Celebrating World Oceans DayJune 24, 2018
by Lily Bermel, Future Blue Intern
World Oceans Day (WOD) was officially June 8th, but the New England Aquarium held an all-day event on Sunday, June 10 to celebrate! I had the privilege of being there for part of the event to help (wo)man the table, talk with visitors, and explore the other tables at the event.
WOD is a worldwide celebration of the ocean, an event officially recognized by the United Nations since 2008. The purpose of WOD aligns perfectly with the Bow Seat’s vision: focusing on creating engagement and appreciation for our precious shared resource.
Despite the beautiful sunny day and good weather beckoning everyone outside, there were huge lines to get into the Aquarium. The big tent that held the free community event was teeming with children, parents, and teens alike.
At one point, I recognized my sixth grade science teacher walking by! While it was quite a coincidence to see him in the middle of Boston in the summer, the two of us are both science- and ocean-enthusiasts, so it made perfect sense. It was great to reconnect again.
After we briefly caught up, my former teacher mentioned that he was talking about my involvement in our Town Meeting. He was talking to the other sixth grade teacher just that morning and remembering our efforts to bring into law improved environmental regulations. He brought this up to her as he was expressing his desire for the sixth graders to get involved in Town Meeting some positive way.
This was the perfect opportunity to tell him about Bow Seat’s Advocacy Competition! I described Bow Seat’s annual competitions, and how he could make the program an established part of his curriculum for the sixth graders. It would be an ideal way to integrate more environmental science into the curriculum, introduce the notion and importance of advocacy and political participation, and create a fun way for students to have a unique and challenging project of their own. As he walked away, it was clear that we both were grateful for the conversation.
For me, the coolest part of the WOD event was witnessing the interchange between tables: people from other organizations would come up to our table to learn about Bow Seat and they would subsequently share about their own organization and information.
There were almost 20 other tables at the event, including the National Marine Life Center, Massachusetts Environmental Trust, NOAA Marine Fisheries, Boston Coast Guard, Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life, and Boston Solar. It was interesting to see so many organizations out there sharing their work with the public. This showed me that there are a lot of opportunities to get connected and help make change locally.
I loved how this event was reaching straight to the roots, to the young people. In a society that can sometimes seem to have a lot of close-mindedness or ignorance, the solution is to go to those that are receptive and still learning — often young children and teens — and that’s exactly what this event did. The event and activities and information were accessible to/by/from people of all ages; organizations like Bow Seat particularly target younger people. It was wonderful to see a community of ocean enthusiasts reaching out to the public, and to witness the excitement of all the attendees there.
Here’s to the next wave of ocean leaders!