Last year, I was invited to join the Board of Directors of the newly formed Ocean Media Institute. I have since been elected as the Vice President of the Board of Directors, which is an incredible honor, especially when you see the credentials of everyone else involved. But that is neither here nor there, really.
What drew me to this organization was the tagline: Crafting Deeper Stories. Those who know me are fully aware of my propensity to tell stories. I rarely have a short answer for anything, nor do I do quick summaries well. For me, there is great power in words and ideas to take conversations to deeper levels of understanding. It cannot be done in a simple text or a tweet. And to give the Cliff’s Notes version is to do a disservice to the writer and his or her story. Stories bring meaning to ideas and facts. While a report or scientific paper can interpret data for you, and inferences can be made, a story tells you why it matters.
I have a background in science and education, yes, but I am at my core a crafter of stories. Whether they are fictional tales of pirates on the high seas or nonfiction pieces about the state of our oceans or the explosive growth of the craft beer industry in America, it is my goal to tell a story that makes the reader care about, or at least identify with, the subject at hand.
Working with OMI is very exciting to me as I will be partnering with a group of people who also understand the importance of the art of storytelling to communicating scientific concepts and environmental issues. We are not a political or activist group. We are professionals from different walks of life who have a passion for the ocean and imparting a narrative of conservation and scientific literacy. With so little of our oceans explored in depth (pun intended), there is a treasure trove of information to be uncovered still, and every new discovery is a story waiting to be told. I am thrilled to be a part of that process.
2016 is already looking to be a year of action and adventure for me. I am already working on a year-long project for OMI in conjunction with several local Tampa Bay breweries to bring a film series to the Bay Area, and I am very excited about this project. This summer, I will embark on my third and final field course for my graduate program, this time to the Big Island of Hawai’i. Just a few short months after that, graduate with my Masters degree. In addition, there are a few other items in the works for this year that I am keeping under wraps for now. I don’t want to reveal them prematurely! And that is just what I know so far, six days into the new year!
Obviously, this will be am important year politically for our country. The election in November will have a significant impact on the direction our nation moves in regards to equality and social justice, economic policy, environmental concerns, and how we face the rest of the international community and the challenges that affect us all. If you honestly believe there is no difference in those vying for office, you are not paying attention. And if you think your vote doesn’t matter, you could not be more wrong. It is easy to become cynical and jaded when being bombarded by 24-hour media coverage – and spin – from the blaring infotainment complex, but behind it all are real people facing real issues, and some serious choices to be made.
Ultimately, this new year is going to be an evolutionary one for me. It is time to become who and what I want to be. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.