In this week’s Community Spotlight, Project AWARE catches up with Mary Christensen, a scuba instructor at Island Divers Hawaii.
Tell us about your passion for ocean conservation.
I am a scuba diver, environmental activist and ocean lover! I fell in love with the ocean the first time I visited and haven’t stopped yet. I started out just picking up trash on my own, but my passion soon grew and I started running clean ups in my community.
Why and when did you get involved with Project AWARE?
I was introduced to Project AWARE when I became a PADI Professional Dive Member. I have been involved in many beach and shore clean ups over the years. When the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty Course came around, I got certified as an instructor in it right away.
What are some issues that are affecting your local dive site or favorite underwater areas?
Here in Oahu, Hawaii, we are an island that has always been heavily fished by the locals. Our reef walls are rich with hard corals, and fishing lines are caught there quite often. Because our dive sites are difficult to get to from shore and we have a heavy current, they are a challenge to clean. My dive center, Island Divers Hawaii, is one of the only companies in Oahu that takes care of marine debris here!
What Project AWARE programs have you participated in? Tell us about your work.
Here at Island Divers Hawaii, we offer the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty Course. We also try to get people interested in other conservation-related distinctive specialty courses, including the AWARE Shark Conservation Distinctive Specialty. We do Earth Day Dive Against Debris dives and shore clean ups. We continually try to keep people aware that what gets thrown away usually ends up in the ocean.
What is the most important thing you tell others about Project AWARE?
Love our OCEAN….She will love you back. Become aware of the issues the ocean faces, and then do something about it! Every action makes a difference.