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.  

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