Meadowlands Exposition Center,  Secaucus New Jersey March 23 - 25, 2012

Beneath The Sea - Press Release

Contact: Maria Hults
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Beneath The Sea 2009 Ocean Pals

Press Release

Ocean Pals was born in 1986. It was then the Board of Trustees of Beneath the Sea determined that a significant gap existed in the environmental education of children to the wonders, science, and adventure available in our oceans.

Ever sensitive to the issues that affect the future of our oceans, Beneath the Sea noticed that while much was being done to attract an adult audience to the future of the oceans; little was directed at the young audience. Yet, the facts insist that it is in the hands of the young that the ocean's future is truly held. Beneath the Sea’s answer was Ocean Pals.

To accomplish their charter, Ocean Pals formulated a model of education that allied science with art -- an annual international poster contest. This contest takes its theme each year from the marine environment and places emphasis on the ecology of the oceans and the creatures that live there – the theme for 2009 was: “ Coral Reefs: Natures Underwater Cities.” Through this cooperative program, Ocean Pals stimulates the young, pre-teen, and teenager to bring the best of their artistic abilities to these ocean themes. In the process, the youngsters acquire insight and a greater understanding of the oceans. This understanding hopefully, awakens in the youngster a devotion to our oceans and the considerable role they play in all our lives.

Since it began, the Ocean Pals poster contest has grown in stature to where today it is International in dimension and design. This is because of the message implicit in the contest and the responses it generates in the participants stimulate a wide viewing audience. Ocean Pals does this by carrying the environmental awareness message of our oceans to all the youngsters at all the schools where this poster art is exhibited. This support of basic values attracts the interest of families in our rapidly changing and confusing world.

The dynamics inherent in the poster contest offer school teachers of both art and science the opportunity of creating a combined program of lessons at the classroom level around the annual theme. To encourage teachers and motivate students to participate in the Ocean Pals poster contest, our sponsors have created a system of incentive awards.

Interested sponsors contribute prizes for the winning posters. These prizes add dimension to the learning experience by adding value to the work accomplished by the contest participants. Medals, certificates, ribbons-of-achievement, savings bonds, and trips to foreign destinations all contribute in enlarging the dimension of the poster contest.

Along with this large-scale annual poster contest, Ocean Pals organizes a series of educational events throughout the year. It is the purpose of these events to introduce student populations to the importance of the marine environment and reinforce the idea of “What we learn from our children,” in the family environment. Such programs include: Ocean Pals Day at local aquariums, organized support of local, regional and national environmental projects, school programs that introduce the world beneath the sea through the sport of scuba diving, including special lecturers to middle school and high school students introducing to them the possibility of careers and available scholarship programs in marine/environmental education.

This year Ocean Pals began two new ventures designed to bring the youth of today to the oceans and their drama. Recognizing the modern trends in visualization, Ocean Pals has created a Digital Imaging Contest for the point-and-shoot cameras our children carry with them everywhere. This inaugural year’s theme is: “Oceanscapes: Scenes of Summer,” as you might imagine, we are very optimistic.

Franklin Roosevelt said: “We can not always prepare the future for our youth, but we can prepare our youth for the future.” If that is not a launching pad for an idea, I don’t know what is. It stirred us up and the result was a Marine Careers program. The program received wonderful support last year; this year we have even more encouragement from high schools, colleges and members of the marine industry who are looking for the bright students who want to find their future in marine careers.

A few years back Ocean Pals took on a unique challenge – a project for the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. There the creation of “A World of Water” displays some of the worlds most beautiful and vibrant sea life. For the child that is ill, this underwater world becomes, for a little while, a snug harbour where they may forget the ills that beset them and immerse themselves in the beauty of the sea. Ocean Pals created this environment and today maintains this “World of Water.”

Outreach is our purpose; education is our goal. For more information call 1.914.664.4310, e-mail info@beneaththesea.org or visit our web site: www.BeneathTheSea.org Beneaththesea and Ocean Pals is a “not-for-profit” public service, membership organization.


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