Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Gulf: Really, What Can I Do?

I haven't bought a six-pack of canned soda in a while, but if I did, I know I'd still feel the same need to cut the plastic holder into pieces. So that no small circle remained. "A turtle's head can get stuck in those!" My sister and I would so smartly repeat to one another during our youth. And at 10, that is environmentally responsible. Now it takes a little more.

The Gulf Oil Spill has luckily not affected our Atlantic beaches. Yet. The Charleston Aquarium is still doing its part though. Its staff has gone down to the slick waters to save the wildlife. They are dealing with the unseen victims—those that, unlike birds, don’t have a noticeable absence until they wash up on the shores with discolored shells, pneumonia and worms.

Shelley Dearhart, an Aquarium biologist and educator, and Dr. Shane Boylan, the staff veterinarian, have been down to the Gulf to track dolphins and save sea turtles. Working alongside the NOAA and the Audubon Nature Institute, Dearhart and Boylan are hoping to give the animals of the Gulf a brighter future.

On a personal level we're all wondering what we can do.

According to JoBeth Edwards, Charleston Aquarium's Assistant Director of Institutional Advancement, Charleston as a community has been very interested in what they can do. "The community has been so wonderful to reach out to us and ask how they can help on a local level with the Gulf Oil Spill situation. Several board members reached out to partners in the community and the concept of 'Save our Seas' came together."

“Save Our Seas” is a charitable event meant to benefit the aquarium’s efforts to help turtles and other marine wildlife in the Gulf and at home. With the help of Awendaw Green, Sewee Outpost, and Palmetto Brewery, on Saturday, July 17th, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., the aquarium will host musical acts the Red Top Ramblers, Henry’s Attic, and will have special appearances from Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish and Doug Jones and Gary Greene from Cravin’ Melon.

The event will be catered by the Cajun inspired Krewe.

Most importantly, Dearhart will be on hand to discuss her work in the Gulf, what she saw and what to expect for the future as a result of the oil spill. Boylan's colleagues will discuss his findings in Louisiana and Mississippi.

All proceeds of the evening will go towards the aquarium's wildlife care, conservation, and rescue programs.

In her blog, Dearhart suggests a simple way to help the environment. "An easy way to help a sea turtle or dolphin from your own home is simply to shop using reusable bags instead of plastic bags." And if I knew plastics were bad at 10, then it's easy enough, right?

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