We had a great presentation last night from Kurt Lieber of Ocean Defenders Alliance. If anyone is interested in helping out this organization - especially by donating photos or videos to be used in outreach and educational materials - please see their "Volunteer Opportunities Onshore" page. There's a form near the bottom of the page that you can fill out and send to ODA where you can indicate how you're interested in contributing. Last night's minicomp topic was "Big", and the winners have been posted in our gallery:

March 2014 Minicomp Winners

Stills: 1st Place - Bill Van Antwerp 2nd Place - Fletcher Forbes 3rd Place - Jeff Laity Video: 1st Place - Nannette Van Antwerp 2nd Place - Anastasia Laity 3rd Place - Dana Rodda Congratulations!

1st Place: Bill Van Antwerp

Please join us in the Times Mirror room of the Natural History Museum at 7:30pm, Wednesday March 19, for a presentation by Kurt Lieber of Ocean Defenders. From the Ocean Defenders website:

Founded in 2002 and based in Orange County, California, Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit grassroots marine conservation organization. In the years leading up to the launch of ODA, the need for our work became appallingly apparent to Founder Kurt Lieber, an avid diver and self-made scholar of marine conservation news and information. On dive after dive, and all over the world, Kurt found abandoned commercial fishing gear on the ocean floor or attached to boat wrecks—where it indiscriminately kills marine flora and fauna long after its service to the fishing industry was over! At the same time, in his studies of the state of the world’s oceans, Kurt read widely diverse reports about the oceans, and came to understand the dire plight of life in the seas. The urgent call came clearly to him: rampant, escalating overfishing and man-made pollution was threatening the survival of marine wildlife and the overall health of the life-giving seas of the earth…and someone needed to DO something about it! His heart told him to take action, and his intellect agreed completely. So, with a 40-foot boat generously gifted to ODA by Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Kurt began taking volunteer divers to reported abandoned fishing gear sites. Using the boat as a dive platform, the divers descend at each location, cut the gear loose, and float it to the surface. Volunteers on the boat haul it onto the deck and take it back to shore for proper disposal. Animals such as lobsters, crabs, and fish found trapped alive are carefully liberated by ODA, and thus given a new chance to thrive, grow, and breed. In addition to doing invaluable work at sea, ODA also works onshore to educate the public about the vital need for clean and healthy oceans. Through educational presentations at schools, expos, festivals, and dive clubs, we strive to inform people of all types and ages, raise their awareness about the plight of the oceans, and inspire them to join our efforts. ODA also reaches out to fishermen, restaurants, and the seafood community to enlighten them to these issues and seek to gain their commitment to becoming better stewards of the oceans.

MARCH MINICOMP: This month’s minicomp topic is "Big". Please submit your entries using our upload form no later than 11:59pm Tuesday March 19. TRIP REPORTS We love having one or two people share their dive experiences at the beginning of meetings, so if you have a short trip report (about 5 minutes) you'd like to share, please e-mail the webmaster.