BENEFITING: SEA SHEPHERD CONSERVATION SOCIETY
As the Grant Administrator for Sea Shepherd USA, it is my job to ask charitable foundations to support our campaigns to defend, conserve and protect oceanic wildlife. While I am very comfortable writing grants, I am completely uncomfortable asking for gifts for myself. In this particular case, I will make an exception. On August 23, 2015, I will turn 51 years old and I would like to ask you to help me celebrate this milestone by making a donation to Sea Shepherd. I first became aware of Sea Shepherd on November 7, 2008. This was the date Whale Wars premiered on Animal Planet. At the time I was exhausted from months of chemotherapy, radiation and the several surgeries that comprised the full-out assault on the kiwi sized malignant tumor that was found in my left breast in January of that year. As I watched the Whale Wars premier, I was drained and also fearful, as it would be months before scans would confirm that I was cancer-free. But something happened that night, as I watched this rag tag group of conservationists whose only interest was protecting whales from Japanese harpoons - that changed me – forever. That night, if I could have jumped through my television screen and onto the deck of the Steve Irwin, I would have. These people, whose selfless commitment was entirely to the whales, were my comrades. Their cause was mine. I knew this then just as surely as I breathe air. I remained a loyal fan of Whale Wars and began following Captain Paul Watson and Sea Shepherd on social media, but a recurring infection at my mastectomy site kept me from pursuing active involvement as an onshore volunteer. I supported Sea Shepherd’s campaigns by blogging and spreading awareness on Facebook. I learned about the brutal Taiji dolphin slaughter and have literally followed the Cove Guardian Campaign since those very first days in 2010 when Scott and Elora West were on the ground. By summer 2011, my infection was so bad I could hardly leave the house. The only way to resolve it would require a lengthy course of antibiotics and surgery. I underwent two major surgeries to remove the infected tissue and replace it with skin and muscle from my back. The recovery was long, but the surgeries were a success. I was finally healthy! Meanwhile, I had been following and writing about the sad plight of California sea lions on the Columbia River. The sea lions are labeled as predators for eating wild salmon. Some are even branded and killed by lethal injection, but the problem on the Columbia isn’t the sea lions. There are a number reasons for the decline of the salmon population on the Columbia – all of which are man-made: the proliferation of dams, the introduction of non-native fish, toxic pollution and over-fishing. Rather than address the real threats to salmon, lawmakers and state officials harass and kill sea lions. I was able to bring this atrocity to the attention of my friends at Sea Shepherd USA. They investigated and decided to put boots on the ground in 2012 and 2013. I was honored to be asked to write much of our Dam Guardian Campaign content and to serve as one of the Campaign’s leaders in 2013. My time at the Dam was an experience that will stay with me forever. While no sea lions were killed during my tour of duty, the daily onslaught of explosives fired at sea lions and birds, who were simply trying to survive, was beyond comprehension. From now through June 2016, up to 268 sea lions can be killed for eating salmon at the Bonneville Dam. For more about this blatant miscarriage of justice and what you can do to help, please visit: http://www.seashepherd.org/dam-guardians/ Following the Dam Guardian Campaign, I was asked to do additional writing for Sea Shepherd. This led to the dream job of Grants Administrator. In June 2014, I had the opportunity to gather with Sea Shepherd staff and volunteers from around the world at our first ever Sea Shepherd Global Summit. Perhaps the only things that were better than the inspiring speeches from Paul Watson, Alex Cornelissen, Peter Hammarstedt and Jeff Hansen was just BEING with my Sea Shepherd family and eating the incredible vegan offerings of Laura Dakin. As I approach 51, I am grateful to be alive and to have the chance to be a part of the single most effective organization working to save our oceans. Sea Shepherd measures the effectiveness of our campaigns by results. For us, the ultimate result is lives saved, unmet killing quotas, and marine mammals free to migrate in the oceans without danger of entanglement in long lines or driftnets, choking on plastic or being slaughtered for tradition, “research” or consumption. Since our founding in 1977, we have literally saved hundreds of thousands of whales, seals, dolphins, sharks and fish. I hope you will help me help Sea Shepherd continue on our mission. Even one dollar makes a difference for our precious clients. Thank you so much for caring – FOR THE OCEANS!