Mote Marine Lab and various others will hold beach cleanups, show documentaries and offer informational activities through the day.
Amid debates on red tide and water quality, various Sarasota organizations are taking a pause to celebrate one of the world’s biggest resources — the ocean.
In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly designated June 8 as World Oceans Day in an effort to raise awareness about the role the ocean plays in everyday life.
Now, with various celebrations throughout Sarasota, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium public relations manager Stephannie Kettle said residents can
celebrate their connectivity to the ocean.
Because Sarasota relies on the Gulf of Mexico for tourism and fishing, she said it’s easy to feel its effects.
“Luckily in Sarasota, we’re very close to the ocean and we feel that connection well,” Kettle said. “But, World Oceans Day is also about helping people in Kansas or the middle of Florida realize how connected they are to the ocean as well.”
One celebration in Sarasota is focused on doing just that. Yasamin Parsloe and Tara Caguiat, creators of travel website beach.com, wanted to give back to areas they often promote.
“Our thought is that when people travel there’s a lot that happens that negatively impacts the environment,” Parsloe said. “What happens is you attract all of these people to these destinations and then it has negative impacts on ocean pollution.”
In an effort to help mitigate ocean pollution, the duo decided to host beach cleanups in the destinations featured on beach.com. There, people will pick up waste and learn about conservation techniques.
Their first clean up will be June 8 on Siesta Key Beach. While it is their first event, the pair have signed up more than 400 registrants.
While Parsloe said the actual clean up is important, what she really hopes people get out of the celebration is education.
“A dirty beach or the trash that washes up on the beach, it’s just abysmal, the problem,” Parsloe said. “There’s so much more happening out in the ocean that we can’t even see that is impacting our environment, and a clean up is going to make a change, but what really makes the big difference is the awareness within our population and the education behind it.”
Kettle agreed that education is important and hopes that residents use World Oceans Day to educate themselves on proper beach etiquette heading into the summer months.
“There’s a lot more people on the beach right now, so there’s a greater chance for an animal encounter,” she said. “We want to make sure people are being safe with their trash so that our ocean ecosystems aren’t harmed.”