My first day on the job as an intern for the Sea Turtle Restoration Project was, to say the least, very unique. Instead of coming into the office, meeting the other staff and doing normal office work I was expecting, I was instead swept straight into the heart of what the Sea Turtle Restoration Project is all about through their BLUEMiND outreach event at the Romberg Tiburon Center. This event consisted of speakers from all different field and backgrounds, ranging as far as from neuroscience to choreography. Despite their differences, everyone in this group of speakers shared the same love and passion for the ocean and the environment and they have each found a call to action within themselves to work to be a part of an organization that makes a difference. They had dedicated their lives to better understanding the oceans and better understanding people in order to connect the two in a harmonious manner which would benefit both the populations of the sea and land.

This caused me to reflect on myself. Originally, I decided to join the Sea Turtle Restoration Project because of my own love for the ocean and my desire to protect marine life against all the threats the animals are facing in today’s world. I wanted to be a part of an organization that would make a tangible difference through bills and lobbying. BLUEMiND helped me realize that making change is so much more than that. Change starts with the people. You cannot simply tell people to do something, such as asking a fisherman not to use a certain type of nets, and expect results. There needs to be a connection between the people and the change you are trying to make, and our job is to find that connection between the people in our community and our cause.

The audience at BLUEMiND was full of people like me who share a love for the ocean, and want to work with us to make the changes to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same beautiful oceans full of marine life that we have today. It is outreach programs such as this which channel their love for the ocean into a powerful tool for change, empowering those people in the audience to do small things to collectively make a larger difference. These small things may be signing a petition for the Leatherback Bill to work towards making the Leatherback Sea Turtle California’s State Marine Reptile, or it may be choosing paper bags instead of plastic next time they are at the grocery store. The BLUEMiND event showed me how people can easily be empowered to turn their love for something into an action. It is our job to find this connection between the people we encounter and our cause to continue to create changes through our outreach program. Because of this, I am now more than ever looking forward to a summer working for as worthy a cause as the Sea Turtle Restoration Project, and I am excited to see the outreach continue to touch the lives of people and inspire change for the better.