Looking for a feel-good way to spend your time this coming Monday, January 23rd 2012? Please join Sea Shepherd Conservation Society at WaterCourse Foods between 11am & 10pm to help raise money to save oceanic life throughout the world. Sea Shepherd’s Colorado Coordinator, Danielle Olivas took some time to answer questions about the importance of this notable nonprofit organization. Please read on to understand why their work is crucial to our very existence.
How do you describe the work that Sea Shepherd does to people who are unfamiliar with this organization?
Many people recognize Sea Shepherd from Animal Planet's hit TV show Whale Wars, which is in it's 4th season and documents our campaign to save the great whales in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. The 5th season is actually being filmed right now, during our Operation Divine Wind, but it's important to note that Sea Shepherd is not a TV show. We have been defending ocean wildlife worldwide for 35 years. Sea Shepherd is an international ocean conservation organization based out of Washington state. We do direct action to intervene against poaching on the high seas. We also go to places where marine atrocities are legally taking place and do what we can to expose the cowardice and unnecessary actions to the world, in an effort to stop the slaughter of marine life and habitat so that future generations may enjoy this beautiful planet.
As Sea Shepherd's Colorado Coordinator, what's your work week like?
Being the Colorado Coordinator is a labor of love. I actually work full time for Sea Shepherd from a remote office in Boulder as the Development Administrator for the organization. I am one of only thirty people who are employed by Sea Shepherd in the entire world. The majority of people who contribute to the cause are volunteers. It is a core value of Sea Shepherd's to not waste money on unnecessary expenses and to put the majority of our funds to our campaigns. I used to work in the HQ in Washington but relocated to Denver almost three years ago. After being in Colorado for a short time, I recognized a need for local education and outreach, because there is much support for Sea Shepherd in this area. So, I established the Colorado Chapter of Sea Shepherd and carry out my duties therein outside of my normal workweek. Needless to say, my week and weekends are very full – and rewarding.
How many events do you plan each month?
We average about one event per month. We tend to have more events in the warmer months though. Our local chapter is always looking for new event opportunities, whether it is a fundraiser at a restaurant, setting up a booth at a festival, or participating in a private function where we can give a talk about Sea Shepherd. We are open to invites and would love to hear from the community as to where you would like to see us. Ideas? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How many times have you held a fundraiser at WaterCourse Foods?
This is our 5th quarterly fundraiser at WaterCourse Foods. We really have to tip our hats to this fine restaurant for all it does for non-profits, not just Sea Shepherd. But they have been absolutely amazing for us and great to work with. Our fundraisers at WaterCourse have raised over $6,000 for Sea Shepherd. Last year, on our Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign we saved 863 whales and sent the illegal Japanese whaling fleet home a month and a half early. In the end, it cost us about $4,000 to save each whale. That means our fundraisers at WaterCourse have saved 1.5 whales! We are confident that our upcoming WaterCourse day on January 23rd will raise enough vital support to push us over the two whale mark.
What's your favorite thing about working for Sea Shepherd?
There is never a dull moment. Our campaigns get results, and international incidents can happen in the blink of an eye. When I see the impact we are making on a global scale – for the oceans, their inhabitants, and for people – that is my favorite thing. It is just unreal. I feel so lucky to be a part of this effort to save the oceans, so that we may save our own humanity. Plus, I know people from many different countries in the world and the types of people who support Sea Shepherd are just the best. Last but certainly not least, having Captain Paul Watson as my boss is an honor and a privilege.
How do people sign up to volunteer for Sea Shepherd?
There are a couple of ways to sign up to volunteer, and we always need more volunteers! If people want to volunteer locally, they can grab an onshore volunteer application from us at an event. Alternatively, if they want to volunteer at sea or onshore (anywhere) they can go to our website to download and submit an application and we will be in touch. Here is the URL that has applications and more information about volunteering with Sea Shepherd: http://www.seashepherd.org/get-involved.
Why should people attend the event at WaterCourse Foods this coming Monday?
The oceans are in trouble. They are dying in our time. We depend on healthy oceans for our own survival and for our children's survival, even right here in land-locked Colorado. The oceans regulate our climate and provide the majority of the oxygen we breathe. Animals such as whales and sharks are apex predators that control the delicate balance of the ocean ecosystem. We need these creatures alive and happy. As Captain Watson simply puts it, "If the oceans die, we die." Right now we can all make a difference in this mission, and coming to WaterCourse to support Sea Shepherd on January 23rd is one simple and easy way to have your (vegan!) cake and eat it too.
Please check out the facebook page for this event by clicking here.