by Founder and President Kurt Lieber

ODA Kids CrewAs the New Year begins and we all start to act on our resolutions, ODA is doing the same-and has started expanding our volunteer base by enlisting some enthusiastic young people from Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.  

It has been a dream of mine to somehow, someway, get young hearts and minds involved with ODA, not only to help with the manual labor of physically removing the man-made debris (although let's be honest, they have WAY more energy!), but also with the educational aspects of what we are all about: informing the public of the damage that this junk-our junk-creates within marine ecosystems.

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

video of Defenders of the DeepIn June, I was at a film screening of videos that had been submitted for the Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award.  The film that won was one that Walter Marti had submitted about Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA)!

After all the videos were shown, I had a chance to give a short talk about what ODA is all about, and where we could use help.  One of the things I mentioned was my desire to get more young people inspired about the oceans.  A teacher from the film school at the University of Southern California "Wendy" talked with me afterwards.  She wanted to know if I would be interested in having some of her students create a short documentary that would focus on getting a good message out to the younger generation.  You don't have to ask me that one twice, Wendy!

 By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

news 2013-1216-TimnbackofshirtApril 22nd marks the 54th anniversary of Earth Day.  While most countries will celebrate this day with lots of green festivities, I want to talk about some of the exceptional things that people involved with Ocean Defender's Alliance (ODA) do on a regular basis.  I don't mean what ODA the organization has done; I update you on that all the time!  Rather, on this special day I want to share stories about some of ODA's proactive volunteers.

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

Ocean Defenders volunteer Dive & Onshore cleanup crewHere it is, the middle of summer and we rallied over 25 people to come out and help us with our fourth harbor cleanup!

The day started out with strange weather: It was humid, and it actually sprinkled a little rain on us.  The cloud cover helped to keep the temperature down, which was a welcome relief.

During our previous three campaigns to remove debris from the Channel Islands Harbor, we have removed an average of about 1,300 pounds of man-made junk.  Would we find that much stuff again?  Read on to find out more….

ODA shares at school

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

On March 21st, I had the honor of giving a talk to about 140 kids at Hollywood Beach School.  This school is about a mile from where ODA's vessel the Clearwater is currently docked, and some of the students had helped out with our Channel Islands Harbor cleanup a few weeks ago.  I had a great time, and the kids fired questions at me until the bell rang!  Thanks to Shawn Kelly and Steve Upham for making it possible for me speak there.

Kurt Lieber and teacher Tim Pearson celebrate the ocean conservation education of the kids!ODA shares at school

By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

On March 3rd, I gave a one-hour presentation to the students at Marymount School, in Santa Barbara.  ODA volunteer Tim Pearson has been teaching science and ocean-related classes there for a long time. Tim facilitated this opportunity for ODA to give a presentation informing the kids about some of the not-so-nice things that are happening to our oceans. 

ODA Dock Crew Brain Borgatello and Bennett Burnes with octopusWe were as happy as these two fantastic young volunteers when we successfully cleaned another portion of the Channel Islands Harbor!

Teamwork, fun, and sunshine were the perfect ingredients for our day of hard work dedicated to cleaning the ocean of all kinds of man-made debris.

On Saturday, May 17th, we organized our third cleanup effort to remove debris from underneath the boat slips in the harbor where the commercial fishing boats reside.  We've had great successes in the past and this day was no different.

By Kurt Lieber, founder and president of Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA)

ODA had a booth at the annual Long Beach Scuba Show, which is the largest gathering of scuba enthusiasts in California. We have been attendees for the last 8 years, only missing once during that stretch. Though we always have lots of people visit our booth, this year was exceptional.

This year Scott Cassel, commercial diver and explorer-film maker, was a featured speaker at several of the symposiums that are held in conference rooms just outside the main hall. Scott had a large booth given to him as a reward for his participation.

Scott and I have been friends for several years now, and when we were having lunch recently, I told him about how most people that attend the show don’t even know about the nonprofit booths, since they are not in the main entry way to the exhibits, and as a result, the majority of attendees don’t even stop by the booths.

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