Inaugural OAC Weekend a Great Success!

Amazing! Fantastic! Awesome! These are just some of the descriptions for the Inaugural Ocean Awareness Challenge (OAC) event weekend, September 9-11. Beautiful Emerald Bay, Catalina Island, this year’ event location, gave participants a first-hand look at our earth’s valuable resource and lifeblood: the ocean. The event’s goals of increasing awareness of the ocean’s health and challenging participants to make changes in their lives to positively affect the ocean’s health was enthusiastically embraced by those in attendance.

Over 100 adults and children experienced a three day, action-packed weekend of fun, learning and challenges for change. Presentations by Dr. Geoff Shester/Oceana’s California Program Director, Dr. Wendy Marshall/Discovery Cube’s Ocean Quest – Newport Beach’s Director of Education, Dave Rudie/Catalina Offshore Products’ Founder & CEO and Tony Budrovich/Catalina Island Conservancy’s President & COO provided insightful information about the state of the ocean in each of their areas of expertise and recommended ways in which we can make a difference. Hands-on activities brought the concepts to life, such as snorkeling, kayaking, hiking, and a tour of the aquarium touch tank. The learning came full circle when the group watched an exclusive showing of the award-winning MacGillivray Freeman Films “Humpback Whales” film under the stars with Emerald Bay as a backdrop. Happy hour generously provided by Black Magic Rum and music under the stars led the way to an evening of celebration of protecting and making commitments to positive changes to help make a difference in the health of the ocean.

A passionate, all volunteer group from our very own WSA-OC spent the last 1-1/2 years planning all aspects of this inaugural event. Importantly, the finance committee is busy finalizing the numbers as significant funds were raised for a newly created OAC Scholarship fund for under-served youth to attend the Mountain & Sea Adventure Camp, the very camp at which we held our event. This scholarship fund is an important component of the event: recognizing that our youth are key to ensuring the future health of the ocean.

Participants were so excited about all they learned, the presenters very generously promised to provide links for our website for further information. Check the WSA-OC website www.wsaoc.org/oac in coming weeks for important information that they will be providing.