Monday, February 26, 2018

Friends of the Ocean Gather Under the Sea in Celebration of Clean Ocean Action's 34th Birthday

Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 26, 2018
Contact:          Allison Meyerhoff, Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Clean Ocean Action, 732-872-0111,

Friends of the Ocean Gather Under the Sea in
Celebration of Clean Ocean Action's 34th Birthday

Highlands, NJ - February 26th: Yesterday, February 25th, friends of the ocean, the tall and the small gathered at Bahrs Landing in Highlands NJ for an Under the Sea Family Brunch celebrating Clean Ocean Action's 34th Birthday.  Parents and Grandparents enjoyed mimosas, delicious fare and the smiling faces of children who dressed as sea creatures and created crafts from upcycled materials, got their faces painted by MAST student volunteers and played with live sea creatures at the Jenkinson's Aquarium touch tank.

"Today we brought a lot of local species [Horseshoe Crabs, Sea Urchins, Starfish, and the NJ State Shell - The Knobbed Whelk] which are great for the kids to see up close and alive. We see a lot of animals along the sea shore that are no longer with us. It's great for the children to see how the animals move, relate and survive and to know that the ocean is not just a place to swim and play but that it is also the animals home," said Linelle of Jenkinson's Aquarium.

Children enjoying a special interactive experience with marine life at
COA's Under the Sea Brunch thanks to Jenkinson's Aquarium 

When Willow, a child dressed as a Green Leafy Sea Dragon who plans to attend Clean Ocean Action's Beach Sweeps this Spring was asked why she wants to help support a clean ocean, she responded, "I want to help because if we don't help protect it [the ocean] there may be less and less animals in the ocean."

Willow dressed as a Green Leafy Sea Dragon 

"My granddaughter, Finley, and I attended COA's birthday party today, the Under the Sea Family Brunch at Barhs. Once again they out did themselves! Face painting, crafts for the children, live sea creatures from Jenkinson's Aquarium, a delicious meal, & each child went home w a basket full of goodies! Thank you for creating another wonder memory for Finley & I! Happy 34th Birthday Clean Ocean Action!" said Linda Walker, a long time supporter of Clean Ocean Action.
Marine Debris Upcycled Mosaic Artwork by Stella Ryan 

Children getting their faces painted by MAST student volunteers 

COA's Executive Director Cindy Zipf and Education and Volunteer Coordinator Amanda Wheeler along with Sea turtle puppets from COA's Be the Sea Change program, Louie and Stewie led the crowd in singing Happy Birthday to Clean Ocean Action.

Sea turtle puppets Louie and Stewie in their birthday hats

Children enjoying the craft table at COA's Birthday Party

Upcycled Under the Sea craft table

Thirty-four years ago today, at the historic Peninsula House in Sea Bright, NJ, Clean Ocean Action was launched.  The goal was simple and bold-- to stop the un-stoppable-- ocean dumping.  Many said, the proponents are just too rich and too powerful.  The daunting task of closing the eight dumpsites --two for sewage sludge, acid waste, industrial waste, wood-burning, mud-dump, cellar dirt, toxic waste incineration—was formidable.  But in true “David and Goliath” fashion the spunky new group had grit and a mission.       

Unique in 1984, but seems obvious today, COA was trailblazing by uniting a vast coalition of economic and environmental  interests.   These groups included realty, commercial and recreational fishing, tourism, commerce, boating, surfing, environmental “fish-huggers,” civic, gardening, and community.  Never before had they worked together.  To enable and empower the network was COA’s small staff of avid professionals known as “the lean green ocean pollution fighting machine.” Together, the feisty coalition challenged the largest polluters in the region with campaigns based on sensible environmentally-sound solutions.  It took 15 years, but by 2000 the Jersey Shore was dumpsite free for the first time in 100 years.

Today, so foreign and barbaric is the mere idea that many people ask, “what’s ocean dumping?”  Gone are the eight dumpsites that made the Jersey Shore the “Ocean Dumping Capital of the World.” Cleaner and healthier beaches and water prevail, and marine life and tourism thrive. Indeed, the shore is now a premiere tourism destination bringing in millions of visitors and billions of dollars. Representatives of all  political stripes proudly and vigorously defend the ocean from harm. 

In the years since ending ocean dumping, COA has continued its watchdog role keeping the ocean free of dumpsites and industrialization, successes include blocking seven fossil fuel ports for liquefied natural gas, and offshore drilling proposals.  COA also focuses on land based sources of pollution and with the coalition and thousands of citizens – the small and the tall-- bring programs to life.  COA puts “hands in the sand and feet on the beach” to stem the tide of pollution ranging from the Beach Sweeps, in its 33rd year to Rally for the Navesink, now in its 2nd year.  People make the difference.

Margaret Mead said it best, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”

The ocean is a gift that millions enjoy and depend upon so she has a huge fan club.  Her true blue friends include many of the founding member groups and citizens who are still active today and many new voices have joined the call to action.  Most inspiring is the next generation who are stepping up to challenge our harmful impacts to the ocean including climate change, industrialization, and the plague of plastics.  

Over the last 34 years we’ve have made a big splash and water quality have vastly improved, but there is much work ahead.  The fact is, a clean ocean future is always in the hands of the next generation. Clean Ocean Action looks forward to celebrating its 35th birthday next year with plans for another Under the Sea Family Brunch in 2019! Waves of thanks to Jenkinson's Aquarium and Bahrs Landing for helping put on such a great event!

COA's Under the Sea Family Brunch at Bahrs Landing

"Bahrs Landing exists because of the beautiful Sandy Hook Gateway National Park. People come down to explore on foot, bike or blades. Clean water is essential to our business and it always has been. People come down to fish and enjoy the seafood here at Bahrs. We are here, as partners, to support Clean Ocean Action anyway we can to help protect the ocean," said  Becky Cosgrove of Bahrs Landing.

Each family left with a beach pail filled with eco-friendly goodies

For full album of event photos, visit COA's Facebook.


No comments:

Post a Comment