Wednesday, June 4, 2014

For a clean and thriving ocean, save the kelp forests

Last week, we did not make it to our planned destination.
Last week, we had 2 failures for every success.
Last week was a very important week for Rozalia Project, and for me personally.

Because, last week, as we dealt with weather that blocked our plans and we set off to master our equipment in preparation for the real objective, I had a revelation.

Kelp is beautiful

It turns out, I love kelp. Have you seen it outside of the coast of California? I had not, not really. Here in the Gulf of Maine, it's BEAUTIFUL; colorful with purples, yellows and greens and the most incredible motion in the undersea current. Kelp forests are fish nurseries, in fact, for all the time we spent with the ROV in the water last week, the only place we found fish in waters up to 80' was in the kelp forests. Let me repeat, the ONLY place we saw fish was in the kelp forests. We flew the ROV over the top of kelp forests (like helicoptering over the canopy of a rainforest) and we put GoPro cameras down in-between the stalks. In the evenings, we looked up the types of fish we found, learned about the ecosystem around the kelp forests and watched and re-watched the best parts of the videos.

Then, we took our underwater cameras to an area that had been bottom trawled. We do not know the exact date when that had happened but the area was essentially barren. There were a few stalks of kelp growing deep in rocky crevasses and right where the rocks and sand met (and some trash). Otherwise, it looked like a wasteland. We saw 2 fish near the few pieces of kelp that had survived or re-established themselves; only 2 fish.

Deaths that do no good - ban bottom trawling

That led me to my revelation: bottom trawling does not just need to stop in protected areas, it needs to stop, period. We've been doing some research and simply can't come up with a justification for the level of destruction that bottom trawling causes: we do not just lose the plants, we lose a whole ecosystem - the creatures who depend on the kelp to feed and grow, the creatures in the sediment who need the fish to poop, the big creatures who feed on the little ones and beyond that, bottom trawling scoops up fish, dolphins, whales and turtles who were never meant to die and whose death will not do any good.

So, we are going to expand our work. We started Expedition PROTECT to save Cashes Ledge and its kelp forest and ecosystem from a proposal to open 75% of that currently protected area to bottom trawling. And we are still on that. But, we are also going to take on protecting all kelp forests - starting with the ones in the Gulf of Maine. The only way to do that is to completely ban bottom trawling - stop the destruction of the kelp forests and the decimation of whole ecosystems.

Time to pick sides

Personally, this is a bit new. Honestly, no one has ever argued against our work with marine debris. The issue may offer lots of opportunity for discussion on whether education, remediation or research is the best way to spend one's time addressing trash in the ocean, but no one has opposed our fundamental message that marine debris is dangerous and bad for the marine environment. This issue, on the other hand, does have sides. There are people who try to downplay the negative effects of bottom trawling by saying that the technology has come a long way, that these fisheries support families and culture. We will have opponents.

Bring them on. In the case for or against bottom trawling, I am having a hard time finding arguments for it as a fishing technique. We either take the drastic steps necessary to ban bottom trawling and allow our ocean to thrive or we continue to see planet-wide, long-term loss of shocking proportion, all for the short term benefit of a few large companies and 10 minutes on a plate. People have the choice to do the right thing and adapt to a new reality; the ocean may simply not be able to bounce back - unless we take action to preserve our kelp forests!

Let's make a difference now

It starts now, we have an opportunity in the fall to save Cashes Ledge. I hope you will stand with us and support our work with a donation, with your signature, and with your ability to share and spread the word.

For a clean (and thriving) ocean,



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Welcome to Expedition PROTECT

Although cool breezes and grey skies may hint at the contrary, summer is in full swing here on American Promise.  Hector, our ROV has already taken a dip, each intern has gotten a turn at the helm, and our galley is fully stocked with chips.

Expedition Protect is underway!  The inspiration for this expedition comes from the current controversy at Cashes Ledge, an area in the Gulf of Maine that has been under protection since 2002. The Ledge contains the Atlantic seaboard's largest and deepest kelp forest, which serves as a safe haven and nursery for declining ground fish species as well as whales, sea turtles and more.

Come September, NOAA will consider opening the area to bottom trawling.  Such a destructive form of fishing has obviously raised some eyebrows, including those of the interns onboard for this expedition.  Each member of Expedition Protect hails from New England.  We’ve got an environmental chemist, the daughter of a Gloucester fisherman, an environmental engineer, a pre-vet major, and an ocean-cruiser.  Each intern joins us with a different point of view, but since each intern feels a personal connection to the ocean, this expedition is a passionate one. 

Earlier this week, American Promise sailed out to Jeffrey’s Ledge, another MPA in the Gulf of Maine.  Over a delicious lunch of pesto panini (and potato chips, of course), the crew marveled at the grace of minke whales who were also lunching in the area.  Recreational fishing boats buzzed about, whale watching tours wandered up and down the Ledge, and American Promise sailed on, observing the amazing biodiversity and activity within the protected ledge. 

Experiences such as this are the perfect example of why such areas need continued protection from commercial fishing.  Over the next three weeks, American Promise will be working in the Gulf of Maine on Expedition Protect.  To support this expedition, you can make a donation to Rozalia Project, or sign the petition organized by Conservation Law Foundation to keep Cashes Ledge protected. 

Check out our videos so far... Intro video  and video from Jeffrey's Ledge!

For a Protected Ocean,


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: A Vision of Cleaner Ocean

Stephanie Lee, 2014 intern, comes from Los Angeles and studies Marine Biology at the University of California San Diego.

You don’t experience much nature in a big city like Los Angeles. One of the beautiful things about California, however, is that all types of terrain are a car’s ride away from the metropolis. The mountains are my neighbors, the desert is my backyard, and the ocean is a stone's throw away. When you tire of the hustle and bustle of the city, you have many options for getaways. My particular favorite is the beach. Nothing is more relaxing than the push and pull of the waves, the white noise of crashing surfs, and the ocean spray kissing your face. I can stare off into the horizon for hours on end, taking in the beauty and majesty of the Pacific Ocean.  It is the perfect pastime for me, except when the thought of marine organisms dying from the pollution crosses my mind. Instead of letting it bother me every time I step onto a sandy beach, I decided to become more familiar with this subject by expanding my horizons. I was not aware of just how much trash gets dumped into the ocean until I volunteered at the Santa Monica Aquarium. It was saddening and enraging to discover that people can get sick from swimming in the ocean after rain falls in Los Angeles due to the chemicals and debris that wash in from the storm drains. If people are negatively affected by the rubbish that flows from the cities, how would the animals feel? There are so many people helping people already, but who helps the organisms that live beneath the waters? The ocean is their home and it’s getting destroyed as a consequence of human development. I hope to gain the knowledge and experience I need to combat this issue through my internship with Rozalia Project this summer. I have a vision of a cleaner ocean in the near future, and I am determined to reach it. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: Let's be Penguins

2014 Intern, Katherine Sullivan, lives near American Promise's expedition base in Kittery, ME. She is a small business owner and teaches Marine Biology and Scientific Inquiry at York Community College in Maine and is excited to get her hands dirty, sandy and salty to make a difference to our one, big ocean.

What inspires me to act on behalf of the oceans?  Let’s start with this.  Crabs might have six legs, but they don’t have any hands.  They are detritivores, and do the best they can, but they can only handle organic debris.  They need us two handed types to take care of the inorganic debris.  It is the oneness that inspires me; that we and the crabs share a common ancestor, that there is only one ocean, and we all depend on it for continued good health, as organisms, as a planet.

We have given different parts of the world ocean different names, and in doing so have created a false sense of separation between us as humans, and between humans and the animals and plants that live in different parts of this amazing planetary circulatory system.  I’ve included a photo of my friend celebrating the return of the Emperor penguins from the sea as they paced past McMurdo Station this past March.  They were curious about everything they passed, taking the time to look at anything that seemed out of place to them; they sniffed and prodded and looked out of each eye, turning their heads this way and that, picked items up and flung them around.  They looked her right in the eye, out of each one of their eyes.  They moved on when they felt all was as it should be.

It is our responsibility to do the same, to be curious when things seem to be out of place, to look the situation right in the eye and decide what the right way to handle it is.  I love it that I was standing on the shore of the North Atlantic at the same time she was watching penguins make their steady way across the Ross Sea ice shelf.  I love it that the current that moves up the North Atlantic shore originates there in Antarctica.  I tend to think that whatever we can do here in the Gulf of Maine to work towards a clean ocean will certainly have a positive effect on our local finned, furred, feathered and six legged pinching distant cousins.  I believe that it will also sound a subtle positive echo all the way through the sea to Antarctica.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: From Bookworm to Lover of the Outdoors

This intern blog comes from Hannah Tennent who is on the verge of graduating from Bowdoin College with a major in Earth and Oceanographic Science.

As a shy, socially awkward child, I usually wasn’t comfortable unless I had a book nearby. I slept with them as other people slept with stuffed animals and I only mastered tying my shoes after receiving an awesome cardboard shoe-shaped book with laces. My preschool teachers let me take the books outside, which was generally against the rules, because they knew I wouldn’t enjoy recess without them. Thankfully, as I grew taller and older, some of that shyness faded and I no longer needed books with me at all times, learning how to be comfortable without them and around people. 

Therefore, it came as somewhat of a surprise when I learned I was most comfortable and happy outdoors. As a self-identified shy bookworm, I didn’t expect to love lying out under the stars, hiking above the tree line, and stumbling over my laces in the dark of caves. However, I am wildly happy that I do. Having grown up in New Mexico and now residing in Maine, I have been lucky enough to frolic in and enjoy so many different landscapes. In my opinion, nothing will ever beat the golden light of sunset on a desert, but I have learned to love and appreciate Maine’s rocky coastline. Also, Mt. Katahdin showed me not to scoff at peaks just because they aren’t part of the Rocky range.  Just as my parents knew to read to me at night when I was scared, I now know that I want to work outdoors, learning to be a steward of the land that is so important to us, both as an economical and emotional resource. At this point in my life, after four years of college, the Rozalia Project fits my desires perfectly. I can’t wait to use both my body and brain to find fulfilling ways to spend my days. It is so exciting to get the chance to be part of a community that is dedicated to repairing the dysfunctional side of humans’ relationship with the environment.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: A Shift in how we Live our Lives

This intern blog comes from Dana Wilfarht. Dana grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts, graduated from Roger Williams University with a semester with Sea Education Association along the way.

On the water, life becomes simpler. Necessities become the bare essentials, a little bit of comfort and nothing more.  

While on a forty day Pacific Ocean crossing with Sea Education Association, the motto “Ship. Shipmate. Self.” became a serious reality.  It was difficult to understand the relevance of this phrase but once land was out of sight, this seemed to be prevalent each and every minute while at sea and more-so, now, on land as well.  First must come the ship, or the planet, as they are what supports life as we know it.  Next come shipmates because relying on each other is not only more enjoyable but truly necessary.  Finally, it is important that we consider ourselves. 

After studying marine debris on this trip across the Pacific, the magnitude of the problem we are facing bared its ugly face. Very quickly the idea of a simple lifestyle became much more appealing than going back to the consumer driven lifestyle I was familiar with before.  It was humbling to see the world with a different set of eyes. How did our world become so disposable? Single use plastic water bottles are more the norm than refillable. Plastic bags are everywhere and are used as a convenience for a minute or so, but then last in the environment for thousands of years.  Our focus shifted from quality of life to creating conveniences that accommodate our new, fast paced lifestyles.

Though we cannot travel back in time and save the planet from ourselves, what we can do is to research and educate.  I believe that knowledge is the most powerful drive of change.  If people knew the real damage that our single use plastic, styrofoam, etc. is causing, I am hopeful that there would be a big shift in how we live our lives. Chaos to simplicity. Quantity of material goods to quality of life. Appearing happy to true happiness. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: Makai—To the Sea

Today, you'll hear from 2014 intern, Valerie Pietsch. Valerie attends Cornell University studying environmental engineering and just wrapped up a semester in Hawaii!

“Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.” –Henry David Thoreau
My summer memories at Camp Thoreau were some of the most defining experiences of my life. It was here that I learned to love the outdoors and to want to protect nature. As a camper, I learned to sail for the first time at the age of eight, on small Sunfish boats on White’s Pond. I remember an overwhelming feeling of freedom and adventure when being on the water, and spent as much of my free time there as possible. As a counselor, I continued spending my time on White’s Pond, now teaching this skill to young campers. 
Getting to college, I enrolled as an environmental engineering major. Although I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to go with this, I knew that I wanted to protect and restore the environment so that others could connect with it in the same way I was able to. Over the years, it has become more and more apparent that water quality is where my interest lies. I think this passion has stemmed from visiting my family in Colombia. There, tap water must be boiled before use, and bottled water is the main source of drinking water. Having grown up with constant access to clean drinking water, this was mind-blowing to me.

More recently, I was fortunate enough to spend a semester in a field studies program in Waimea, Hawaiʻi. I have been able to travel around the Big Island, as well as Oʻahu, Maui, and Kauaʻi. Connecting to the ‘āina (land) is a huge part of the Hawaiian culture, and my time here has allowed me to understand nature in a much more intimate way. 

In our marine conservation class, I was able to spend class time wading through coral reefs, learning about different types of coral and surveying the health of each reef. We spent time watching whales breech and dolphins spin from shore and on a boat. During our first class out, I spotted something strange at the bottom of the reef. I swam down and pulled it out, and sure enough it was a car floor mat. It was an eye-opening experience for me to see something so dull and familiar in such an incredible and foreign place.

Free diving underwater, I heard a whale song for the first time. It was shocking how close the whale sounded to me, and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was also able to get my scuba certification while in Hawaiʻi. Scuba diving for the first time was a completely surreal experience, like entering a completely different world. Always having loved adventure and exploring new places, I couldn’t wait to get back out there.

I currently am spending my last few weeks in Hawai’i interning with both a local scuba center and an educational outreach group, removing marine debris from and educating others on coral reefs. I have loved the work I have done here so far, and I can’t wait to continue exploring and protecting the ocean as an intern on the Rozalia Project this summer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: 1,806 Pounds of Trash

This intern blog comes from Blake Rupe. Blake may attend school in a landlocked state (Iowa), but she is dedicated to the problem of marine debris and motivated to make a difference not just by joining Rozalia Project's team, but by creating her own app making recycling an experienced shared over social media.

It was 102 in the shade in Veracruz, Mexico.  By noon, the beaches were empty because it was too hot to even swim.  They were almost empty, except for me. 

I was in Veracruz last summer completing a study for my master’s thesis on how much man-made debris was on the beaches.  Every day I would wake up, put on sunscreen, and hit the beaches with trash bags and thick gloves. I walked the same mile of rocky and sandy beaches, bent over, for eight weeks.  By the end of my time in Mexico, I was astonished by how much, and what type, of debris I kept finding.  I collected 1,806 pounds of trash, including 928 pounds of glass and 290 pounds of plastic.  Sadly, over 90% of the materials I collected were recyclable, including glass, polymers, rubber, paper, cardboard, and aluminum.  This was not what I expected to find and I realized that this experience was the reason I began to devote my life to studying the origins of marine debris and how to prevent it.

This is what has driven me to join the Rozalia Project’s mission to protect the ocean through innovation, education, cleanup and research. I hope to bring my cleanup and analysis experience to this project so that we can increase and improve the knowledge of marine debris, while also increasing my own knowledge of collection methods and analysis.  

I am excited to begin working on proven and experimental collection methods and spreading the word about our work.  Using our hands, we will collect materials on shorelines.  Using an unmanned aerial vehicle, we hope to scan hard to reach shorelines and assess the marine debris situation there.  Using a beta version of a garbage calculation app called Re-APP, I hope to improve data collection and aggregation techniques. It will be a beneficial internship for everyone.

Hopefully, using this information, I can return to Mexico in the future and work on decreasing the debris there, so that when people return to the beaches there they don’t find 1,806 pounds of garbage like I did. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: Academics inspiring action

This Rozalia Project blog entry is from Mary Richards. Mary comes from Beverly, MA and goes to school at Middlebury College in Vermont studying Environmental Chemistry.

I grew up two blocks from the ocean in Beverly, Massachusetts, a coastal town north of Boston. Every summer, for as long as I can remember, my extended family and I have visited Provincetown, Massachusetts, the town at the outermost tip of Cape Cod, for a week at the end of August. Growing up and vacationing on the beach had always been a privilege that I took for granted, until I came to Middlebury College, a small liberal arts college located in the landlocked state of Vermont. Before being at college, I had never realized how lucky I am to have had access to the ocean throughout my life thus far. 

At Middlebury College, I have recently begun the environmental part of my environmental chemistry major. With this semester dominated by classes representing various aspects of the environmental science realm, I have read and discussed in great detail the significance of the diverse ecosystems around the world and their vulnerability as a result of human activity. I feel that these mostly theoretical discussions in my courses this past semester have inspired me to want to apply my studies to an experience where I am able to directly observe and study the health of the environment. After spending so much time around the ocean – going on walks, runs, beach trips, sea glass searches, etc. – I found the chance to explore the ocean at a deeper level with the Rozalia Project to be an exciting opportunity. 

Because human well-being is so intricately linked with the health of the ocean, an ecosystem that makes up a huge part of our environment, I look forward to conducting research in regards to the impacts of pollution on marine wildlife, and how these effects relate to the consequences we experience on land. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: Immersed in the Blue Ocean

Today's Rozalia Project intern blog is from Julia Siar from Provincetown, MA. Currently, Julia is studying pre-veterinary at U. Mass Amherst and wants to work with marine mammals.

I was seven when I started sailing. I don’t think I was ever as terrified as that first time I went; it was a beautiful day in the beginning of July and my brother was to take me on my first sail ever. This would be comforting for most people, to have their brother with them, but I was even more terrified because my brother loved to scare the living day lights out of me. He was successful for the most part until our sunfish capsized. As I slipped off the side of the boat I was suddenly elated. That beautiful moment when you hit the water was like a euphoric trip for me. Then every day from then I would purposefully try and capsize. I soon realized that it wasn’t the actual capsizing that I enjoyed but it was being immersed in the blue ocean. So, I went from capsizing every second I could, to just jumping off the boat in water where you can’t touch and just swimming. To then catching all the jellyfish that I could possibly put in the cockpit of my boat. No matter what my mood it made me feel a million times better. I sailed at the West End Racing Club for the majority of my life and throughout every year the water became a closer and closer of an ally to me. I never feel more at home than the moments I can be connected to the ocean. The bay is my friend, as a good friend I am going to go on this journey so that I can protect something that has been so dear to me my entire life. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: The ocean is not just a playmate, nor a source of economic value; she is a partner

Next up in our Rozalia Project intern blog series is Inga Aprans from Gloucester, MA. Inga graduated from Salem State where she received a B.S. in Biology with an Environmental concentration and minor in Chemistry. As the daughter of a lobsterman, she has a unique perspective on the sea.

“If you spend too much time in the water, you’ll turn into a fish”, my father said to me as I horrifically looked at my legs. I was about nine years old and hadn’t yet discovered the benefits of skin moisturizer. Continuous swimming in the ocean coupled with the strong rays of the summer sun had left my skin dry and salty; flaky patches resembling scales had begun to pop up over my sun kissed legs. I was definitely turning into a fish. 

I comforted myself by thinking that we were probably all turning into fish, not just me. My three older brothers spent just as much time in the water. Growing up on the coast in Massachusetts, our summers were idyllically spent sailing, swimming and snorkeling . The ocean was our playground. 

As the years passed, one by one my brothers forfeited their weekend ocean play for work. My father is a lobster fisherman, and  my brothers’ coming of age ceremony consisted of 3 am wake up calls and rolling seas. Slowly, this small change in family life routine extended to a change in my perception of the ocean. I began to make sense of the magnitude of my father’s frustration at the dinner table when his catch was low that day, when draggers ran over his gear, or when due to weather, he didn’t get out at all. The ocean and her resources provided for us. When these issues occurred, they directly affected our livelihood. This solipsistic starting point was what initially propelled me into pursuing a career in fisheries and marine conservation. I wanted to protect what was mine; a healthy ocean meant healthy lobsters meant food on our table and the means to uphold our loving household and lifestyle. 
Once I was old enough to work alongside my father on the boat, I marveled at his familiarity, knowledge, and respect for the ocean. His motions were fluid and strong, and always was he paying attention to the water and adjusting to its will. By returning lobsters that were too big or too small, or those that had spawned or were to spawn, he worked to ensure there would be lobsters for future days and future generations. Through watching him I discovered that

the ocean was not just a playmate, nor was she just a source of economic value; she was a partner.

However, while I attended college the Northeast ground-fishery continued to collapse and I realized that while things seemed conservationally sound within my family, this partnership was not universally honored. As I watched members of my community fight against government figures and question the validity of science, I became determined to find a way to unite all walks of life who hold the ocean close to their heart. Everyone involved ultimately has the same goal: to keep the marine ecosystem healthy. To do that, our partnership must be maintained and improved. 

To me, Rozalia Project epitomizes the unification that I strive for. The combination of scientific research, education, and hands-on work all on a sailboat cultivates the type of community that I hope for.

The concept of “protecting what you love” rings so true to me. I grew up spectacularly, I was loved, well cared for and had the most beautiful playground. The nucleus of all of those experiences, and all those that have come after, is the marine environment. In the career choices I have made, I have tried to reflect my love for this environment and my desire to protect it. Being a part of Rozalia is the next step in my journey, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rozalia Project Intern Blog: Is that dawn? No, it's Los Angeles

It is almost time to board American Promise for our fourth season of cleanup, research and education and we have a spectacular group of interns from all over the country and from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

This post kicks off our series of intern blog posts. It is an opportunity to, not just show off our excellent interns, but also share with you their personal stories of what motivates them to get dirty, sandy, salty and muddy to protect our ocean.

The first is from Emma Hayward who currently attends the Eugene Lang College at the New School for Liberal Arts in NYC and comes from Cape Cod...

During a forty day ocean crossing, you realize how many things you take for granted during your life on land.  Cooking a meal on a flat, stationary stove, for instance, is something people never think twice about while engaging in a terrestrial lifestyle.  Realizing how safe and simple my life on land truly was did not surprise me.  What did surprise me, is what I came to take for granted about the ocean.
Earlier that day, my father had plotting our position on our chart.  We knew we were still a few days off of San Diego, perhaps about a hundred miles out.  He took the first watch that evening, and woke me for mine at eleven.  I was still opening my eyes as I climbed up the companion-way and clipped in my harness.  My father was sitting on deck, eyes straight ahead.

“Do you see that, Emma?” he asked, not taking his eyes off whatever he was looking at.  Up ahead, very far off, was a significant glow on the horizon.  It was light unlike any I had ever seen.  Completely mystified I asked, “is it dawn?”

“No. It’s Los Angeles.” 

This was the first time it hit me that our trip was going to end soon.  For thirty plus days we had enjoyed the ocean largely to ourselves, yet here was a colossal society, just waiting for us at the end.  I was angry.  Who did this city this it was?  Ruining my last few nights of star-gazing with its filthy light pollution.  I suppose beautiful, starry skies were something I had come to take for granted.

Joining Rozalia Project became important to me that night on watch.  I sat there for hours, sailing towards the blaring L.A. lights, wishing I could turn our boat around and sail right back out to sea.  I knew then, that if only people were truly aware of the majesty of the ocean, they would change their ways and do what they could to help it.  By combining research, clean-up, and education, Rozalia Project does its part to help people better understand the environmental issues in our oceans.  I feel very honored to get to work towards this goal with Rozalia Project.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

From Beachside Trash to Holiday Treasure

A vibrantly successful Long Island Sound shoreline cleanup takes an unconventional recycling twist through the efforts of eager Greenport School fourth graders and local artist Cindy Pease Roe 

On the morning of Tuesday, November 19th, forty fourth graders and a handful of brave chaperones leapt off of a Greenport School bus and onto a gusty seashore at Truman’s Beach in Orient, NY. Using Rozalia Project’s marine debris record sheets, the students happily battled the beachside winds as they removed over 600 pieces of unnatural materials from one of their favorite summer spots. A sopping wet pillow and three dead rats in a plastic gallon jug later, the job was far from done. 

This second annual Greenport School beach cleanup was developed by local artist Cindy Pease Roe who has made her mark on the north fork of Long Island through all mediums of her creative genius within her studio that is tucked inside historic Hanff’s Boatyard in Greenport. Most recently, though, Roe has expanded her talent by transforming her personal collection of shoreline plastics into unique art forms. That is where the kids come in. 

When the data-filled clipboards were collected, and the heaping bags of marine debris gathered, the rubbish party reconfigured at Floyd Memorial Library for color sorting. As tables erupted with blue bottle caps, a yellow yo-yo, tarnished green rope and the like, the room buzzed with imaginative angst for what was to come. The students’ field trip continued the next morning when they joined Roe once again to craft holiday wreaths with their discovered, sorted and recorded materials. Afterward, these animated decorations were on display throughout Greenport School, decking the halls but also bringing awareness to a deeper truth. 

Of the nearly 650 pieces of recorded marine debris found, the most frequently occurring material was caps, lids and bottle tops, with 119 pieces recovered. In second was rope, coming in at 77 pieces, and third was plastic bottles, totaling 45. As most of Rozalia Project’s collected data has shown, our shores and waters are battling preventable pollutants. 40 fourth graders on Long Island shared these facts with their schoolmates and community through marine trash art; how will you encourage preventative action? 

This blog post is from 2013 intern, Kaleigh Wilson, a graduate of Roger Williams University. We asked Kaleigh to join Cindy and the Greenport students last fall to represent Rozalia Project and add an element of science and data collection to the excellent pickup and artwork that was already being done. We are grateful to Kaleigh for stepping up to participate and write this great report. In addition, Newsday Magazine published some articles about this event:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Attention ocean scientists: Rozalia Project Fellowships onboard American Promise!

 Rozalia Project Fellowships onboard American Promise operating from Downeast Maine to the Chesapeake Bay

Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean invites scientists, researchers and ocean advocates on the subjects of marine debris, ocean pollution, climate change and more to join us for expeditions in the North Atlantic May-August, 2014.

Rozalia Project conducts its science expeditions from the 60' sailing research vessel American Promise, crewed by licensed mariners, Rozalia Project staff and interns. She is capable of crossing oceans, with a maximum crew of 9 people.

This Fellowship/guest scientist program is designed to share resources, give scientists extremely low cost opportunities to conduct research, access to underwater technology and expertise, and give Rozalia Project interns exposure to high level research scientists and their methods while we all work toward a clean and healthy ocean.

Rozalia Project is making 1-3 spaces available on each of three expeditions (below) for guest scientists through this fellowship program. Guest scientists will complete their own research alongside Rozalia Project's ongoing research and be a part of the daily interaction with our web based followers. American Promise is equipped with 2 ROV's capable down to 1000ft, side scan sonar, imaging sonar, 2 neuston nets, digital microscope, and ponar sediment grab.

The expeditions are followed by over 25,000 children across North America and beyond who will interact with the expedition and its work on a daily basis through web-based and satellite communication. We ask for $150/week food/supplies stipend, otherwise the spot is without charge.

May 19 - June 14
Rozalia Project’s primary objective: Direct action campaign - saving a species critical to our north Atlantic ecosystem, coastal marine debris work
Geographic location: US Atlantic seaboard (Maine - Chesapeake Bay)

2. July 6 - July 20
Rozalia Project’s primary objective: Ocean cleanup and testing Rozalia Project’s solutions to the problem of floating and shoreline trash: low by-catch net and using unmanned aerial vehicles for documentation of shoreline and surface trash
Geographic location: Gulf of Maine

3. July 27 - August 10 
Rozalia Project’s primary objective: Marine debris cleanup on the shoreline, surface and seafloor with a focus on outlying islands off the coast of Maine
Geographic location: Gulf of Maine, Downeast Maine

For more information or to apply: Call Rachael Miller at 802-578-6120 to discuss your research or send the following as soon as possible to
  • A brief overview of your department/organization
  • Details about the work you would complete while aboard American Promise
  • The CV, name and contact information of the person (or people) who would join us

We have had successful partnerships with scientists from the University of Exeter and the Ocean Conservancy and look forward to using American Promise to continue to further our understanding of the problems (and solutions) facing our marine environment.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rozalia Project's 2014 Internship Program: exceptional people wanted!

Scientists, environmentalists, engineers, communicators, changemakers, movers and shakers wanted… 

for a demanding, problem-solving, data-collecting, ocean trash removing, robot operating, action-taking, sailing, educating, inspiring, career-advancing internship.

Join Rozalia Project for one of three 2014 expeditions onboard the 60’ sailing research vessel, American Promise. 

Following are the internships we have available this season. The right people are not just science and environmental studies majors, we consider and welcome people from any background and location. Ability to sail is not a pre-requisite. Being a great team-member, problem solver and someone who understands and is enthusiastic about Rozalia Project’s mission and the internship are prerequisites. Interns will take part in every aspect of the expedition. These internships are unpaid, we ask for a $150/week contribution toward food and supplies. Minimum age 18. Must love dogs (we have 2 Newfoundlands onboard).

1. May 19 - June 14
  • Primary objective: Direct action campaign - saving a species critical to our north Atlantic ecosystem
  • Geographic location: US Atlantic seaboard
  • Topics, skills, activities emphasized during this expedition: fishery science and management, marine ecosystems, communication, neuston tows, data analysis, long distance sailing/passage making

2.  July 6 - July 20
  • Primary objective: Ocean cleanup and testing Rozalia Project’s solutions to the problem of floating and shoreline trash: low by-catch net and using unmanned aerial vehicles for documentation of shoreline and surface trash
  • Geographic location: Gulf of Maine
  • Topics. skills, activities emphasized during this expedition: research and development, problem solving, robotics (aerial), surface tows, data collection and analysis, communication

3. July 27 - August 10 
  • Primary objective: Marine debris cleanup on the shoreline, surface and seafloor with a focus on outlying islands off the coast of Maine
  • Geographic location: Gulf of Maine, Downeast Maine
  • Topics. skills, activities emphasized during this expedition: data collection and analysis, robotics (aerial and subsea), shoreline marine debris cleanup, communication

How to apply: Check out the full announcement then call, email, text, Tweet or send us a video… and tell us the following:
  • Why or how Rozalia Project’s mission and work excites or inspires you
  • Which expedition you would like to join and why
  • Include your resume/cv

If you seem like a good fit (remember, we welcome all backgrounds, fit has more to do with attitude, energy and skills we need), we will contact you for a phone interview. That will be followed by us checking your references (we need 3: a teacher, an employer and a personal reference). Lastly, we will meet over Skype for one last conversation before we make a decision.

We use rolling admissions and will inform you of our decision either during, or soon after, the Skype interview. There are 3-6 internship opportunities per expedition. Spaces will fill up quickly!

Additional information about these internships can be found on then click Interns & Crew under the Join Us tab. To apply: call Rachael at 802-578-6120 (mobile) or email your letter, or a link to your video, to: