An Ocean of Fun: Celebrate with the Blue Ocean Society all week long

Starting on the first day of June, the Blue Ocean Society for the first time expands World Oceans Day, which started in 2016, to World Oceans Week. It’s happening June 1 to June 8, and the week will feature all kinds of activities that celebrate the ocean.

Blue Ocean Society was founded in 2001 by two whale watch naturalists, Jen Kennedy and Dianna Schulte, who were frustrated with the lack of translation of open ocean research into information that could be used by the public.

“The Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation’s mission is to protect marine life in the Gulf of Maine through research, education and inspiring action,” said Kennedy, who is also the executive director of the Society, which is based in Portsmouth in the Governor Langdon House, and also runs the Blue Ocean Discovery Center in Hampton Beach.

The Week will kick off with a 5K race, Run for the Ocean, right on Hampton Beach. Part of the race takes place on the boardwalk and sidewalks, and part is right on the beach. Runners who cannot physically attend the race may still participate as “virtual runners,” doing the run from wherever they can, wherever they are. Those who do not wish to run are welcome to walk or to simply make a donation to the Blue Ocean Society.

All proceeds go to the Blue Ocean Society to help its efforts to conserve marine life.

This year there will be three beach clean-up days, on June 2, June 4 and June 8.

“We provide all supplies, including bags, non-latex gloves and data cards,” Kennedy said. “Volunteers are encouraged to wear work gloves to minimize our use of disposable gloves. We suggest participants dress in layers and wear sturdy, close-toed shoes for safety. Cleanups are conducted rain or shine.”

Also on June 8, there will be a yoga class, and an opportunity to whale-watch aboard the M/V Granite State.

On June 5, the World Oceans Week Party will be hosted by the Liar’s Bench Beer Co. on Islington Street in Portsmouth. There will be food from Lure Bar and Kitchen, a hot sauce tasting with Spicy Shark, and a chance to check out clothing from Portsmouth company the Drift Collective.

On June 6, the Seacoast Science Center, in Rye, will be screening the documentary Rubber Jellyfish, directed by Australian filmmaker Carly Wilson.

A film synopsis from the film’s website states: “We all know that throwing rubbish on the ground is littering, so why is letting a balloon float away seen as something different? Rubber Jellyfish is a feature-length documentary that explores the effects of helium balloons on the environment, wildlife and human beings. Mum-to-be Carly Wilson sets out on a personal journey to meet key players on all sides in the fight to ban balloons, and exposes the confronting truth behind our favourite party product. As she travels around Australia seeking to understand the science and various points of view, Carly discovers a range of issues, from the heartbreaking impact on sea turtles to the potentially deadly effect of helium on children. Her journey takes her from littered beaches to the capital, as she speaks to activists, businesses, and politicians to find out why the balloon problem is being ignored and if something can be done.”

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the screening at 7 p.m., followed by a discussion of the film and Q & A session with the Blue Ocean Society.

For more information about World Oceans Week, volunteering with the Blue Ocean Society, or to make a donation, visit blueoceansociety.org. Those looking to sign up for the 5K Run for the Ocean event should visit runreg.com.

“We strive to learn more about the Gulf of Maine, and particularly an important habitat called Jeffreys Ledge, and then bring our research to the public through a variety of outreach programs,” Kennedy said. “We hope by sharing information with the public and resource managers, more people will be inspired to learn more about the marine environment and help protect it. Our vision is of thriving marine life in the Gulf of Maine with citizens committed to environmental stewardship.”

— Mike Costello

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