While it's been months since we last reached out via an email blast, it feels like years considering all that's going on in California and the World at large. We don't need to tell you that it's getting difficult just treading water, let alone promoting green sustainability, but we hope this message finds you all doing the best you can.
ODA is off to a modestly good start in 2011 and we are happy to inform you that we are busier than ever both in the water, on land, and on the internet. Thanks to nice weather and a mechanically sound boat, the Winter of 2011 feels more like Summer and we've been out many weekends and even a few weekdays pulling up nets and traps. In addition to our core diving operations, there's a ton of outreach and education planned in the weeks and months ahead including a wonderful opportunity at Patagonia's store in Santa Monica (more below).
Whereas basic fundraising is no doubt challenging in tough economic times, there is no shortage of wonderful people who continue to help ODA with our wildlife-saving mission. We want to take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful volunteers and donors - you are what keeps ODA going!
If you'd like to skip the rest of this email and go right to our website to explore ODA and help us with some much-needed funds, please visit WWW.OCEANDEFENDERS.ORG and follow the Donation links. We have a lot to cover and we know your reading time is tight, so we'll try to keep it as brief as possible:
FIRST ODA VIDEO REPORT
We're pleased to announce ODA's first VIDEO Status and Field Report hosted by yours truly, Captain Kurt Lieber. In the past, we've written these reports and included pics, but we decided to try something new and highly audio/visual this time. We think it's a great beginning on this format and much easier to enjoy. The You Tube video is only 6-mins long, and you'll see images you won't see anywhere else on the web. You can view it at our website or via this link.
ODA RECEIVES A SCIENTIFIC PERMIT
ODA is honored to have been granted a Scientific Collection Permit from the California Dept. of Fish and Game. Basically, this permit will allow ODA to work compliantly within existing and proposed Marine Protection Areas (MPA's) where fishing is limited or banned by state and federal agencies. With this hard-earned permit in hand and in effort to reflect DF&G's and NOAA's priorities, ODA will be focusing our marine debris mitigation attention to affected habitat sites located within MPA's as they have the best chance of not being re-polluted by commercial fishing operations. ODA extends a hardy Thank You to the California Dept. of Fish & Game for all their consideration and guidance over the years.
ODA is very excited to have been selected Patagonia to participatete in their annual "Voice Your Choice" contest, where every organization is a winner! ODA is one of 3 enviro non-profit groups featured at Patagonia's Flagship store in Santa Monica, CA (2936 Main Street, Santa Monica 90405) through March 31, 2011. We are guaranteed to win a nice cash prize, but if we get the most votes via walk-ins, we could win $2,500! All you need to do is stop by and cast your vote for ODA - no purchase necessary. On March 26/27, ODA willl sport an outreach table at the store manned by ODA super-volunteer Heather Hamza who can tell you what it's like to dive with ODA.
REPLACEMENT PICK-UP TRUCK NEEDED
Due to mechanical problems beyond our healing powers, ODA needs to say farewell to our old, huge pick-up truck which has provided years of invaluable service, especially when we had a boat to trailer (the retired Garibaldi). While the ol' truck was big and strong, we don't need something that big and gas-guzzling, but we do need a small pick-up truck in relatively good health to call our own to help haul away all the dirty nets, lines, and traps we pull from the sea floor. ODA is a registered 501c3 nonprofit and we can provide a great tax deduction in exchange for a working truck. If you have one you need to sell for cash, we may also be interested. For more information, please contact Kurt or ODA's hotline at: 714-875-5881. Tell your friends!
AUTOMATIC MONTHLY DONATION OPTION
As you know, many nonprofits now offer a convenient way for you to make automatic monthly donations. ODA is pleased to get on this bandwagon with our new "Subscription" service via Paypal which processes all our online donations. Of course, you can still donate one-time-only online whenever you feel like giving, but if you're interested in becoming a monthly donor from $10 to $100 per month, this is a great new option. Just visit our website (www.oceandefenders.org) and click on the DONATE link get started with any major credit card or your Paypal account. Thanks in advance for the consideration!
OUTREACH & EDUCATION
In addition to the Patagonia opportunity highlighted above, ODA will be attending a number of conferences and peer events in the coming months. First up is NOAA's 5th Marine Debris Conference in Honolulu starting on March 20 (5imdc.org). This is an important conference for ODA to join as our core mission is basically all about cleaning up what the government universally labels as "Marine Debris", aka man-made stuff that doesn't belong in the ocean. Late May marks the 3rd Blue Vision Summit in Washington DC (bluefront.org), a true grassroots phenom sponsored by Blue Front. We'll be busy year-round visiting dive/social clubs and schools, and working with sister groups on policy and state/federal legislation as it relates to our mission. If you'd like ODA to provide a presentation to your group or establishment, just give us a ring at or 714-875-5881.
While we feel blessed with so many experienced divers and boat operators working with ODA, we would certainly also appreciate some additional onshore assistance with our myriad of administrative to-do's and communications. With the internet in full command, the way people spread word is always changing, and we are doing our best to keep up (ODA's Facebook presence has almost 900 fans!). For starters, we could some help with computer video editing and web design. Of course, we would love help with fundraising via individual and institutional giving and building general awareness. If you'd like to volunteer time or services, please contact Scott Sheckman at or call him at 310-741-7617.
OK, that's about enough for now!! We thank you for taking the time to read the text above and visiting our website at OCEANDEFENDERS.ORG to learn more.
For the Oceans,
Founder and President
OCEAN DEFENDERS ALLIANCE