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Algalita/5 Gyres Tsunami Research Team
and Maui Ocean Center Present:

Sea Dragon
Welcome and Expedition Debriefing

July 6, 2012, Ma‘alaea, Maui, HI – The culmination of a 7,000-mile voyage to study the “Western Pacific Garbage Patch”, and to investigate material swept out to sea in the North Pacific Gyre by the 2011 Tsunami, will be marked by the July 8, 2012 arrival of the Sea Dragon and her crew at Ma‘alaea Harbor, Maui.  The vessel and her crew will be greeted by Maui Ocean Center and various island organization and cultural stewards upon arrival at approximately 11:00am.  Current progress of onboard activities during the expedition can be followed by visiting blogs from sea at www.algalita.org/blog

For more information on festivities planned to welcome the vessel upon arrival, visit www.mauioceancenter.com in the News & Calendar section. 

On Sunday, July 8, an expedition debriefing and panel discussion will be held at The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary from 6pm-8pm in the Conference Room.  Moderated by Rob Parsons, County of Maui’s Environmental Coordinator, the discussion will include two of the Expedition crew, Hank Carson and Cynthia Matzke, and local experts on marine debris and waste reduction.

Hank Carson, PhD - a post-doctoral researcher in marine debris science at University of Hawaii, Hilo.  He has a PhD in Marine Ecology and 3 years post-doctoral research experience.  His interests include marine debris research, population connectivity, larval biology, invertebrate biology, and population biology.  Hank’s goals for the expedition are to characterize the macro- and micro-communities of organisms attached to plastic along a transect across the North Pacific Gyre, to relate transitions in that community to physical gradients along the transect, to collect additional samples of gyre plastic for graduate students and collaborators for a variety of purposes, and of course…to have fun.

Cynthia Matzke - a marine biologist and Director of Trilogy’s Blue ‘Aina Campaign on the Island of Maui.  She has witnessed the devastating effects ocean debris on wildlife and has dealt with the issue for the last two decades. This has involved cleaning up beaches and reefs, cleaning up oiled sea birds and assisting with turtle and whale stranding networks.  She also is an educator, scientist, documentarian, event planner, sailor and fund raiser. Following the symposium in Japan, she will have an opportunity to present her findings in Seoul, South Korea – one of the world’s largest
plastic producers.

Preceding the debriefing and discussion, there will be an opportunity to view a screening of the filmed in Hawaii documentary Changing Tides.  The Sustainable Living Institute of Maui (SLIM), Positive H2O (+H2O) and Surfrider Foundation teamed up with award winning filmmaker Danny Miller to produce this 15-minute documentary.  Selected for the 2012 Maui Film Festival, the film was 100% filmed in Hawaii, yet it brings the issue of oceanic garbage into a global dialogue, where ideas are formed and solutions proposed.

The engaging story is told through the eyes of Hawaiian kupuna, professional watermen, scientists, and volunteers who share their passion for the ocean and what they are doing to protect it.  Their stories bring us an in-depth look at oceanic garbage in the Pacific, and what it means for residents of Hawaii and other Pacific islands impacted by the waste.  Changing Tides dispels the myths and demonstrates the real dangers of the Northern Pacific Gyre and provides solutions that individuals can take to decrease their plastic footprint. 

Event is open to the public with complimentary admission.  Tax deductible donations are appreciated and will go directly to Algalita and 5 Gyres to defray expedition costs. 

This event is made possible through joint collaboration with Maui Ocean Center, Algalita Marine

Research Institute, 5 Gyres Institute, Pangaea Exploration, and UH Maui College. 

For more information on the Sea Dragon or for expedition details visit www.algalita.org.  For more information on the Sea Dragon welcome in Ma‘alaea Harbor or the panel event call (808) 270-7000 or email lorim@mauioceancenter.com. For more information on the Expedition, please call Jeanne Gallagher, Expedition Liaison at (808) 268-2453 or email opsadmin@algalita.org.

Algalita Marine Research Institute
The Algalita Marine Research Institute (formerly Foundation), a nonprofit organization based in Long Beach, California, is dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its watersheds through research, education and restoration.  We do this by conducting research and collaborative studies on the distribution, abundance and fate of marine plastic pollution and the potential harmful effects of plastics in the marine environment, including transference of toxins and their impact on human health.  More information:  (562) 598-4889 or www.algalita.org.  

5 Gyres Institute
5 Gyres Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to meaningful change through research, education, and community action.  5 Gyres disseminates its findings through lectures, publications, and traveling exhibits, and raises awareness about plastic marine pollution through sailing expeditions across the world’s oceans, including a 2008 rafting expedition from California to Hawaii on a raft constructed of 15,000 plastic bottles.  For information on upcoming expeditions and exhibitions across oceans:  email info@5Gyres.org

Pangaea Exploration
Pangaea Exploration offers adventure sailing to actively strengthen the health of marine life through exploration, conservation and education work.  Our mission is to inspire and develop a new generation of leaders in conservation science, communication, education, art and policy leadership.  More information:  www.panexplore.com.

Maui Ocean Center
Maui Ocean Center displays live coral and Hawaiian marine life in over 60 vibrant exhibits.  Twenty-five percent of the animals found at Maui Ocean Center are endemic, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world.  In addition to daily marine life presentations given by ocean naturalists, Maui Ocean Center highlights specific marine species with enhanced presentations, special guest talks, hands-on activities, upgradeable behind the scenes tours and more each month.  In July, Maui Ocean Center will host the Coral Spawning Spectacle.  Explore the mysterious world of coral reproduction and get a chance to witness live coral spawning during this highly anticipated summer aquarium event that takes place under the light of a new moon.  More information and program details can be found at www.mauioceancenter.com.

The mission of Maui Ocean Center is to foster understanding, wonder and respect for Hawaii’s marine life. This state-of-the-art aquarium was named “Top-Rated Attraction in Hawaii” by Zagat Survey US Family Travel Guide, “Leader In Responsible Tourism” on the Top 100 Blue List by Islands Magazine, and “Best Land Activity” in 2008, 2009, 2011 by the readers of The Maui News. Open daily from 9 to 5, and from 9 to 6 in July and August. For more information please contact the Maui Ocean Center: 192 Ma‘alaea Road; Ma‘alaea, HI 96793; telephone (808)270-7000, facsimile (808)270-7070, e-mail info@mauioceancenter.com or visit www.mauioceancenter.com.

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