Oceanic Society’s Adopt an Albatross program is off to a wonderful start this hatch year. With the support of our adopters we are able to lend support to the important seabird habitat conservation efforts of our project partners (Friends of Midway Atoll and Kure Atoll Conservancy) at albatross breeding sites on Kure and Midway Atolls. This year’s albatross breeding pair count on Midway Atoll recorded the 2nd highest count ever observed there, with more than 588,000 individual albatross nests counted.
We have also joined forces with artist and marine conservationist, Krisztina Dekany, who is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Krisztina and I started talking after I discovered her amazing nature and marine life illustrations on her Instagram profile. When I reached out to Krisztina to see if she would be interested in collaborating with Oceanic Society by creating some albatross art pieces for our Adopt an Albatross program, she became very excited. She later told me why: first, she was drawn to the beauty of these birds and, second, she feared for them due to the threats they face from plastic pollution in the ocean. Krisztina said, “I wanted to raise awareness through beauty.”
“Raising awareness through beauty” is exactly why Oceanic Society believes that collaborations with artists can be so powerful for inspiring the pro-ocean behavior changes (Blue Habits) that are needed by all of us in order to improve ocean health.
Krisztina’s love for the oceans started when she was 5 years old: “My dad brought me a tropical shell and told me that if I lift it to my ear I could hear the ocean in it. It significantly changed my life, and I've always passionately loved nature and marine life since then. Ever since I moved to the United Kingdom 7 years ago, I have lived by the sea. It's been a great influence.”
Although I discovered that Krisztina’s favorite marine animal is the orca (which she still has never seen in the wild), I asked her what she thought about while she was drawing the albatross chick and thinking about plastics in our oceans. She said, “I've always loved albatrosses and it made me care for the problem even more. I would like to make others care for the albatrosses and to keep our oceans free from pollution.”
I hope you enjoy these images that Krisztina has created for us to use in our educational outreach efforts. We are planning a new adoption tier soon that will include a copy of Krisztina’s drawing. Thank you to all who have supported the adoption programs. If you would like to purchase any of Krisztina’s art you can visit her Etsy page; proceeds from her sales now benefit Oceanic Society.
Wayne Sentman is our director of conservation travel programs and an Oceanic Society naturalist since 1998. He is an experienced guide with a diverse background in marine mammal, seabird, and marine debris research. Wayne also co-teaches undergraduate field programs in Kenya on human-wildlife conflict and on the use of social media and art to raise public participation in conservation. He recently received a Master's in Environmental Management from Harvard University.