Each year, June 8th is designated as World Oceans Day. The overall theme for this year is “Our Oceans, Our Future.” This year’s conservation action focus is “encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future.” The UF/IFAS Extension Flagler County office will celebrate World Oceans Day with an event from 1-7 pm on June 8th at 150 Sawgrass Road, Bunnell, FL 32110.
Have you ever said, “I wish I could be a marine biologist?” The World Oceans Day event will give you a taste of what that might be like. Organized by our UF/IFAS Extension Sea Grant agent (who has a PhD in marine biology), the event will have hands-on activities for all ages, including a microscope station where you can view live plankton and/or microplastics that have been found in local waters.
There will be displays and presentations in the auditorium throughout the afternoon. Participants are encouraged to bring their beach treasures to be identified (and check out some of our Sea Grant agent’s finds). The Whitney Lab’s Traveling Zoo will be there from 1-3 pm, and there will be a presentation by the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab at 5 pm. The St. Johns River Water Management District will have a display focusing on water conservation and stormwater protection. Other displays will focus on microplastics (including data from the Florida Microplastic Awareness Project) and plastic recycling. Manatee bones, items from deep sea hydrothermal vents, right whales and sea turtles will also be featured in exhibits. To conclude the event, the award-winning film, Sonic Sea, will be shown from 6-7 pm.
During the afternoon, we will be streaming various short videos about marine debris, deep sea organisms, plankton and seafood. The event is free, although a $5 donation is suggested to help cover the cost of Sonic Sea. Sonic Sea is a 60 -minute documentary about the impact of industrial and military noise on whales and other marine life. It tells the story of Ken Balcomb, a former US Navy officer who solved a tragic mystery involving a mass stranding of whales in the Bahamas—and changed forever the way we understand our impact on the ocean.
In the darkness of the sea, whales depend on sound to mate, find food, migrate, raise their young and defend against predators. But over the last century, human activity has transformed the ocean’s delicate acoustic habitat, challenging the ability of whales and other marine life to prosper, and ultimately to survive. Sonic Sea offers solutions and hope for a quieter ocean, and underscores that the ocean’s destiny is inextricably bound with our own.
Sonic Sea is narrated by Rachel McAdams and features the musician, human rights and environmental activist, Sting, in addition to the renowned ocean experts Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Paul Spong, Dr. Christopher Clark and Jean-Michel Cousteau. The film was produced by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Imaginary Forces in association with the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Diamond Docs.