For the past few months, we’ve observed how the new Dive Against Debris program is fairing with you, our fearless AWARE divers. We’ve been asking questions about the underwater data you reported and surveying divers to ultimately improve the program.
Thank you for sharing your feedback and experiences with us! Your insights are invaluable to the future development of Dive Against Debris and our campaign to prevent debris from entering our ocean. Almost 70% of data submitters responded to our survey (maybe it was the enticing promise of AWARE swag. But hey, we’ll take it).
To our surprise, respondents didn’t seem to use the Marine Debris Identification Guide as we intended it to be: a reference document to help you and your volunteers properly classify debris and easily record the data. So we’ll look to tweak a few of these resources to make them work better for you in the field. We’ll also look at how to make the resources more accessible on the website and easier to print.
And we’ll also prioritize some long-awaited translations for a truly global program – a majority of you (61%) have prioritized the Self Study Guide, the Data Card and Marine Debris ID Guide for translations.
Over 70% of respondents thought the online data submission form was user friendly. Yet, we’re not yet hitting the mark with online data return. (We’d like to see more of it, more frequently). More importantly, though, we heard you want to be sure that your data doesn’t disappear into the "big black hole" and would like to see the results of the data you submit online. We look forward to making online visualization a reality next year.
Unfortunately, confusion over what Dive Against Debris is, persists. While over half of those surveyed chose "underwater debris and data collection" as the best description of the program, many also continue to confuse it with the old "International Cleanup Day" or "a beach and underwater data collection". And speaking of data collection, as much as 25% of you said you didn’t use the new data card at all. There is no Dive Against Debris without your accurate data. So please use the Dive Against Debris Data Card to ensure your hard work doesn’t go to waste.
Ultimately, we, AWARE staff, know that shifting focus to an underwater, year-round, anytime, Dive Against Debris program at sites you care about most is going to take some time. So thanks for joining us on this journey and we look forward to continuing to connect the data for change, locally and globally.
And, of course, if you didn’t have a chance to participate in the survey, but would like to share your thoughts please email DiveAgainstDebris@projectaware.org. We’re listening over here!