The Blog Aquatic » book club suggestions http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 14 Aug 2014 17:21:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Appreciation: Writer Jean Craighead George Shared Her Love of Wild Places, Including the Arctic http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/20/appreciation-writer-jean-craighead-george-shared-her-love-of-wild-places-including-the-arctic-2/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/20/appreciation-writer-jean-craighead-george-shared-her-love-of-wild-places-including-the-arctic-2/#comments Mon, 20 Aug 2012 19:20:49 +0000 Catherine Fox http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=2096

Writer Jean Craighead George immersed herself in nature. Photo courtesy of Wendell Minor.

Enthralling descriptive writing that brings wild places and creatures to life is one of the things that moves us to save them. It’s what’s made writers from Thoreau to Rachel Carson to E.O. Wilson so inspiring. As a 12-year-old growing up on a Virginia farm, I found that very inspiration in the writing of Jean Craighead George.

George, who passed away recently at the age of 92, has been called one of America’s greatest nature writers for children.  Her novel “Julie of the Wolves” let me see the Arctic through the eyes of a young girl lost in the frozen landscape who survives by joining a family of wolves.

The image of Julie and her wolf pack often comes to me as I contemplate how we can save the incredible place they called home. Recently, I opened this wondrous book yet again. It had helped spark my early fascination with wild things—and with the Arctic. George forged a connection for me with a place I’ve never been, a connection that has remained vivid for decades.

And I know I’m not alone. Millions of copies of her books have reached readers around the world. This Newberry Award-winning novel is just one of more than a hundred works of fiction and nonfiction George produced over her long life.

I wish I’d had the chance to meet her—but I almost feel I have, after checking out this wonderful website. Be sure to watch the video interview about her love of the Arctic.

Nature is a family affair. Her son Craig George is an expert on the region’s bowhead whales; her daughter Twig George writes children’s books about ocean life.

I hope you’ll revisit a favorite Jean Craighead George book, or discover one for the first time. And perhaps even pass along her gift to the world by putting “Julie of the Wolves” into the hands of a young person in your life.

Please use the comments section below to let others know about a special title that has inspired your love for a wild ocean place.

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/08/20/appreciation-writer-jean-craighead-george-shared-her-love-of-wild-places-including-the-arctic-2/feed/ 3
5 Questions with Photographer Marc Shargel on Wonders of the Sea http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/07/23/5-questions-with-photographer-marc-shargel-on-wonders-of-the-sea/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/07/23/5-questions-with-photographer-marc-shargel-on-wonders-of-the-sea/#comments Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:00:06 +0000 Catherine Fox http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=1202

The long arms of a blood star stretch across purple California hydrocoral. Credit: Marc Shargel.

Page through Marc Shargel’s three-book series “Wonders of the Sea” about California’s coast and you’ll be awed by both the human history and the natural history told through photographs and stories. An award-winning photographer, Shargel learned to scuba dive while studying marine biology at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. He has been diving for more than 30 years, from lush kelp forests to isolated offshore pinnacles, and observed many changes. To celebrate California’s network of marine protected areas, Marc shares some of what he’s seen through his lens.

Catch the interview and more amazing photos after the jump.

1. Which marine plant or animal do you most like to photograph underwater, and why?

All of them! But one subject I photograph over and over is kelp. Even though I have hundreds of pictures of kelp, I’m always inspired to interpret it in new ways.

And there’s always a chance of finding one of the dozens of little critters that live in the kelp forest, like a snail we have here that is unbelievably gaudy – it’s got spiral bands of gold and purple. Frequently, I’ll seek out one of those and see if I can do a better job of lighting or framing it.

2. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve observed in the ocean over the past 34 years?

From black abalone to many kinds of fish, things are disappearing. I did my first scuba dive at the Monterey breakwater in 1978. I saw schools of blue rockfish swimming through the kelp. This is a spot where people can drop fishing hooks right over the dive site, and since my first visit 34 years ago, blue rock fish have become a very rare sight. All the fish there are small ones that haven’t had a chance to grow to full size.

In farther-away places with less boat traffic and less fishing, we still see big schools of small to medium-size blue rockfish. However, the really large ones can only be found in the most inaccessible locations—or in the marine reserve at Point Lobos where they are completely protected. The good news is, reserves work and we’ve added several recently.

3. Can you give an example of what inspires you to actively support marine protected areas?

Photographer Marc Shargel prepares to dive into his work day. Credit: Steven Greenwood

One poster-child species for marine protected areas is the extremely slow-growing yellow-eye rockfish—a strikingly beautiful fish. I was years into my diving career before I caught sight of one. I went out to Point Arena in Mendocino County where this incredible rock comes up from the ocean floor, put on my gear and started down the anchor line. Swimming up the line as if to greet me was my first yellow-eye.

I got to the bottom and it was chock-a-block with them. I’ve never seen a mature one anywhere else. When a suite of marine protected areas along the north central coast went into effect in 2010, that rock and all the life there was protected.

4. Why do marine protected areas around the world draw divers and photographers like you?

We love them, because marine reserves teem with ocean life.  Their robust communities of marine life are more resistant to human impacts and natural disasters. For instance, in the wake of the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, coral reefs inside a marine protected area in Sri Lanka appear to have been more resilient than other areas where damage was much greater.

5. What kinds of experiences can families enjoy along the California coast?

I’ll tell you a story that took place in front of Cannery Row on Monterey Bay several years ago. I took my nephew out on a two-person kayak through the kelp. We had the good fortune to spot a small group of dolphins quite close to shore. He put on a wetsuit and mask, stuck his face in the water, and got an instant appreciation of the incredible density and diversity of the ecosystem.

The highlight came at the end of the day:  A sea otter. These animals were driven to the brink of extinction a hundred years ago and made a comeback. This one came right by and checked us out.  And then it climbed up onto the boat. For a couple of minutes, there were not two of us on the kayak, but three! That day inspired my nephew to spend the better part of his time in college studying marine biology. For me, he represents the generations to come, the people who will inherit the natural world we’re now stewards for.

035W091 041P158 042W034 052W128 134W044 148W077 189P534 204N097 229N031 268N164 349U17 375L21 386U35 387U28 424U11 572U28 592U30 603U26 673U30 730U33 815U17 818U17

Get Involved on the Issues

Interested in learning more?  Subscribe to our RSS feed or give us your email using the simple form below and we’ll make sure you get the latest on ocean wildlife and all the important ways you can fight for a healthy ocean.

 
 
 
 
   
     
   
     Please leave this field empty

 

]]>
http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2012/07/23/5-questions-with-photographer-marc-shargel-on-wonders-of-the-sea/feed/ 0