Category Archives: Philippe Cousteau

Our Ocean, Our Future


It is a beautiful Indian Summer day in Miami. The time between the end of summer and beginning of fall. No, it is not cool outside like I imagine it might be in New England, but the skies are blue and cloudless and the sun is bright. It is, I suppose, a perfect day to jump in the pool or go to the beach, but given what has been an amazing week, I feel compelled to share a few words and pictures about the Our Ocean Summit that I was privileged to attend last week in Washington D.C.

This was the third Our Ocean Summit – the first being in Washington two years ago, the second being in Chile last year – and these have become important global events focused on protecting our oceans from pollution, illegal fishing, and the impact global warming and our climate have on our planet’s oceans. The conference is designed to mobilize advocates and actors in government, private society, and elsewhere to take action to protect our marine environment. More than 20 countries attended the Our Ocean Conference and announced the creation of 40 significant new marine protected areas, totaling nearly 460,000 square miles of ocean. To be able to participate in this important work was an amazing experience, but what was most amazing is what was accomplished at this year’s conference.

Over 120 ocean conservation projects were announced during this year’s conference, including nearly two billion dollars in financial commitments to protect more than two million square kilometers in new or expanded marine environments. During the conference, for example, President Obama announced the creation of The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. This monument will protect nearly 5,000 square miles of marine ecosystem with unique geological features including underwater canyons that are deeper than the Grand Canyon and an environment that is home to some of the world’s most endangered and rare species including sperm, fin, sei whales, and Kemp’s ridley sea turtles.


Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument Location

To watch a video from the 2016 Our Ocean Conference about how climate change has effected our planet, as well as what has been accomplished during the Our Ocean conferences, click here!

Here is a gallery of pictures from my adventures at the Our Ocean Conference and Capitol Hill:

FullSizeRender (4) IMG_9456
Secretary+State+John+Kerry+Hosts+Ocean+Conference+XycPV5-0Ghwl IMG_9460 Secretary+State+John+Kerry+Hosts+Ocean+Conference+pvxhkLj8T8Xl
IMG_9457 IMG_9462 IMG_9463
FullSizeRender (2) IMG_9406 (1) IMG_9468
IMG_9469 FullSizeRender (1) FullSizeRender

IMG_9401 (1)

Thank you to the U.S. State Department and Secretary Kerry for hosting this year’s event, as well as Georgetown University and the Kennedy Center where many of the events that I attended were located. Thanks to the U.S. Capitol and the many Representatives and Senators who I spoke to for their concern over our oceans, including the impact that global warming and sea level rise is having on South Florida.

I want to especially thank Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau, as well as Stacy, Allie, and Mia from EarthEcho for their invitation and hosting myself and the rest of the EarthEcho Youth Leadership Council. It was an amazing first live gathering of the Council and incredible evidence of what we can accomplish together.

Lastly, I want to thank my school, Palmer Trinity, for allowing me to attend this conference and especially thank Mr. Chapman, Dr. Regalado, and Mrs. Paschick for their support. I would also be remiss to not thank my mom for travelling with me and being the best travel companion a girl could ever have.

If you are a student or someone young at heart, let me end by saying that all of us have a voice and that you can make an impact in anything that you are passionate about. So whether it is the ocean, the environment, or some other topic, do not ever be afraid to speak up, speak out, and become involved because together we can make the world better for future generations.

A September to Remember


As the warmest summer on record nears an end, this month is shaping up to be a “September to Remember” for The Sink or Swim Project. I want to update everyone on a few of the amazing events that we will be participating in as we continue to publicly discuss the risks that South Florida faces from global warming and especially sea level rise, as well as possible solutions such as the need to dramatically increase the use of solar power and other sustainable energy solutions as we transition away from the use of fossil fuel before it’s too late. With these important topics in mind I hope you will join us at one or more of these events or, at the very least, join the discussion;

States-Event-Graphic-21. Climate Change Discussion & Round Table with John Podesta, Chairman Hillary for America / 2:30 PM, Monday, September 12th / Key Biscayne, Florida

John Podesta, Chief of Staff for Former Secretary of State and current Democratic candidate for the Presidency of the United States, Hillary Clinton, will lead a Round Table discussion on Climate Change on the 12th at 2:30 PM at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) Auditorium and I am so very humbled to have been invited to participate in this important discussion along with some of our region’s leading scientists, lawmakers and clean energy entrepreneurs.

Thanks to Susan Glickman from the Southern Alliance on Clean Energy for inviting me to attend and to the University of Miami RSMAS campus for hosting this important discussion. To learn more about the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, please visit: To Learn more about the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science please click visit: To learn more about Mr. Podesta, please visit:

unnamed (1)

2. Secretary John Kerry & The United States Department of State / Our Oceans Conference  /  Thursday & Friday, September 15th and 16th / Washington D.C.

I am thankful to be a member of Philippe Cousteau’s inaugural EarthEcho Youth Leadership Council and in that capacity will be attending the 2016 Our Ocean One Future Leadership Summit at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. on the 15th and 16th.  During our time together I will visit the Ocean Conservancy to discuss ocean policy, attend the Our Ocean One Future Summit, visit Capitol Hill, and hear Secretary of State John Kerry conduct a Town Hall.

Secretary Kerry will be hosting the 2016 Our Oceans Conference and in doing so plans to call today’s youth to action to protect our worlds’ waters and its inhabitants. The Conference shall focus on threats to our oceans in four areas including; Marine Protected Areas, Climate Change,  Sustainable Fisheries and Marine Pollution. Speaking of Secretary Kerry, to watch a video he has made related to the event and the importance of our oceans, click here.

The learn more about The Our Oceans, One Future Leadership Summit visit


3. Smithsonian Water Ways Lecture / 6 PM, Friday, September 16th / Miami Springs, Florida

The Florida Humanities Council has selected the historic Curtis Mansion here in Miami Springs as one of six locations to host the 2016-2017 Smithsonian Exhibit ‘Water/Ways’ ( and on Friday September 16th at 6:00 PM The Sink or Swim Project will be presenting a lecture on global warming and sea level rise entitled Sink or Swim For Kids (Of All Ages).  Following our talk we will also be answering questions on a range of global warming topics from the audience.

You can learn more about the event by clicking here or visiting ( and I hope you will join us, as well as tell your friends and family to come out for what should be a fun night.

Please consider following The Sink or Swim Project on social media (Twitter, Instagram or Facebook), as well as sharing our work with a friend or two. The work ahead of us to protect our planet is both sizable and significant but, together, we can make a difference. For your support of our work, and reading, thanks so much!

We’re Gonna Need A Bigger Boat


I love sharks.

All sorts of sharks. Nurse Sharks, Mako Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Black Tips, Great Whites, Spinners and my favorite, the Crocodile Shark, to name just a few. With ‘Shark Week’ starting tonight on television I’d like to share some of my own shark related adventures with you while also telling you about some of my science heroes as a way to thank them for the amazing work they are doing for our planet.

My fascination with sharks led me to go on my first shark tagging trip with the University of Miami’s Shark Research & Conservation Program (SRC) through my school, Palmer Trinity, when I was in sixth grade. In honor of the fact that Shark Week begins tonight on The Discovery Channel and National Geographic, I’d like to share some incredible pictures from my last shark tagging adventure with you, as well as tell you a bit about the program and the inspiring people who are involved including two of my science heroes.

The SRC Program was created in 2010 by the University of Miami’s Roni Avissar (Professor at and Dean of the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science), Dr. Kenny Broad (Professor at and Chair of UM’s Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society), and Dr. Neil Hammerschlag (Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society and Director of the Shark Research & Conservation Program).

The SRC Program allows students and others to learn about these awesome animals up close and to participate in real shark research by testing their nictitating membranes, taking fin clip samples, measuring their length and helping place identification tags on them before they are safely released back into the wild. Between my school’s affiliation with the University of Miami’s SRC and my participation in the University’s Summer Scholars Program I’ve been fortunate to go on three tagging trips, thus far, and each one was absolutely incredible.

Last summer I was far away from South Florida and any thoughts of shark tagging when my family visited Washington D.C.’s many museums and sights. Upon check-in at our hotel we learned that, coincidentally, we were staying across the street from the Headquarters of the National Geographic Society, so naturally we had to add a visit to their offices to our list of things to do. I am sure glad we did because not only were their exhibits great fun to see but it was an incredible surprise to walk around the building’s exterior and come across a huge photograph of Dr. Hammerschlag standing on the sea floor with a 12′ long Tiger Shark swimming above him! I guess even though I was in Washington I was never really that far from the SCS, the sharks or Dr. Hammerschlag’s fine work.12440317_10154620482268265_3583103700094699566_o

Dr. Neil Hammerschlag (in the orange shirt above) is a marine ecologist whose research centers broadly on the behavioral ecology, conservation biology, and the movement ecology of marine predators, primarily sharks. Dr. Hammerschlag’s research includes investigating interactions between sharks and their prey, identifying and learning about shark habitats, studying the impact of urbanization on sharks including the impacts of over fishing on their ecosystems and how sharks respond to climate change. Dr. Hammerschlag is not only an educator and research scientist but also an inventor. For example, using ultra sound technology and techniques that he’s invented he studies pregnant sharks without harming them as would have been the case in the past.160318_123308_191_PalmerTrinity_Web

My most recent shark tagging trip was even more exciting and humbling than is normally the case because not just one, but two, of my science heroes were on board that day. In addition to Dr. Hammerschlag we were joined by none other than Philippe Cousteau who was aboard to film a segment on shark tagging for his Xploration Awesome Planet television show (that’s Philippe in the blue shirt) on FOX and Hulu.

Philippe Cousteau is a world renowned adventurer, educator, filmmaker and author. He is the grandson the iconic Jacques Cousteau and part of perhaps the most important family in all of marine biology. Philippe is also the founder of EarthEcho International which he created to “inspire young people worldwide to act now for a sustainable future.”  I am deeply proud to be a member of Philippe’s inaugural EarthEcho International Youth Council and for him to be with us on my last shark tagging trip was something I will always remember.

160318_101337_110_PalmerTrinity_Web 12719610_10154620478933265_3366957250929656910_o
12891136_10154620481743265_4180808857149064297_o 12322661_10154620483503265_9077778079985772834_o
12900982_10154620484228265_8877235120078420670_o 12140962_10154620484948265_4595409545618113533_o
160318_084359_55_PalmerTrinity_Web 12419338_10154620482428265_4127784633449443503_o
160318_111006_144_PalmerTrinity_Web 12671969_10154620485598265_7151572743094376882_o
160318_084354_54_PalmerTrinity_Web 12891493_10154620482418265_3254276722368882796_o


So with Shark Week upon us I hope that you will tune in and watch these cutting edge research educators do their thing.

Dr. Hammerschlag will be premiering in tonight’s Tiger Beach and will also star in Air Jaws: Night Stalker on Tuesday June 28th, both on the Discovery Channel. He will also star (along with the sharks!) in Mega Hammerhead on the National Geographic Channel on June 30th. I also hope that you will tune in and watch Philippe Cousteau’s Nuclear Sharks on the Discovery Channel when it premieres on June 30th.

Allow me to end this post with a special thanks and shout out to a few folks from Palmer Trinity including Dr. Caroline Hammerschlag who was also on the most recent tagging trip my school participated in a couple of months ago. You see, she’s not only an amazing scientist and educator but also a professor at Palmer Trinity and, as I sometimes call her, Mrs. Dr. Hammerschlag, Neil’s wife.

I’m also excited to mention that she; Traci Holstein, our school’s wonderful Science Department Chairperson; and Coach Clint Jones took a small group of Palmer students, myself included, on an absolutely epic Marine Biology Expedition to Hawaii this past Spring. We hiked a volcano, went night diving with Giant Manta Rays, explored nesting sea turtle habitats on black sand beaches and followed Pacific porpoises among other incredible adventures but that, as they say, will be the subject of another post one day.

Thanks to both Palmer and the University of Miami for making such incredible, and indelible, education available and don’t forget to catch some of my heroes on television this week, Shark Week 2016!

1 2 3