Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Camp Casey and Marine Life Conservation

CaseyPanThere is more to SPU’s Camp Casey Conference Center, located on Whidbey Island, than meets the immediate eye. Aside from the more apparent amenities, there is the Camp Casey Sea Lab, which contains a host of local marine life to behold, conservation at the heart of its message. The lab was built by Keith Ludeman, a retired Navy veteran who educates visitors on the sea life collected in the lab, which includes starfish, sea urchins, sea pickles, and more. These creatures are found in plenty in the Puget Sound waters off the shore of Whidbey Island, but all of them are deep-sea dwellers, and wouldn’t be viewable if not for the lab. This is very much a part of the lab’s goal-to show young students that the ocean is a habitat of importance for all of these creatures that we can’t see. The way that our actions as humans affect them and their habitat is also stressed. Continue reading

What to do with the Giant Pacific Octopus

giant_octopusXAs reported by The New York Times, Seattle has recently faced a debate regarding  the the Giant Pacific Octopus, the question being: to eat or not to eat. The controversy was sparked last Halloween, when Maple Valley resident Dylan Mayer dove from Alki Beach into the Puget Sound and combated with a GPO, eventually killing it and dragging it ashore and into his truck. Continue reading

The Plight of the Oysters

oysterAs reported by The Seattle Times, oysters along the west coast are in trouble. They’ve been struggling to survive since 2005, due to carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel emissions and a drop in pH levels. Years in the making, this emerging ocean acidification is the product of low pH water which naturally occurred hundreds of feet down several decades ago. Due to the way in which the ocean circulates, the corrosive water has since risen at a swifter rate than expected, and it’s getting closer and closer to the surface, some of it already making an impact on under-the-radar marine life, such as oysters. Continue reading

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Harbor Porpoises Return to Puget Sound

porpoisesSound the seashell trumpets! As reported by the Seattle Times (in a great article worth checking out), Harbor Porpoises are once again populating the Puget Sound in numbers after a decades-long absence. Last common in the 40’s and 50’s, possible reasons for their disappearance include industrial pollution, vessel noise, and entanglement in gill nets, which researchers say might have driven the porpoises further north. But it now appears that these troublesome conditions have reduced enough for them to return, and they’ve become a common sight once again. This is something of an environmental victory for the city, giving cause to deem Seattle’s pollution cleanup efforts effective. Continue reading