In early high school, I had the opportunity to complete a short Outward Bound canoe course in the Florida Everglades. For a week, I paddled until my arms hurt, learned how to tie boats together to create a sleeping platform, and yearned for dry socks. In between outdoor discomforts, however, certain things began to burn into my mind: the calm saltiness of the mangroves, the curve of pelican bellies, an achingly pink sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. Needless to say, when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened, I thought of the Everglades.
Though the oil spill damage is unprecedented, there are many organizations working to mitigate it, and we’re happy to announce that NativeEnergy is sponsoring one of them. Oceana, founded in 2001, is the largest international organization focused solely on ocean conservation. Their oil spill initiatives are numerous, as are their worldwide projects, but only one is named after that elusive but famous character: Waldo.
This Waldo is a six-and-a-half-foot-long autonomous underwater vehicle resembling a yellow torpedo. Thanks to the funding from both Oceana and NRDC, the robot patrolled the waters north and northwest of the Florida Keys in July—equipped with sensors that detect oil and the chemicals used to disperse it. If Waldo encountered oil, researchers planned to conduct water sampling tests and inform local governments so that emergency resources could be activated to protect the area’s ecological resources.
In recognition of Waldo and Oceana’s important work, we are excited to announce that we offset Oceana’s 3rd annual SeaChange Summer Party. The SeaChange Summer Party is considered an Orange County “must attend” event. This year, it took place on September 10th at Villa di Sogni, a private coastal home in Laguna Beach. Featured guests included Keely and Pierce Brosnan and Jeff Bridges. Now in its third year, SeaChange has raised nearly $2 million for Oceana’s programs.
We are proud to support their crucial work on the Florida coastline and beyond.