Ocean conservation education at work, and reef safe sunscreen options!

In the Visitor’s Center at Moody Gardens, as guests pass through from place to place, they encounter this new temporary exhibit. It’s an interactive presentation about the state of the world’s reefs and how we can help. Here’s some tips offered on the outside, so even if they don’t want to check out the presentation, guests may pick up some tips. Did you know Moody uses recycled water for its irrigation? And doesn’t give out plastic lids or straws with beverages. I learned that today!

One thing missing was reef safe sunscreen. So I’m going to share my favorite, easy-to-find options in this post!

Remember that article I shared about the reef rescue project at Moody Gardens? Well, I didn’t realize how may different coral species were involved, and how well guests can see them in the rescue lab! So cool!

Speaking of ocean species…

Did you know climate change affects these cuties too?

Ice floes and solid ice formation in the Antarctic are crucial to a bunch of penguin species!

Penguins need safe and solid land to stay away from their large ocean-dwelling predators (like sharks, whales, and seals). They also need that space for breeding, keeping their chicks protected until their waterproof feathers come in, and to stay dry when molting.

Increased global temperatures melts ice, reducing haul out space, and can drastically change the crucial food sources in the waters nearby that penguins and other animals need to survive! Who doesn’t love penguins???

So, I’ll leave you with another product idea to help the planet and your body.

Sunscreen/sunblock made from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are considered “reef safe” as they aren’t harsh chemicals that disrupt corals. They are also safer for your skin!

And guess what! You can find it at your local Target in a reusable TIN, instead of plastic. That means you’re doing a double good deed for the ocean. You go, Glen Coco!

P.S.- When empty, use the tin to store hair ties, bobby pins, or jewelry on the go. That’s what I do πŸ™‚

*Discount code for eco-friendly products!*

A great zero-waste small business created by a former zookeeper is supporting my plastics pollution research journey! 
Code “Exxpedition” for 10% off. That’s 2 X’s on purpose.

Check out A Drop In The Ocean, fresh out of Tacoma, WA: https://adropintheoceanshop.com

Need some alternatives to plastic in your home? Check out some of my favorite swaps- shampoo bars, bar soap, safety razors, & reusable straws!

The shop: A Drop in the Ocean. They sell bamboo toothbrushes, shampoo bars, laundry detergent, straws, refillable liquid shampoo, and more. The code “Exxpedition” sends your 10% off into our research and clean-up mission fund. 

The cause: In case you haven’t heard enough about it by now… Exxpedition is an all-women’s sailing mission that will collect ocean plastics on a 2-year, round-the-world trip. We will conduct research on the origin and make-up of the trash and community outreach at each port. This is the same organization that discovered and let the ban on microbeads! Now you know why it’s spelled with 2 X’s (as in chromosomes πŸ˜‰ ) 

Coral Reef preservation at Moody Gardens, my sponsor organization!

Photo credit: JW Porter/University of Georgia via NPR.org

The main sponsor of my Exxpedition journey, Moody Gardens, has really amped up their conservation efforts in the last few years and I am very proud to join their staff once again. One of my friends who is an aquarist there, Ryan Hannum, has a soft spot for corals. Not just soft corals either. All types (see what I did there?) He has created partnerships with local hobby aquarists to propagate more coral species. So cool! In addition to that program, Moody Gardens has been housing precious corals from Florida’s reefs

“About 100 Florida coral colonies are now living in a display tank at Moody Gardens aquarium in Galveston, Texas, one of a dozen new homes for the invertebrate animal colonies.”

“Recently, we have been suffering from a really bad outbreak of coral disease,” said Andrew Baker, associate professor of marine biology and fisheries at the Rosenstiel School.

“Until we understand the disease and find a cure, we’re trying to protect the genetic diversity of the corals by rescuing them and growing them in captivity. Someday, we may be able to repopulate the reef with those corals.”

The school has retrieved over 700 coral colonies, including 400 in July that were chiseled off the reef around the Dry Tortugas. The corals rescued earlier spawned in late August in tanks in Miami, which Baker said was a welcome sign that scientists were proceeding correctly. The school collects fertilized eggs after spawning and attempts to grow new colonies.

The first few hundred coral samples were sent to a network of care providers at public zoos and aquariums, who will look after them for the foreseeable future.

For the full article: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2019/09/13/US-aquariums-try-to-save-Florida-corals-as-disease-spreads/9961568210880/?spt=su&or=btn_tw&fbclid=IwAR2XzS_-uXI4gQ8TEB4XkMqGm7ubce7M0_UWGW5nUaA5kdLl9IRX40rQheU

Exxpedition: The all-women voyage exploring the impact of plastics and toxics in our ocean

β€œIn the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand and we will understand only what we are taught.”

β€” Baba Dioum
Photo credit: (c) eXXpedition / Jen Russell – North Pacific 2018 Hawaii to Vancouver


If you’re still wondering what this “adventure” is all about, take a minute and visit the project website here: https://exxpedition.com

Two things I never thought I would do: design a website on my own or sail to The Galapagos collecting ocean plastics. But here I am. And I am so excited! On January 28th, 2020 in Panama City, I will board a 70-ft research ketch [ https://exxpedition.com/about/the-boat/ ]with 7 other women who were selected to round out this all-women crew of scientists, doctors, engineers, educators, and artists. We will be led by a few sailing and research experts (also women) on a 10 day sailing trip to San Cristobal, Galapagos. While at sea, we will use a manta trawl to collect ocean plastics and have a lab station on board to analyze its components. The crew will also be having round table discussions on the findings, brainstorming ideas, and sharing our knowledge to form a unified approach to solutions. At our starting and ending ports, we will collaborate with other experts and members of the local community to address their concerns and help develop solutions. There are 30 legs total, spanning around the world in 2 years. The organization interviewed many, and then hand-picked 300 women from a huge pool of applicants. I still can’t believe I made the cut! The outreach will be ongoing following each crew member’s journey. Coming from so many different corners of the globe, as well as different professions, our reach will be far and wide. I can’t wait to be a part of this incredible mission!