There’s a new ocean education webseries premiering this week on YouTube that features freediving champion Mehgan Heaney-Grier.
Three high school students from landlocked Colorado will spend the spring semester studying marine science, learning to scuba dive, and preparing for a dive and research expedition to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary after being awarded “A Rising Tide” scholarships from Ocean First, a Boulder, Colorado-based swim, dive and travel operator.
The three students are Fatima Flores Almanza, a sophomore from Academy High School in Thornton; Joshua Johnston, a home-schooled junior from Lafayette; and Emily Sanchez, a junior from Longmont High School.
Meeting together on weekends, the students will work with Heaney-Grier, as well as other scientists, educators, and filmmakers. The students are also capturing their experiences in the program on video that will be featured as part of the new documentary web series, A Rising Tide, created by New Focus Films of Lafayette, Colorado.
Beginning March 22, one webisode will be released per week on A Rising Tide’s YouTube channel for 18 weeks, culminating with the students’ open water trip to Key Largo, Florida.
The scuba diving and classroom instruction began in January at Ocean First in Boulder, with a water fitness evaluation and instruction on snorkeling, scuba gear, and shallow water practice. The next round of classes are set for end of April with more diving and an introduction to emergency skills, and an overview of some of the issues impacting the ocean today, like plastic pollution and invasive species. In May, the students will refine their dive skills and also receive instruction from Ocean First Education in Ocean Literacy and Fish Identification. The expedition to Key Largo, Florida will take place in June.
All three students are being completely outfitted with scuba gear provided by Mares and instruction from Scuba Schools International.
Ocean First founder Graham Casden said he is thrilled to provide scholarships for the inaugural “A Rising Tide” web series, and hopes to repeat the process each year with the next round of submissions starting again this fall for a spring 2019 program. Casden said:
“Enthusiasm for learning about the ocean knows no bounds — and students from landlocked states like Colorado perhaps have a keener interest because they don’t take it for granted. These experiences serve to educate and empower the students, and as all boats rise with the tide, today’s youth will become tomorrow’s heroes. At the end of their experiences, these students will have pathways to continue their journey and given the right opportunities, they can change the world.”