the Galapagos Islands.


My relationship to the ocean, for better or for worse, has existed in a context of tourism for the majority of my life.  Growing up in Shawnee, Kansas, my family always chose beach locales when we went on vacation. After graduating from high school, I went to Australia and had the opportunity to do an exploratory SCUBA dive on the Great Barrier Reef.  This experience was my introduction to the ocean at a greater depth (literally and figuratively) than I had experienced it before.
I am currently pursuing and will graduate from the University of Missouri in December with a degree in International Studies and an emphasis in Environmental Studies.  I have enjoyed the variety of courses this major has allowed me to take –  it has enabled me to dip into a lot of different areas of study.  As a result, my study of the environment is mostly framed by the interaction between humans and the environment.  

The University of Missouri, despite all of its great qualities, it is noticeably lacking in one regard – access to the ocean.  My interest in and preference for the ocean has been present since childhood, though I grew up in the even more landlocked state of Kansas.  I was exposed to the ocean through family vacations to Florida, Washington, and the Mediterranean as well as a post high school graduation trip to Australia.  There I did an exploratory SCUBA dive on the Great Barrier Reef, an introduction to the ocean at a greater depth (literally and figuratively) than I had experienced before.  
After this diving “test run,” I knew I wanted to get my diving certification – it wasn’t until I decided to spend last semester studying abroad in Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands that I had the impetus to do it, completing the program over the summer before my semester abroad.  A quick side note: I had a few friends who waited until we arrived in Ecuador to obtain their certifications.  I accompanied them on this dive trip to Isla de la Plata off the coast of Manta, Ecuador.  There, we got to dive with giant manta rays, which were in the area during this very specific time window while migrating.  Being in the water with the mantas was incredible because they’re so huge (12-15 foot wingspan) but completely silent.  I brought a disposable underwater camera with me and was very focused on photographing an octopus when the dive master got my attention – when I turned around, I saw a giant manta swimming just 5 feet away from me.  My friends’ certification experience blew mine out of the water, given that I was certified in a small lake in Arkansas with underwater scenery that included rocks and a couple of intentionally placed 2 foot tall mermaid statues.  
Equipped with diving certifications, my friends and I made our way to the Galápagos a couple of weeks later.  We took multiple dive trips together during the three months we were there, our last one the most exciting of all.  We were living on San Cristóbal Island but decided to go to one of the uninhabited islands, Espanola, a 3-hour boat ride south.  As we approached the island, we saw a couple of fins in the distance coming toward our boat.  We began to realize, fairly quickly, that these were the fins of both a mother and a juvenile orca.  They came up to, and then swam directly under and around our boat, for 15 minutes.  For a moment, the encounter created a feeling of mild terror to get into the water with them so close to us, but it was more exciting than terrifying in the end. 

The courses I took in the Galápagos were centered on some of the ways human activities and populations impact the environment and the relationship between these two separate yet very intertwined entities.  This study, combined with experiences like the ones I have discussed previously in this post, have led me to ecotourism as a way to synthesize my belief in the importance of travel and tourism with environmental conservation, protection, and improvement.  Working to understand the complex relationship between humans and the environment is an important component of ecotourism and is also a large part of what led me to the Rozalia Project.  I am extremely excited to combine research, action, and education to pursue the most positive impact on the ocean possible and encourage others to do the same. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: You Think you have Time

Michelle Levano is a student at Roger Williams University studying Environmental Science. Like us, she likes to spend time along the sea with her dog (Lola, below) and is excited to join Rozalia Project to make a difference... but also enjoy some time on American Promise with Hickory and Smudge.

“The Trouble is, you think you have time” – Buddha 

Coming from Long Island, my entire life I have never been more than the 20 minutes away from the water. I have always had a passion for the water; I have been competitively swimming since I was ten years old and was on varsity swimming on high school. Our family life has revolved around the ocean since I was young; even with transfer for suburban life I still found myself on the seashore monthly. The ocean to me is a mystery, which is part of the reason why I love it so much. I often like to compare the ocean to a human being; it has its hectic and calm days just like the rest of us. 

One of my favorite courses I have taken here at Roger Williams University was oceanography. The class really opened my eyes to the significant role that the ocean plays on this planet. This class really brought to my attention how in trouble our oceans are. Even in our own Mount Hope Bay, the ecosystem is currently threatened due to pollution, eutrophication, and increasing temperatures due to the coal power planet up the bay.   

 My first and only trip to the west coast was a very enriching experience. This trip led me to realize the drastic difference in respect for the environment between the east coast and the west coast. This is one of the main reasons I am interning with the Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean this summer, in order to instill a more “west coast” view of the environment- one of respect and responsibility. People need to learn that the earth does not have unlimited resources, and what we do have we have to take care of.  Our decisions of today may not have an effect tomorrow, but later on down the road they will. If people do not stop to realize the importance of the ocean now, we may be too late. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: Life at sea leading to a love of the sea

Today's post is from Brooke Winslow. Brooke is studying Ocean Engineering at MIT in Boston and had the unique experience of sailing with her family on a 40' boat for 2 years!

Hello, my name's Brooke. I am a sophomore at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. I am studying ocean engineering, which is closely related to mechanical engineering, except specifically for ocean-going systems. I am member of the MIT sailing team along with fellow Rozalia Project intern and MIT student, Miss. Laura Dunphy. My hobbies include kayaking, hiking, tennis, drawing and painting, syfy and fantasy books, and frolicking in the water. 

I am originally from Washington State, where I grew up sailing with my family in the Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands. We owned a thirty foot Newport, and it was great to grow up sailing and catching crab on weekends. When my older sister and I were in middle school/ junior high, our parents talked about longer-term trips, possibly going far south to Mexico. They said it was a dream of theirs, and if my sister and I wanted to do it too, we could. That is how my family ended up selling the Newport, buying a cruising-ready Valient 40, and moving onto Our Tern for the next two years while I was 12-14 years old. In those two years we went from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico, to El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands, and as far West as Hawaii. We took our time, meeting local families in the beachside towns and cities we stayed in and enjoying the natural beauty and diversity of the warm climate. 

After living at sea and crossing oceans, there is no doubt that I love the sea and all the life it holds and nurtures. After returning to Washington  I decided to enter the Ocean Research College Academy (ORCA). For my junior and senior years of high school I attended ORCA and had the opportunity to collect and analyze data regarding the state of the health of Possession Sound, the very same place I had grown up sailing all those years. From this analysis and the blatant contrast I could see from my travels, it became clear that ecosystems closely linked geographically to highly developed regions are struggling to survive and sadly lacking in diversity. By studying ocean engineering it is my hope that I will be able to contribute to the movement taking place to clean up the oceans and take better care of the organisms that rely on it to survive. This is why I am super excited to be part of the Rozalia Project. The Project is making powerful steps to fight pollution in marine ecosystems and destruction of marine habitats. I am prepared to do my share of the work to make their vision a reality.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: An English Lit major taking action

Today's intern blog is from Kaleigh Wilson, English Literature major at Roger Williams. Kaleigh gives us a different perspective than our science majors and kicks it off with some Tolkien...

In 1931, J.R.R. Tolkien wrote the following lines as a small portion of his grander poem entitled “Mythopoeia”:
The movements of the sea, the wind in boughs,
green grass, the large slow oddity of cows,
 thunder and lightning, birds that wheel and cry,
slime crawling up from mud to live and die,
these each are duly registered and print
the brain's contortions with a separate dint.

There exists a common yet unique understanding of the elements within our natural world amongst most humans, as Tolkien states. For me, this understanding takes on another dimension in which I feel a distinct connection to each one of these elements. I envy the cormorant and exchange patience with the trees. The ocean challenges me, and I am a grain within the sand. Growing up in a log cabin in the woods with a rural, ten minute walk to the shore must be the basis for this environmental bond, but I did not always know that truth. 

As I made my way about the outside world, it became vaguely apparent to me that this deep-seated coexistence that dominated my perspective was not entirely universal. A plastic cup crashed amongst the waves on Fire Island. A clear plastic shopping bag floated beside me at my favorite spot on Cedar Beach. An old cellophane balloon hung from the branches of the oldest oak tree in my neighborhood. It was confusing at first—this entanglement of the natural and the unnatural. 

When choosing a college to study at, I was naturally, and unconsciously, drawn to Roger Williams University: a liberal arts school with a rural, bayside campus. Two years later and halfway to a degree of some sort, I decided what my major would be—English Literature. It was a strange decision. I am not a diehard reader. I do not have a bountiful collection of my favorite works by my favorite authors. Now, though, two years later, I understand why I really chose it. 
The rule of thumb within my major, as I interpret it to be, is this: it is not always important what you are looking at, but how you are looking at it. It does not matter that The Iliad is an 800 page text about humans, gods, goddesses, and the Trojan War that occurred over 3,000 years ago, but it does matter that it is read with a clear knowledge of ancient Greek culture and custom in order to realize which concrete events translate to abstract significances. This analytical process that I learned during academic study allowed me, and continues to allow me, to understand our world today. 
Like Tolkien writes, we all know what the environment is—the ocean, the fish, the trees—but our world is bereft of a general understanding of how we are to interact with it. For me and many others it is an innate respect. For some it is a learned appreciation. I like to think that for the remainder of people it is simply a blank void. Enter Rozalia Project. 

My participation in Rozalia Project’s mission for a clean ocean is my duty. While I have been part of beach cleanups at home and organized a shore cleanup on RWU’s campus, I have never done my part on a large scale from the water itself. Although I have shared my strong environmental feelings with my peers, I have never educated groups of open-minded individuals on the motives and methods towards a clean ocean. I am proud and eager to say that my time aboard the American Promise will not only teach others how to connect with their natural surroundings on a sublime level, but will further my commitment to our beautiful Earth. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern blog: We don’t like to live surrounded by piles of trash, so why would they?

Today's blog post is from the enthusiastic Tara Silber, Marine Biology major at Maine Maritime Academy. See how a film helped inspire her to take action for our oceans...

Growing up in a family of beach lovers, I suppose I may have been destined to become one myself.  Though I lived in New Hampshire, we always spent at least a couple of weeks at our family cottage in Old Orchard Beach, ME.  Now living in Saco, we are just a 5 minute drive from that same beach.
When I was a sophomore in high school, we took a family vacation to San Diego, CA and visited Sea World.  It was then that I decided I wanted to go to school for marine biology to become a dolphin trainer…so I thought.  This stuck with me until my senior year, after I had already applied and been accepted to Maine Maritime Academy, until the night my mom rented the documentary The Cove.  This documentary changed my views entirely, and I believe it guided me to my true purpose in the field.  It was that night that my love for the health of the ocean and the organisms living within it really took me over.

When I started college the following August, though I knew I wanted to help animals, I had no idea where to start; I was terrified not knowing where my career in the field would go.  As I progressed through school, it started to become much clearer.  Whether I was learning about it in class or friends and family were sending me links to pictures and websites, ocean pollution was everywhere.  I’m sure we have all seen the pictures of birds with their stomachs full of trash and sea turtles whose shells grow misshapen from a piece of debris being stuck around them. Seeing these animals wrapped in plastic and netting absolutely breaks my heart.  As I continued to see this through my years at MMA, I knew I needed to get involved.  

Sea turtles and marine mammals became a favorite of mine long ago.  I think they are among some of the most beautiful creatures out there, and marine mammals are extremely intelligent.  Conservation and rehabilitation of species such as these would absolutely be my dream job.  Ocean pollution poses one of the biggest threats on these species, as well as numerous others.  The key to conserving these species is conserving their environment.

In September 2012, I had my first, hands-on experience with marine debris.  My friend and I volunteered for a beach cleanup with the Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI).  MERI is based out of Blue Hill, ME and for the cleanup we traveled to an island off the coast of Blue Hill.  On the boat ride to island, they educated volunteers about products, such as soaps and cleaners, that contain small beads in them that most people don’t realize are plastic.  Once we arrived at the beach, you didn’t have to look very hard to find debris.  There was trash tangled around bushes and trees, buried deep into the ground, and tucked up into snail shells; I was absolutely horrified.  We cataloged everything we found, most of which was plastic, rope, and lobster buoys.  All of the salvageable lobster buoys were left by the loading dock on the mainland for fishermen to claim in an effort to recycle them.  I believe in the end we had collected 8 industrial sized trash bags of debris, and this was from just a small portion of the island.  The cleanup was part of the Maine Coastal Program’s 2012 Coastweek Clean Up, and all of the data we collected was sent to the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean Up Program.  Overall, it was a very eye-opening experience.

When I heard about Rozalia Project, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity for me to get even further involved and continue on my path toward a full career doing what I love. I am extremely grateful for such a wonderful opportunity to not only continue doing my part in cleaning, but also to reach out to young minds to help them see how they can help, too.  Sea turtles don’t know the difference between seaweed and a green plastic bag, and fish don’t know the difference between plankton and a microscopic piece of plastic; it is our responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves from the pollution and trash we have created.  Removing trash from the ocean provides animals with a healthy, enjoyable place to live. We don’t like to live amongst piles of trash, so why would they?  

Works Cited:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: From "little fish" to Educator

Today's intern blog post comes from Kate Ranney, a Mass Communication major at the University of Delaware. Read how this PA native and summer sailing instructor came to love and want to protect the sea...

I have always felt a natural connection with the sea.  Growing up, my summers were mainly spent sailing on the Chesapeake Bay from port to port on my family’s thirty foot Catalina sailboat.  I absolutely adored helping to hoist the sails and jumping off of the bow with my sister.  My parents called me their “little fish” because I loved everything about the water.  In those days, I never really took notice of the brown, murky waters of the Chesapeake because I was so accustomed to it.  After vacationing to the Caribbean and seeing those clear blue waters,  I began to wonder what had made the Chesapeake look so dirty.

I remember one particular sailing trip to Baltimore that really opened my eyes to the damaging effects that our garbage has on the environment.  There was a huge amount of floating trash all along the harbor.  I was absolutely disgusted.  When my parents told me that it harmed the fish and other wildlife,  I just couldn’t understand why people would throw their trash into the sea so carelessly.  From that day on, I always made a point to pick up any debris I could find along beaches or other seaside places.  
All through primary and secondary schooling, my teachers made me realize how uneducated most people are about how to avoid harming the environment.  A lot of people do not know the difference between a banana peel and a plastic water bottle when it comes to proper disposal.  

Now, as a sailing instructor at a yacht club, I educate my students about how important it is to clean up after themselves and always properly dispose of their trash, recycling when needed.  Every day after classes have ended, I walk along the beach to make sure there is nothing left behind that could blow into the water.   As a Communications major, I feel it is my duty to spread the word about the Rozalia Project and how to save our oceans.  Being responsible about the environment does not take much effort at all.  

I absolutely cannot wait to be a part of the Rozalia Project!  Although it will take quite a while to reverse the immense damage that has been done, I believe that programs like this make a monumental difference in the health of the oceans and aquatic wildlife.  I want to take what I learn from Rozalia and use it to educate others and influence change in my community.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Summer is coming... time to hear from our new interns!

Welcome to 2013! Like last year, we are very excited about and proud of our interns. They come to Rozalia Project from a variety of backgrounds, hometowns and colleges. They also come to us for a variety of reasons. This is the first in a series of twice weekly intern blog posts where our new interns will introduce themselves and tell us why they came to Rozalia Project. Check this blog every Monday and Thursday to meet a new intern as we get closer and closer to boarding American Promise and kicking off Mission Atlantic and Rozalia Project's cleanup, education and research this summer!

Our first intern in this series is Alyssa Lefebvre, a junior and Marine Biology major at the Florida Institute of Technology. Alyssa had a recent adventure SCUBA diving for trash as part of a Project Aware underwater cleanup!

If you are anything like me, it is likely that you are able to ramble out several ocean based facts such as, the oceans make up 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains 97% of the planet’s water, however roughly a 5% of these waters have been explored.  While I never was one for statistics, stats such as these catch my attention and tend to make me wonder.  If you are privileged to be SCUBA certified, (as I hope many of you get the chance to be one day) stop and think of all of the breathtaking places you have gone diving.  If you are more experienced, your list may go on and on.  But if you are somewhat new to the diving world, like am I, you may only be able to list a handful.  Regardless your number, realize that if at any point you think you have seen it all; remind yourself, with these percentages above, that you have come nowhere near seeing all that is out there.

My name is Alyssa Lefebvre, and I am thankful to be a part of the Rozalia Project’s 2013 internship crew.  I spent the first 18 years of my life living in Worcester, MA which is not far from Boston and the New England Aquarium.  Throughout my childhood, numerous trips to that aquarium were made and with each visit my passion for the oceans and its majestic creatures, grew.  For the past 3 years I have attended Florida Institute of Technology as I am pursuing a degree in Marine Biology.  Growing up in the north, the moment I moved to Florida it truly seemed like paradise.  I couldn’t (and still can’t) stop staring at all of the birds, the palm trees, the fish.  And the trash.

With beaches being mere miles away from my institution, I hate to admit to my parents that some days more of my time is spent on the beaches than in class.  However, the time I spend on the beach, I look for any obvious debris caught in the dunes or that have washed onshore.  Initially the large amounts of solo cups and McDonald’s wrappers astonished and disgusted me.  I had to remind myself that not everyone cares as much as some of us do.  I began picking up pieces of trash as I walked back to my car and quickly noticed that people saw what I was doing.  Many would approach me and commend my actions.  It was one day in particular, I turned around only to see a friend of mine picking up a piece of trash several steps out of our path, and glancing back at me with a smile.  At that moment I realized every person’s actions do matter.

As a member of the SCUBA club on campus, I help organize dives and take suggestions from fellow divers.  Dive Against Debris is a cleanup project organized by Project Aware which began in 1993.  They focus not only on having divers remove any pervasive debris that contaminates the reefs and sandy bottoms below, but they also require information that describes the underwater perspective to the problem and helps document underwater impacts of marine debris.  In February, I was able to participate in my first ever Dive Against Debris, and that led me to reach out to the Rozalia Project in hopes of being a part of their team.

Tires, golf balls, plastic bags and silverware all littered the reefs off the coast of Pompano, FL the day of our dive.  The group of us worked collectively to pick up the junk that had not yet become filled with marine invertebrates.  We piled the junk into our mesh bags which quickly became weighed down.  Not only did the vast amount of garbage fill me with the disgust and desire to never litter into the oceans, but also the amount of work it took to drag the heavy tires up to the surface from 40 feet below, helped me decide that no one should ever have to work this hard to keep our earth clean.

The Rozalia Project advocates that any action a person takes to help the ocean and the environment is important, and after getting the chance to see it and help clean it first hand, I fully supported it and wished to be a part of it.  No matter how big or how small, I want to help spread the idea that every action you partake in, truly does matter.  Let’s make actions as contagious as smiles.