Restoring Kelp Is For Seniors, Too!
As the lead for LA Waterkeeper on the Kelp Project, one of my duties is to give presentations to all sorts of community groups interested in restoring and monitoring kelp forests. I mostly present to dive shops and clubs as a combined effort of education and volunteer recruitment. We try to present to all stakeholders that are connected to the health of our Los Angeles kelp forests- including the very young or very old. My most recent presentation was with the Palos Verdes Peninsula Seniors, and I really enjoyed it because they were so interested in the work that was happening in their backyard.
The challenge of so many marine restoration programs is that they’re underwater- how do you know what’s happening beneath the waves if you’re not a SCUBA diver? Roughly 40 out of 50 people in the audience were unaware of the Kelp Project, or that it had expanded to include the direct participation of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission, California Science Center, Vantuna Research Group of Occidental College, and commercial sea urchin divers. Public unawareness has been a challenge for the staff and volunteers who work on the Kelp Project in Los Angeles since its inception in 1997. So the more we can talk about kelp, the better. The kelp forest habitat exists at the intersection of pollution, coastal development, and overfishing impacts, making it a good topic for addressing numerous issues that affect our local waters. I am always proud to mention at my presentations that I work for an organization that is directly addressing the various impacts to our iconic kelp forests.
A Waterkeeper organization thrives when the local community is concerned enough to take action, join as a volunteer or staff, and help with the monitoring, protection or restoration effort. Many seniors at the talk mentioned their grandchildren, with a few having grandchildren who want to pursue marine biology. This is a community-based project led with minimal staff and resources. If you can and have some time, please join us on the boat. If you are not a diver, but want to give back to our local reefs, then please become a member of Los Angeles Waterkeeper and donate now. Every little bit helps!
-Brian Meux, Marine Programs Manager