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Philippe Cousteau, Jr. To Lead EarthEcho Expedition in America’s Pacific Northwest

Expedition Focus on Youth and Native American Communities

Washington, D.C., November 4, 2015 -- Philippe Cousteau’s environmental education and youth leadership nonprofit EarthEcho International has announced EarthEcho Expedition: Shell Shocked, a new expedition to explore the growing threat of ocean acidification.  From November 16-19, 2015, Cousteau and his crew will travel to Washington State to conduct field explorations and host live virtual events on the Pacific Northwest’s imperiled coastal ecosystems.  The project is part of EarthEcho Expeditions, an annual program that leverages the rich Cousteau legacy of exploration and discovery to bring science education alive for youth. 

“With EarthEcho Expedition: Shell Shocked, we are working with youth leaders and noted experts on the changing chemistry of our ocean to help illuminate one of our most pressing and inscrutable environmental issues,” said EarthEcho co-founder and president Philippe Cousteau, Jr.  “Ocean acidification isn’t a future problem; it’s already impacting the individuals, communities and natural ecosystems that depend on a variety of shellfish and marine animals for their survival.  Our expedition will investigate the causes of this global challenge on the Washington coast where natural processes intensify the effects.”

EarthEcho field explorations and virtual events provide the foundation for dynamic educational tools and resources, including: documentary style video investigations of pressing environmental issues with vignettes of compelling youth in action, day-in-the-life video explorations into STEM careers, plus lesson plans, classroom activities and comprehensive guides for teachers to align youth environmental action with required curriculum standards. All resources will be provided free of charge to registered educators and youth beginning February 2016.  

Cousteau will travel along Washington State’s dramatic coastline, connecting with scientists and local youth to highlight the impact of increasing air and water pollution on critical marine ecosystems and the communities they support. The Expedition will feature the efforts of Native American youth and community leaders who are tackling the issue of ocean acidification through a variety of programs and local solutions.  Expedition highlights include:

  • Students from Neah Bay Middle/High School, working with the Makah Fisheries staff to monitor plankton populations as part of a citizen scientist project investigating our changing ocean environment, will discuss the importance of their work with members from the Makah tribe.  The students will be joined by experts from the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary;
  • Students from Garfield High School in Seattle and Eagle Harbor High School on Bainbridge Island who are analyzing water samples in an ongoing study to monitor ocean chemistry in parts of Puget Sound, and  working with scientists from NOAA’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and experts from Washington Sea Grant;
  • Students from Chief Kitsap Academy and Neah Bay Middle/High School will initiate a pen pal project to discuss the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on Native American and other indigenous cultures throughout the Pacific Northwest; and
  • Youth leaders from Plant for the Planet will tour a recent youth-led tree planting project and discuss ongoing actions around their lawsuit against the Washington Department of Ecology to establish more rigorous regulations for CO2 emissions.

Ocean acidification occurs as seawater absorbs much of the carbon dioxide we release into the atmosphere and from carbon entering the water from land-based sources, such as stormwater and other pollution.  The result is an increase in acidity that damages the basic building blocks of life needed by oysters, clams and corals to make their shells and skeletons.  The Pacific Northwest’s unique geography and cold, deep waters make it especially susceptible to the impacts of ocean acidification.

 

EarthEcho Expedition: Shell Shocked is made possible through the generous support of the American Honda Foundation, Campbell Foundation, The North Face and Southwest Airlines, as well as the following partners: Washington Sea Grant; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Ocean Conservancy; Plant for the Planet; Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary; Makah National Fish Hatchery; Seattle Aquarium; Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE; Neah Bay Middle/High School; Chief Kitsap Academy; Eagle Harbor High School, Bainbridge Island, WA; and Garfield High School, Seattle, WA.  

 

About EarthEcho Expeditions

For more information about EarthEcho Expeditions and educational materials, visit www.earthecho.org/expeditions.  

Follow us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/earthecho, Twitter: www.twitter.com/earthecho and Google+: www.google.com/+EarthEcho

To schedule interviews with Philippe Cousteau, contact Diane Murphy (diane@aquariusgroup.net); T. 310.658.8756