Our Overall Goal: To support charities focused on marine conservation education.

Marine ecosystems around the world have suffered severe degradation in the last few decades. Many fish stocks are severely overfished, warming water and other factors have led to extensive coral loss, and runoff from agriculture and other activities is impacting coastal ecosystems. Biodiversity loss at this scale is of concern in and of itself but it also leads to reduced food security for many communities, loss of revenue from fishing and tourism, and increased costs and loss of life associated with storm damage.

Why marine conservation education rather than direct action? Because people love and protect what they know. Because broadening access to marine education leads to greater diversity, more ideas, better solutions. Because it empowers local people to act and because the next generation is our brightest hope for the future.

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Rowing Across An Ocean, For The Oceans

The four of us have been involved in marine conservation for many years and we’ve seen firsthand the urgency with which positive change is needed. The great news is that in many cases, we have a good handle on ways to manage marine ecosystems more sustainably, e.g. with more marine protected areas, better fisheries management and sustainable aquaculture, and controlling coastal pollution. And there are many amazing organizations around the world that are helping move us in that direction—through advocacy and direct action! What is needed to continue this valuable work is more people from more diverse backgrounds engaging with ocean conservation. We believe that lowering barriers to participation in education and hands-on experience is key, so we are raising funds to support charities that focus on these aspects of marine conservation.

How We Chose

We are splitting our fundraising efforts three ways, which reflects our team’s origins and experiences: some of us are Canadian, some of us are American, so we wanted to support charities based in both of our home countries. But also, we’ve all spent a lot of time working in the Eastern Caribbean, and with the race ending in Antigua we feel strongly that our efforts should also raise funds for marine conservation education efforts in the West Indies.

Talisker Whisky Woman's Row Team

Our Goal

More specifically, we aim to raise a total of $500,000 for marine conservation organizations, split evenly between the The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre — a non-profit marine station with large public education and field course programs, Green Wave — a non-profit based in Connecticut (USA) dedicated to knowledge transfer related to sustainable ocean farming, and Shellback Expeditions— a non-profit started by Chantale and colleagues dedicated to involving budding marine scientists in conservation projects in the Eastern Caribbean.

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The Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre is a world-class teaching and research facility located on the outer west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, situated in the traditional territory of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Bamfield hosts an award-winning K-12 education program, runs field courses for university students, and supports research in marine ecology and conservation. The funds we raise will go specifically to the creation of a scholarship fund for students of underrepresented minorities to attend field courses and carry out marine conservation research.

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Green Wave’s mission is to train and support regenerative ocean farmers in the era of climate change. Regenerative ocean farming is a polyculture system that grows kelp and shellfish—crops which require no input of food or fertilizer, making them the most sustainable food production on the planet! Kelp is extremely nutritious and can be used in a variety of commercial applications, from fertilizer for land-based farming to a biodegradable alternative to plastic packaging.

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Shellback was founded in 2017 to support marine research, conservation and education, with a special focus on the Eastern Caribbean. Shellback has supported research to find better and more accurate ways of measuring sediment accumulation rates on coral reefs, which is crucial to understand how land use affects downstream reefs and use this information for management decisions. Shellback also supports continued reef monitoring efforts throughout the region by linking university students in service-learning field courses with community partners interested in data that can be generated through these courses.

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