5 Fun Tips on How to Get Involved In Ocean Conservation

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Marine conservation is a rapidly growing field aimed at tackling problems like our declining reef systems, and you don’t have to be a scientist to help! You may be wondering how to get involved in ocean conservation efforts, and lucky for you we’ve compiled 5 fun ways to get started below! 

Threats to Our Oceans

To better understand why you should get involved with ocean conservation, ​ let's first look at the top threats to our oceans.

Human activities are threatening the health of the world’s oceans. From coral bleaching, to a sea level rise, entire marine ecosystems are rapidly changing. 

Global warming is causing our ocean’s chemistry and many oceanic processes to alter, and it’s threatening many species of marine, coastal and terrestrial animals who cannot cope with the rising temperatures.

Overfishing

Fishing is one of the most significant drivers of declines in ocean wildlife populations, because vessels are catching more fish faster than stocks can replenish. They’re also damaging ecosystems through bycatch. 

Coastal Pollution​

80% of pollution in our marine environment comes from the land, most often as a source of runoff. Many marine species are entangled, and even die in the debris.

Habitat Destruction​

Habitat loss is in large part due to human activities such as agriculture, oil and gas exploration, commercial development, and water diversion. Entire species are lost because of this destruction.

Climate Change

Our oceans absorb carbon dioxide, and in abundance the water becomes more acidic- which is increasingly dangerous in maintaining the delicate balance needed for marine animals. 

Acidification

Our continued burning of fossil fuels in elevating the levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Because of this, the oceans are becoming more acidic, harming marine life worldwide. 

a woman picking up trash on the beach

You Can Get Involved In Ocean Conservation

Here are some of the best ways you can volunteer in marine conservation, even with limited experience. 

1. Education & Outreach

Education is arguably the most important tool in conservation efforts today. The spread of information is crucial to eliminate the threats that marine life faces. Even the simplest appreciation of marine beauty can change someone’s perspective and cause a positive impact on our oceans.

Healthier marine ecosystems mean a healthier planet, and a more sustainable future. Marine conservation efforts worldwide rely on volunteer initiatives for projects on the grounds, and in the seas. 

​Get Involved:

  • Participate alongside conservationists

  • Implement sustainable behaviors in your everyday life and workplace

  • Join a clean-up beach crew 

  • Volunteer with non-profit, educational science centers or educational facilities

  • Advocate using your voice, your vote and your power as a consumer

Organization to Volunteer With:

National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is a non-profit organization directly supporting programs and projects at individual, national marine sanctuaries. Their foundation centers around science and conservation, connecting people and their communities to these sanctuaries. This organization is helping to create the next generation of ocean protectors through in and out of school educational programs. 

endangered manatee

2. Wildlife Monitoring

Wildlife monitoring is essential for keeping track of animals, especially critically endangered marine animals. Often most effectively monitored through the dedicated work of volunteers all over the world, valuable information these conservation volunteers collect is vital to the sustainability of the species. 

How is marine wildlife monitored? Many marine animals have identities unique to each individual, much like a fingerprint. The patter of the spots on a manta ray, for example, is entirely unique and distinctive to that particular animal. 

Get Involved:

  • Track, monitor and document local wildlife 

  • Learn about local endangered (and non-endangered) species

  • Using camera traps for ecological studies

  • Establish multimedia databases for data collection

  • Volunteer with animal conservation agencies

Organization to Volunteer With:

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization whose mission is to end the destruction of habitats and the slaughter or wildlife in the world’s oceans. 

Sea Shepherd’s innovative and direct approach conserves and protects ecosystems and species of the seas. This organization confronts illegal activities, and fights for the marine animals and their habitat. 

baby sea turtle

3. Sea Turtle Conservation

For more than 100 million years sea turtles have covered great distances worldwide, filling a vital role in the balance of maintaining our marine habitats. They are ancient marine species alive and well today, even though only about 1 in every 1,000 baby turtles will survive to adulthood. 

This number is threatened even more with the destruction caused by human activity, like pollution, habitat destruction and black market trading. Because of this, organizations are passionately working towards a healthy environment, critical for sea turtles to have a future. 

Today, 7 different species of sea (or marine) turtles grace our seas, and we can work harder to protect our turtles and our oceans, and prevent tipping the scales against the survival of these ancient beings any further. 

Get Involved:

  • Commit to helping the recovery of the species, and stopping the decline of sea turtles

  • Patrol beaches

  • Manage and maintain eggs and nests with local organizations

  • Help release sea turtle hatchlings into the ocean with local organizations

  • Record data

  • Help rehabilitate injured turtles at medical facilities

Organization to Volunteer With:

Project AWARE is an organization which connects ocean adventurers with marine conservation. They take action to create both local and global change for the ocean, it’s inhabitants and the communities who depend on it. 

Project AWARE developed their initiatives, Clean Ocean and Healthy Ocean programs, to support the local community and advancing policies on plastic debris and shark and ray conservation. 

coral reef

4. Fostering Coral Nurseries

Corals are animals, and have the ability to regrow from broken pieces known as fragments. They are essential in providing habitat to many marine species, and to protect the coastline from damaging wave effects. Some corals fragment naturally to increase their genes and diversity in the area. 

Other coral fragments are caused by irresponsible human activity, like kicking the reefs while swimming, dropping anchors and more. While some fragments from human interference will settle and continue to grow, others will end up covered by debris and die. 

Coral nurseries are artificial structures beneath the ocean's surface which help these coral fragments regenerate. To elevate the reefs out of the sand where they can reach the sunlight, conservationists collect broken coral and attach them to the nursery. With ready access to sunlight and passing food, and not having to compete for space on the reef, these corals at the nurseries thrive and create whole new ecosystems! 

Get Involved:

  • Get trained in artificial reef building, then get started! 

  • Create community managed marine protected areas

  • Participate actively in education 

  • Influence change locally using your vote, your voice and your power as a consumer

Organization to Volunteer With:

Global Coral Reef Alliance is a worldwide coalition of volunteer scientists, divers, environmentalists and other individuals and organizations, committed to protecting the reefs. This organization focuses on coral reef restoration, and collecting research on the impacts of coral bleaching, global warming, marine diseases, global sea level rise, and pollution on corals. 

The Global Coral Reef Alliance scientists work with groups in the community, environmental organizations, government firms and more to restore and maintain our ocean’s coral reefs, nurseries and sanctuaries.

man testing water quality

5. Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring programs are the foundation of any marine conservation initiative. Without the environment these marine species live in, the species no longer exist- so we must work diligently to protect the entire ecosystem. 

These monitoring programs use the process of collecting, sampling and analyzing specific environmental media, such as water, soil or plants. The research is used to look for evidence of contamination levels over a period of time amongst other factors.

Environmental monitoring is used to assess the condition of a habitat, and can be used to help the environment thrive. 

Get Involved:

  • Fieldwork taking samples of media (water, soil, plants)

  • Lab Work testing and analyzing samples

  • Data and research recording

  • Advocate for your watershed and educate others around you

Organization to Volunteer With:

The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental conservation non-profit organization working to conserve the land and water on which all life depends. The focus is the diversity of life, and this organization is committed to creating a world where people and nature thrive together.From land acquisition to cutting-edge research which influences global policy, The Nature Conservancy is an organization on a mission to challenge the world’s most important issues.

F​inal Thoughts

Volunteers are called on globally to help spread the marine conservation passion to the community and beyond. Through education and local outreach to getting hands-on maintaining marine ecosystems, every positive impact you make means a more sustainable planet overall. 

The marine conservation community is at a rapid rise in relying on the support of passionate volunteers worldwide. While some projects are available directly alongside scientists, some can even be done from the comfort of your home recording data or organizations fundraisers. 

You can even make your mark by implementing sustainable behaviors in your everyday life, and by getting involved to create a positive impact on the world’s oceans. 

Are you involved with marine conservation efforts in your area? We love fellow sea lovers and would love to hear about it in the comments below! 

You may be wondering how to get involved in ocean conservation efforts, and to help you out we’ve compiled 5 FUN ways to get started!

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