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July 16, 2013 > Ocean for Life - we are all connected

Ocean for Life - we are all connected

Submitted By Beth Scrutton

Beth Scrutton, a resident of Fremont, CA and senior at Mission San Jose High School, is one of 15 U.S. students selected from over 400 applicants in the United States to participate in the 2013 Ocean for Life program at NOAA's Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Fifteen students were selected by The GLOBE Program from the Greater Middle East, including Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman. Ocean for Life was held from June 22 - July 4. Acceptance into the program was based on a series of essays on cultural, environmental and media influences, extra-curricular activities and two adult references, one from school and the other from Monterey Bay Aquarium.

As a child living in England, Beth developed an interest in oceanography and when she moved to Fremont, became involved in youth programs at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where she logged over 700 volunteer hours as a Teen Conservation Leader. Her future plans include study of Marine Biology.

Ocean for Life is an educational field study program that brings together Middle Eastern and North American high school students of diverse cultures and backgrounds to study marine science, and in the course of that, break down stereotypes and strengthen our global relationships. This unique experience is the result of a partnership between NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, The GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The premise is simple but powerful: we are all connected by the ocean, and by studying the ocean, we can learn about improving stewardship of the planet and ourselves: one world, one ocean.

The program has its origins in the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Among the victims that day were three DC public school students, their three teachers and two National Geographic Society staff who were on their way to the west coast to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary to study marine science in a precursor education program run by NOAA. After 9/11, NOAA reshaped the program to address some of the root causes that were at the heart of the tragedy.

The 2013 field study, hosted by Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and the University of California Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute, allowed students to participate in a wide variety of activities including snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, water quality monitoring and oceanography. They also learned about climate change, ocean acidification, kelp forest ecosystems, marine life of the Santa Barbara Channel and the cultures and backgrounds of fellow participants.

Beth said "Through this experience, I have come to learn so much, not only about the ocean, but about other cultures. I have made friends from as far away as Qatar, as close as my own home state of California, and everywhere in between. As we learned about each other's cultures, we found that we were more alike than we were different." Beth was inspired by meeting ocean luminary Jean-Michel Cousteau, who shared his experiences and words of encouragement. Highlights of her group media project, exploring the interconnectedness of the ocean and the people around the planet can be found at

To view the 2013 Youth Media Projects, visit or directly at

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