Letters to the Editor for Oct 04, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Whales Need Money, Too
It seems that the is not aware of educational efforts regarding the oceans going on in their neighborhood, indeed advertised in their publication. [“The Next, Local $500 Million, Sept. 27-Oct. 3] proclaimed, “We need some real public education so we will stop making the ocean our dumping grounds. Forget Save the Whales. We need Save the Oceans.”
This June marked the 30th anniversary of Save The Whales. I am its co-founder, a marine biologist and educator, and I have resided in Seaside for the past 10 years where I head this international organization that my mother and I started. Save The Whales’ main focus is to educate children and adults about marine mammals, their environment and their preservation.
Our educational program, Whales on Wheels (WOWTM), has been seen and heard by over 275,000 children, including states on both coasts, the Midwest and Alaska. This innovative hands-on presentation brings whalebones, dolphin skulls, baleen, visual aides, whale vocalizations and hands-on activities to the classroom, along with environmental and recycling messages. WOWTM travels to classrooms in Monterey and Santa Cruz counties. Recently, Tom Kieckhefer, a marine biologist and educator, joined the staff and, in addition to WOWTM programs, Tom gives otter programs as he has spent years doing otter research.
Save The Whales is beginning its fourth year of an after-school water-monitoring program in East Salinas for disadvantaged elementary students. Students learn how to measure the following parameters: air and water temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen and transparency of local creeks. They collect trash every time they go to the creek to reinforce that everything off the streets will end up in storm drains, which flow to creeks and the ocean.
Last May, Save The Whales sponsored the Monterey County volunteer training, lab and report analyses of the water monitoring for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s Snapshot Day and First Flush event. We continue to work closely with Monterey Peninsula cities on urban runoff education and outreach, and partner with several organizations to accomplish this.
Save The Whales is completing a CD of songs written by a Carmel Valley resident, Joan Cobb Hopkins, in order to bring global awareness to protecting the oceans and saving the whales for future generations.
I was honored to recently be chosen by the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG) as the recipient of this year’s Sanctuary Reflections Award in the education category. The annual awards recognize scientists, local officials, educators, citizens and conservation groups for their past efforts to preserve the Monterey Bay as a national marine sanctuary and for their continued involvement in the conservation and preservation of the sanctuary.
Saving the whales depends on saving the oceans. Marine mammals face obstacles because of overfishing, pollution and global warming. Gray whales are skinny and scavaging for food they wouldn’t normally eat; right whales off of Argentina are having fewer calves and miscarriages because of their diminished food sources; polar bears are unable to hunt because of the melting ice. Saving these animals – in fact, all of the planet – is dependent on saving the oceans. The statement published in your paper diminishes the work of not only Save The Whales, but all the organizations who work tirelessly to protect the oceans. Before your writer can discuss education, some is required. He or she should attend one of our WOW(TM) presentations and then follow up with a fact-based article. —Maris Sidenstecker | Seaside
New Trillion: Better Than The Old Trillion
A resounding bravo to your paper for printing this thought-provoking article by Woody Tasch [“The Next Trillion,” Sept. 27-Oct. 3]. I think this article deserves to be printed in every paper in this country.
The bill continues to increase for the war in Iraq with no end in sight. There has to be a way out. We are capable of protecting our country, addressing our domestic needs and helping other countries in need if we shift our focus.
We must stop thinking that war is the only answer. It is not. We need the will and the courage to change course. We can do it. —Barbara Baldock | Monterey