By Nina Wu
Congrats to Damien "Nakoa," Farrant, a Haleiwa resident and senior at Kamehameha Schools who was one of 15 U.S. students to participate in the 2013 Ocean for Life program at NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary this summer.
NOAA selected Nakoa, 17, to participate based on his submission of a series of essays on ocean conservation and cultural understanding. NOAA was also impressed with his research project on the effects of ocean acidification on the growth of a marine bacterium at the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair earlier this year.
Ocean for Life, a partnership between NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, The GLOBE and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is an educational field study program enhancing cultural understanding among high school students through ocean science.
The students learned about a wide range of topics at Channel Islands — climate change, ocean acidification, kelp forest ecosystems, marine life of the Santa Barbara Channel and the different cultures and backgrounds of their fellow participants. Their experiences were documents with photos and video. And they got to meat with Jean-Michel Cousteau of Ocean Futures Society.
"Ocean for Life taught me many lessons and truly changed my life," said Farrant. "The ocean connects the world and the actions taken by humanity continuously influence the health of the ocean. By finding interconnectedness with people from around the world, we can make significant change through simple actions like recycling. I plan to start by raising awareness and getting people to take action in my home community on the island of Oahu."
There you have it — a simple action in everyday life: recycling.
Ocean for Life more specifically brings 15 Middle Eastern and 15 Northern American high school students together to study marine science. Its premise is simple: "We are all connected by the oean and by studying the ocean, we can learn about improving stewardship of the planet and our ourselves: one world, one ocean."
The program was born in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy. Three Washington DC public school students, their three teachers and two National Geographic Society staff who were on the way to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary were victims of the tragedy that day. They were on American Airlines, Flight 77.
Watch this video to learn more about that story.
To see the 2013 Youth Media Projects created by the students at Ocean for Life, go to www.oceanforlife.org/page/ofl-projects.