Our Ocean, Our Life: My Summer with Ocean for Life, Part 1

This is a guest blog post written by Fiona McRaith, a rising senior at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School in Chicago, IL. It is part 1 of a multi-part blog series about her experience at the Ocean for Life Program this summer.

Fiona (center) poses with other Ocean for Life participants Fiona (center) poses with other Ocean for Life participants

Hailing from the Windy City, I am not used to the salty air of an ocean town. Now, I consider that air my life source, because that is what the ocean is. Our life.

Ocean for Life is a two week program I had the honor of participating in this summer. Taking place in the town of Santa Barbara, just north of Los Angeles, Ocean for Life has changed my world. I first heard of Ocean for Life from the same teacher who opened my eyes to not only the environmental issues facing our world but how I could make a positive impact on them. With this mindset, I helped start Message in a Bottle, an ongoing project in which I sell stainless steel reusable water bottles with two of my peers. The money we make we then donate to the Alliance for the Great Lakes to do our part in keeping our beloved sources of freshwater clean.

Through Message in a Bottle my passion for the environment, especially the water within it, has only grown. Thus, when I heard about Ocean for Life, I jumped at the chance to participate.

Ocean for LIfe Participants Ocean for LIfe Participants

 Ocean for Life has expanded my horizons more than I ever expected, for I not only learned more about marine issues and how my actions (even in Chicago) are a part of that but also developed a sense of responsibility and place.

I know now even more what I can do to be a beneficial member of the generation that has to make a change in our lifestyle. Ocean for Life not only gave me this knowledge but also a family composed of the other participants with which to spread this message.