About Me

This blog is primarily geared toward staff at the zoos, aquariums, museums (ZAMs), and other conservation education organizations that are part of our growing global network. We aim to provide you with cutting edge, challenging, and creative information, ideas, and tools to become as effective as possible at communicating about and for conservation with your visitors and the public.

See our ongoing communications research, or join our growing network, at The Ocean Project's website.

March 31, 2008

International Youth Coastal Conference - Oct 19-22

Check out the International Youth Coastal Conference that will be held later this year in Townsville, Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (Reef HQ) and Townsville City Council are hosting activities for the youth conference and the conference presents an opportunity for students from around the world to network and discuss coastal protection etc. IOI centres may wish to be represented. IOI centres could promote the conference and see if opportunities exist to support student delegates to attend the conference. Please contact Fred.Nucifora@gbrmpa.gov.au and Adrian.Turnbull@townsville.qld.gov.au for more info on the conference activities.

Townsville will also host the International Pacific Marine Educators Conference which will precede the Youth conference.

March 21, 2008

Pangea Day Comes To You May 10th

What Is Pangea Day?
From the Pangea Day Website:

Pangea Day taps the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future. In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that - to help people see themselves in others - through the power of film.

On May 10, 2008 - Pangea Day - sites in Cairo, Kigali, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai and Rio de Janeiro will be linked live to produce a program of powerful films, visionary speakers, and uplifting music. The program will be broadcast live to the world through the Internet, television, digital cinemas, and mobile phones.

Of course, movies alone can't change the world. But the people who watch them can. So following May 10, 2008, Pangea Day organizers will facilitate community-building activities around the world by connecting inspired viewers with numerous organizations which are already doing groundbreaking work.

Watch the Pangea Day trailer.

March 20, 2008

Granddad turns 75!

Granddad, an Australian lungfish who has lived at Chicago's John G. Shedd Aquarium for 75 years, the longest-living fish in any aquarium in the world.

"He was here when Model Ts were pulling up to the Shedd," said Roger Germann, Shedd's director of public relations. "Granddad bridges so many generation gaps."

At 4 feet long and 25 pounds, Granddad is the color of a faded brown blanket, with charcoal age spots dotting his back. He was named by a Shedd volunteer years ago, and has gone on to become one of the aquarium's most popular residents.

"Hey! See the one with the spots -- he's been here since 1933!" a Shedd visitor shouts to a companion, while dumping half of his popcorn bag on the floor in excitement.

"I love Granddad -- he's so cool," coos a teenaged girl, pressing her nose to the tank.

Read the whole story (with picture) in the on-line Daily Herald.

Lights Out for March 29th Earth Hour

On March 29, cities all over the world will turn off their lights for one hour - Earth Hour - from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. local time. This initiative sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is intended to raise awareness about energy consumption and climate change. The first Earth Hour took place in 2007 in Sydney and for 2008 has been expanded to an international event. Thus far, 25 cities worldwide have signed on.

It's simple and free to join this global movement. Simply register at the Earth Hour (http://www.earthhour.org/) web site, where you'll find information and resources about how you and your institution can participate. Regardless whether or not your city is joining this movement, you can still play a role by encouraging others in your community to get involved.

March 18, 2008

Upcoming Watershed Conferences of Interest

Watershed awareness continues heading towards a vision the National Leadership Forum Report from 1999 suggests visualization can help promote. Upcoming conferences at which to investigate current trends include:

Leave Zero Representing New Wave of Conscious Consumption

Leave Zero, a new on-line retail outlet, was inspired by the spirit of people who strive to make the most of every moment; people who 'give it all' to better themselves and help others; people who do this while respecting the Earth and future generations and have fun doing it!

Leave Zero donates 25% of all profits to organizations that help less fortunate children and restore the environment. Leave Zero has targeted The Ocean Project as one of the organizations that benefits the Earth and future generations.

Mapping North American Environmental Issues

The Commission for Environmental Cooperation works with key mapping agency partners in Canada, Mexico, and the United States to promote understanding of significant continental-scale environmental issues through the North American Environmental Atlas.

Available map layers include renewable energy capacity, priority conservation areas, and other environmental themes. The CEC is also exploring innovative mapping techniques for these map layers, including the industrial pollutant mapping tool recently released for use with Google Earth. Certain printed maps are available by request. For example, a wall map of the major hydrological drainage basins, or watersheds, of North America is now offered. See the CEC Atlas website for more details.

March 13, 2008

2007 U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card Released

The Joint Ocean Commission Initiative released its third annual U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card on February 27, 2008. The report card assesses the nation’s progress in 2007 toward implementing the recommendations of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy and the Pew Oceans Commission, as well as the actions described in the Administration's U.S. Ocean Action Plan. The objective of the U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card is to inform policy makers and the public of the critical challenges facing our oceans, while identifying the many opportunities that are ripe for action. The 2007 U.S. Ocean Policy Report Card concludes that while state and regional initiatives continue to move forward on ocean governance reform, the lack of significant progress at the federal level to commit adequate funding and affect meaningful ocean policy reform hinders national improvement. See the full report card.

March 12, 2008

Public sends mixed signals on energy policy according to new poll

(03/10/2008) Pew Research Center for the People & the Press

At a time of rising energy prices, the public continues to be conflicted in its overall approach toward energy and the environment according to the latest nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Feb. 20-24 among 1,508 adults.

A majority of Americans say that developing new sources of energy, rather than protecting the environment, is the more important priority for the country. However, when asked specifically about energy policy priorities, 55% favor more conservation and regulation of energy, compared with 35% who support expanded energy exploration.

As in recent years, specific policies that address both energy and the environment draw overwhelming support. Nine-in-ten Americans favor requiring better auto fuel efficiency standards, while substantial majorities also support increased federal funding for alternative energy (81%) and mass transportation (72%).

By contrast, there is greater division over other energy policies. A majority (57%) favors increased federal funding on ethanol research, but support has fallen over the past two years (from 67% in February 2006). The public continues to be almost evenly split over the idea of promoting more nuclear power (48% oppose vs. 44% favor). And a majority (53%) opposes giving tax cuts to energy companies to do more oil exploration.

With gas prices already high and expected to increase, the public overwhelmingly rejects boosting gas taxes to encourage carpooling and energy conservation. By greater than three-to-one (75% to 22%), Americans oppose raising gas taxes.

There are continued public divisions over drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Currently, 50% oppose drilling in the Alaska refuge while 42% are in favor. As recently as September of 2005, 50% of Americans favored allowing drilling in ANWR, while 42% were opposed.

Read the full story

March 6, 2008

Ready to Lead?
Next Generation Speak Out

A National Study Produced in Partnership by CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Meyer Foundation and Idealist.org suggests that a skilled, committed, and diverse pool of next generation leaders would like to be nonprofit executive directors in the future. However, the new national survey of nearly 6,000 next generation leaders also finds that there are significant barriers: work-life balance, insufficient life-long earning potential, lack of mentorship and overwhelming fundraising responsibilities which may prevent many younger nonprofit staff from becoming executives.

The survey, Ready to Lead? Next Generation Leaders Speak Out, is the largest national survey to date of emerging nonprofit leaders and was produced by the Meyer Foundation in partnership with CompassPoint Nonprofit Services, The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Idealist.org. According to the Urban Institute, there are currently more than 850,000 registered public charities in the United States. Read more.

Or read the survey report as a PDF document.

March 4, 2008

Massive database of species goes online

From grist.org:

That's Life
An online Encyclopedia of Life that aims to eventually describe every living organism on the planet has unveiled its first detailed pages. Read up on the 24 species that have entries complete with text, pictures, and video, or sift through 30,000 others with preliminary information. Those involved with the encyclopedia, which got its start from a 2003 paper written by famed biologist E.O. Wilson, hope it will help researchers assess climate-change impacts, endangered species, and the spread of invasive species, as well as simply raise awareness of biodiversity. If the project doesn't collapse under its own ambition, like similar endeavors that have gone before, compilers hope the remaining 1.77 million pages will be up by 2017. Of course, the work won't stop then: Scientists estimate that known organisms comprise only one-tenth of actual species on earth.