March 12, 2019

Diving Belize.

When asked about the future of our ocean, many people may take a grim and often pessimistic stance after considering modern day news and statistics – none of those people are ever found in the TIDES program. Roughly one month after our trip to Belize with a group of educators, scientists, filmmakers, and middle school students, it’s hard to feel anything but optimism. The amount of grit and determination demonstrated by kids and adults alike goes to show that nothing is lost.

We’ve often relied on “the next generation” to solve our problems, but when the next generation is grown and looking towards students once again to fix multiple crises, it’s time we start fighting our battles collectively. TIDES teaches interdisciplinary and experiential sciences to anyone susceptible to inspiration; what these kids learn on transformative adventures, like our recent excursion, initiates far-reaching ripples.

For one week, these ten students demonstrated all of the knowledge, skills, tools, and nerves they had been working on for the past semester into hands-on work in the field. They monitored coral, used laser photogrammetry to measure animals, and participated in plankton tows while achieving a number of other scuba diving certifications. The whole Belize gangA jam-packed schedule, they were constantly absorbing new information from their peers, mentors, and the ocean itself; never once was there a discussion about a lack of hope. Data was turned into fact, observations were turned into hypotheses, and ideas continued to formulate as we challenged them to seek answers to the threats that face the sea.

Their ambition and passion were contagious and it wasn’t long before the entire boat crew was just as giddy and excited to explore, conserve, and learn about our precious ocean. This is ultimately what the TIDES program is about - to inspire, educate, and empower anyone willing to learn. Since our return, I’ve received emails about actions students have taken, I’ve heard from parents about what their kids have taught them, and I myself have inspired people with information I learned while in Belize.

It takes surprisingly little to cultivate curiosity in children, and surprisingly less to stimulate action among them and all those they inspire – with knowledge, experience, and mentorship so easily at our fingertips, it’s nothing but ocean optimism as far as the TIDE can see!

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