World Oceans Day

BY MICHAELA FARNHAM

“You know how they say another mans trash is another mans treasure? Well… the same can’t be said for our oceans. This year for World Oceans Day Girls in Ocean Science partnered with Ocean Mimic to host a bunch of beach clean-up events all over the world! Were you at one of them??”

Every year on the 8th of June we have the pleasure of celebrating World Oceans Day. It is a day dedicated to the big blue, that vast expanse of water that feeds us, nourishes us, and brings joy to us. World Oceans Day has always had a special place in my heart, as the ocean is my greatest source of inspiration.

This year some of our GOS Lead Ambassadors took the initiative to run beach clean-ups in their local communities for World Oceans Day. Here they represented us (Girls in Ocean Science) as well as another fabulous organisation, Ocean Mimic (@oceanmimic). Ocean Mimic are an eco friendly swimwear company that stand up against plastic pollution, creating beautiful swimsuits from recycled plastic. They also have an initiative where with every $10 spent, they will pledge to collect 1kg of trash from the beaches and oceans, pretty amazing right?!

If you followed us on Instagram (@girlzinoceanscience) you might have seen some photos from our worldwide ambassador cleanups for World Oceans Day. If not, don’t fret, a recap of the day awaits you below, with some interesting insights from some of our Lead Ambassadors.

GOS Lead Ambassador Nicola Kennedy at her cleanup location in Wollongong, Australia (image:  @nicciandthenautilus )

GOS Lead Ambassador Nicola Kennedy at her cleanup location in Wollongong, Australia (image: @nicciandthenautilus)

World Oceans Day is about celebrating our beautiful seas that surround us! But what do our oceans mean to you?

Life. Peacefulness. Joy. Tranquility. Honestly, I can't imagine being truly happy away from my ocean. - Barbie LeBrun

I’ve grown up by the ocean and I feel as much at home in the water as out. The ocean is where I go to relax and be myself, something about the salt water always makes me feel instantly better. I love the creatures that call the ocean home and love being surrounded by them. - Nicola Kennedy

A place of wonder, exploration - where people can venture into the unknown! A bit like space, but this microgravity is full of amazing creatures and diversity. - Jennifer Thomson

The ocean is vital for all life on earth. It is home to important marine ecosystems and biodiversity, acts as a vital carbon store, and connects us all. To me personally, the ocean makes me feel a sense of belonging and ignites a great desire in me to protect the marine life. I love the ocean! - Thea Moule

I have always been invested in conservation simply because I love animals. I grew up with a fascination for charimastic megafauna. In college I took a course called marine biomedicine. I learned that some of the first chemotherapeutic drugs were synthesized after discovery of novel compounds in sea sponges, which gave me a much fuller understanding of the importance of conservation. Humans are so lucky to be able to utilize what nature has created. The ocean is full of endless possibilities – there is biological diversity in multitudes due to a variety of unique ecosystems that all occur under water. So much is yet to be discovered, and it is imperative that we preserve these ecosystems so that we may one day know the full extent of what they have to offer. - Loni Mnich

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GOS Lead Ambassador Barbie LeBrun at her World Oceans Day Cleanup location in North Carolina, USA. Barbie collected 1 1/2 big buckets of trash during her cleanup! (Photos: Barbie LeBrun)

For our oceans TRASH = TROUBLE, why do you think beach cleans are important?

There are more microplastics in the ocean than stars in the Milky Way - that’s over 52 TRILLON. The ocean has a big plastic problem so any clean up will make a difference! - Jennifer Thomson

Beach cleans are important in removing hazardous materials from the marine environment, but there’s so much more to them than that. They bring like-minded people together to share stories and tips. They raise awareness of the issue that is plastic pollution and make people think hard about their own waste footprint. They inspire people to do better and to spread the message of reduce, reuse, recycle. - Nicola Kennedy

Beach cleanup bring awareness to the issue. The activity also promoted unity among locals. Frankly, if those of us who are so inclined to cleanup did not, we wouldn't have a beach. We'd have dumps and many more dead animals. The ocean would die quickly. - Barbie LeBrun

Beach cleans are so important because so much of marine biodiversity is coastal. Allowing trash to escape from land and into the ocean can have huge impacts locally, before it even reaches the open ocean. People think that all of ocean pollution is caught up in the great Pacfic garbage patch, which is a helpless idea because relatively few people will actually have the opportunity to travel to the Pacific gyres, but there is so much we can do right at home at our local beaches. - Loni Mnich


Beach cleans are important for the marine organisms. By removing rubbish from beaches, it protects the marine life by preventing entanglement or accidently being ingested, both leading to an unnecessary and traumatic death. It also prevents toxic chemicals entering the ocean and allows the correct disposal of waste via recycling facilities. In addition, beach cleans also bring a sense of community, allowing individuals to meet likeminded people whilst enjoying the natural beauty of the marine environment. Overall, enhancing well-being whilst doing your part to protect the planet. - Thea Moule

What an incredible image of people coming together to tackle trash in their local community. Here GOS Lead Ambassador Jennifer Thomson ran a beach cleanup in Zavora, Mozambique! She completed 2 beach cleans with 30 researchers and school children, collecting 122kg of ocean trash! AMAZING! (Photo: @   jenniferelizabeththomson   )

What an incredible image of people coming together to tackle trash in their local community. Here GOS Lead Ambassador Jennifer Thomson ran a beach cleanup in Zavora, Mozambique! She completed 2 beach cleans with 30 researchers and school children, collecting 122kg of ocean trash! AMAZING! (Photo: @jenniferelizabeththomson)

What tips and tricks do you have for people wanting to run a beach clean event?

Use social media and network with like-minded organizations. Hold the event early, before the heat of the day. Hold it right after a holiday. - Barbie LeBrun

If you would like to run a beach clean event but don’t have the equipment, try collaborating with a local organisation. They will more than likely have the equipment for you to borrow for your beach clean. Plus, you get extra promotion from them and guidance of how to run the event. - Thea Moule

There are many resources online that have tips and step by step instructions on how to run a beach clean such as Tangaroa Blue and World Oceans Day. Gloves are important to protect your hands and make sure you have someone trained in handling sharp items on the day. It’s always nice to have refreshments at the end as a reward for all your hard work! - Nicola Kennedy

Even just one person can make a difference – one is better than none. Even if it’s just you, get out there and pick up some trash. It doesn’t have to be an official beach cleanup. Every time I go to the beach I pick up trash! If you want to do something more organized, make a casual plan with some friends, and then there are a few more people added. Engaging the local community on Facebook is a great resource for something bigger. It is so easy to collect more than you anticipated, so always bring extra bags or buckets! At the end, recycle what you can. - Loni Mnich

Remember to bring a weighing scale! With schoolchildren, making it a competition - with the team who collects the most wins a small prize - makes for a very efficient and speedy clean up! - Jennifer Thomson

GOS Lead Ambassador Kaysha Kenney at her cleanup location in California, USA. Kaysha’s trash was mainly composed of microplastics with a whole load of styrofoam. Remember, when visiting your beaches only take what should not be there in the first place. (photo:    @kayshakenney   )

GOS Lead Ambassador Kaysha Kenney at her cleanup location in California, USA. Kaysha’s trash was mainly composed of microplastics with a whole load of styrofoam. Remember, when visiting your beaches only take what should not be there in the first place. (photo: @kayshakenney)

GOS Ambassador Project Coordinator Mady (   @madyloveswhales   ) at her cleanup location in Florida, USA. Not only did Mady and her team collect a lot of trash, they managed to stop an illegal shark fisherman! You go girls!

GOS Ambassador Project Coordinator Mady (@madyloveswhales) at her cleanup location in Florida, USA. Not only did Mady and her team collect a lot of trash, they managed to stop an illegal shark fisherman! You go girls!

What is the craziest thing you have found on a beach clean?

I once found a mouthguard on a remote island in the Great Barrier Reef, I thought that was a bit odd, very far from a football field! - Nicola Kennedy

An octopus. A stranded female horseshoe crab. An old wooden knife cover with a name on it. Indian pottery shard. A man-of-war that I thought was a deflated mylar balloon. Dog poo in a bag. A used profilactic. A megalodon fossil. - Barbie LeBrun

The craziest thing I have found on the beach clean was a vintage Bovril glass jar and a pushchair wheel. In addition, whilst scuba diving the craziest piece of rubbish I found was a full-length deck chair - Thea Moule

You mean apart from a toy triceratops and a train? People who voluntarily come out at 8am to clean up plastic!! - Jennifer Thomson

I think all beach cleans are dominated by the standard bottles and bottle caps, cigarettes, take-out cups or containers, and fishing line. On our recent World Oceans Day beach cleanup we found five glow-sticks! This was something I had never expected to find. Luckily the glow sticks were still intact with the liquid inside. - Loni Mnich

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GOS Lead Ambassador Loni Mnich at her World Oceans Day Cleanup location in Massachusetts, USA. Loni and her team collected 11.7kg of trash during her cleanup! (Photos: @lonimnich)

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GOS Lead Ambassador Thea Moule at her cleanup location in Wales, UK. Her team collected 23kg of trash!  (Photo: Thea Moule)

GOS Lead Ambassador Thea Moule at her cleanup location in Wales, UK. Her team collected 23kg of trash! (Photo: Thea Moule)

We are all so proud here at Girls in Ocean Science for all the effort that not only our Lead Ambassadors put in for these events, but also their volunteers that came along too! Picking up trash early in the morning is never an easy feat…

Now just before we go, remember that every day is World Oceans Day, and every little thing you do for our oceans helps.

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. - Vincent van Gogh