The Human Library - Read me
Wouldn't you love to sign out a life sized book and ask it whatever you wanted? The kids at St. George's Elementary School have that chance every month. I had the pleasure of being March's 'book'. About 90 kids came through in three hours. We told stories and had a hands on experience with sea stars, crabs, nudibranchs and a sea cucumber. Such a fun day! Big thank you to St. George's staff and students.
Sammy's first selfie
Ted Talk Ripple Effect
Waking up on November 26, was one of those mornings where you open your eyes and for a brief moment, you don't know what day it is yet. And then it clicks: "today's the day!" No doubt, 11 of my fellow speakers were waking up with the same feeling. A whopping 300 people came out that day to experience the TEDxRenfrewCollingwood event. 12 speakers, 1 violinist and a comedian were on the day long agenda.
I was scheduled right before lunch. "Is that the worst spot or the best spot?" I thought. I didn't want to ask why they had decided to slot me there. People were going to be hungry and likely overwhelmed with all the amazing ideas they had heard from the earlier speakers. Good thing I practiced the talk about 100 times. I am going to have to dazzle em'.
Just this Wednesday, November 26, I got a call from a friend who is in the aquarium/museum biz and he said "I just watched your talk! It was great!".
"Wait, what? You couldn't have it hasn't been posted yet."
"No, I just watched it, I loved the story about Sammy. Brought a tear to my eye!" he said.
I did a quick google search and there it was! He had seen it before I did!
"It's up, it's up!" I called to my husband, "stop what you're doing and get over here". We braced ourselves and pressed the big circle play button on the middle of my face.
In just over 48 hours, the talk has over 1000 views. My hope is that those 1000 people WILL take a closer look at the ocean, wonder about the life that lives beneath the surface and activate from a place of fascination, instead of guilt, to conserve our oceans.
Have you seen it yet? If so, how did you like it? What has it inspired you to do? Please leave me a comment. Thank you for reading, sharing and responding.
With deep blue gratitude,
Manifesting a Harbour View
First thing in the morning, you click on Chrome or Internet Explorer. What comes up?
For me, for almost two years, Chrome was set to open up five tabs automatically:
2. Royal Bank (always gotta keep your eye on your personal finances)
3. My website editor
4. Mini Aquarium facebook page, and
5. St. John's Harbour view webcam.
Everyday, I would wake up at 6:00am and check them all.
This webcam pointed right out to the St. John's Harbour "narrows", named for its narrow opening to the open sea, and the charismatic row houses of St. John's.
During the day, I would see ships coming and going. If I checked at night, you would just see the glows of headlights of horny teenagers on top of Signal Hill (left).
I opened this webcam everyday to remind myself where I wanted to be, what I was doing it all for, to see the community I was hoping to make a difference within. See the ocean I was hoping to protect. Plus, Newfoundlanders love taking about the weather so you "gots" to know what's blowing.
One day while during the summer, I sat down on my bed and opened my laptop. I clicked on the fifth tab and saw the beautiful view of the narrows and the city of St. John's on the webcam.
I slowly looked up just over my laptop screen, to the window frame in front of me and then to the wide open view in front of me, and I realized - it was the exact same view.
The webcam that I had watched for years was attached to the building just one block away from the apartment building Ruby and I had rented for the summer. When Ruby and I signed for the apartment, we knew we had hit the jackpot with this two floor, two bedroom apartment in a converted church with big bay windows overlooking the harbour. But I didn't put it all together until just then.
It was the most remarkable feeling to know that all that thought and intention, came to fruition. Not just the manifestation of a super rad apartment with a killer view. It was the realization that the dream of opening a Mini Aquarium in Newfoundland, just as I had envisioned, had come true. The feeling was unmatched.
What are you looking at everyday? What are you manifesting?
Choose wisely. You could get exactly what you seek.
On grand opening day of the Petty Harbour Mini-Aquarium in the active fishing community of Petty Harbour, Newfoundland, Maya was going to pee her pants with excitement. Nine-year-old Maya had lived in Petty Harbour her whole life. Fifteen minutes from the capital city of St. John’s, Maya and her sister both wiggled with anticipation for the doors to open while listening to the speeches. “Can we go in yet?” she whispers while pulling on her mom’s jacket. “Come on!”
“Shhh,” whispers her mom, “just a couple of more minutes”. They waited huddled under a pink kid-sized umbrella in the light rain amongst the crowd of 200 or more locals, Townies, tourists and media cameras.
Once the doors opened, the Mini-Aquarium flooded with people.
Maya, bright eyed, quickly darted on her tip-toes between towering adults and their kids past the crowd and into the aquarium. She immediately found the touch tanks, open topped tanks that you can put your hands into and gently touch the hardy local animals, like sea stars.
She gasped and her jaw dropped. She laid eyes on this purple five-armed creature that she recognized only from the Little Mermaid and ocean colouring books. Maya had never seen a sea star before.
Kelsey, a staff interpreter on her first real day on the job, enthusiastically told Maya: “Isn't it so cool?" Maya quietly nodded with her mouth still open in awe. "Wanna count the arms with me?" A small crowd had built up, of about 7 or 8 children and half a dozen parents and grandparents onlooking. Kelsey slowly counted out five arms, with the help of parents trying to help get their kid to not be shy. Although silent, Maya eyes intensely watched as Kelsey's finger slowly went from arm to arm as she counted.
"Five arms! How many arms do you have?" Kelsey asked.
"Two!", the other children blurted out knowledgeably.
"Well, do you think sea stars can see?” Maya’s eyes widened and she looked up at her mom as if to say, “What kind of question is that?”
“Well, they can,” Kelsey continued. “On the tips of all five of their arms, they have tiny light-sensitive spots. Look!” Kelsey held up the sea star so Maya could see it, eye to eye. Kelsey explained that the sea star couldn’t see pictures like you and I can, but can instead see light, shadows and shapes to help them find shelter and food.
Maya looked closely, trying to make sense of what she was hearing, trying to make eye contact with this creature. Her jaw still slack, studying, she looked up at her mom and smiled. She tugged on her mom’s jacket, bouncing on her toes with silent excitement.
“Wanna feel it?” Kelsey offered. Without hesitation, Maya reached out to touch. "Your pinkie is best, can you show me your pinkie?" Kelsey asked.
Maya studied her hand, concentrating on clasping all her fingers while keeping the pinkie straight. It took a second. She proudly showed just her pinkie up, Kelsey and Maya gently touched the back of the sea star together. "What does it feel like?" Kelsey asked.
A slight delay caused by lack of appropriate vocabulary to effectively describe the unique epidermis of the pink sea star, Maya looked up and said "whoa".
I stand corrected. She was able to find the perfect vocabulary after all.
After an hour of closely inspecting each exhibit with her sister, Maya's mother had to promise they would be back tomorrow to get them to go along home with her.
The next day, when Maya and her family returned, Maya's mother told us that Maya didn't get any sleep that night. That Maya was too excited. She told her mom that she too was going to be a marine biologist like Kelsey when she got older.
Maya had brought a friend along with her today. She pulled her by the arm towards the touch tanks. Kelsey overheard Maya say, “See, they have eyes on the tips of every arm.” Her friends jaw was on the floor.
Bringing the ocean to eye level. Melanie Knight will make you fall in love with the oceans and nerd out on nudibranchs.