Over 70 percent of the world is covered in water and almost 97 percent of that water comes from the oceans. The ocean plays a vital role in all aspects of life and is a quintessential part of the Coastal Carolina community. Whether it’s students going to the beach to get away from classes and studying or students going out and collecting research, the oceans are critical to the community.
Kyle Massie, a Coastal Carolina alumnus who graduated in May 2016, started the Ocean Heroes Project with some of his fellow classmates in an effort to boost public awareness about ocean conservation.
“We started as a couple of undergrads that wanted to be able to change the way people think about science,” said Massie. “We wanted people to have fun with it as well as attract some crowds that would not typically come to certain events that are marine science oriented.”
According to their website, the Ocean’s Heroes Project “will create a pathway for educating the general public about ocean issues while raising and distributing funds to scientists working in fields advancing the health and sustainability of our oceans. Ocean conservation education and funding are our main objectives”.
Massie elaborated a bit more on the meaning behind the organization’s mission statement.
“With that, comes a lot of creative thought and trying to figure out a way to get people to enjoy their time while they are learning and be able to make sure that we can provide a space for them to learn,” said Massie.
Massie also helped create ‘Conservation Reef’, which allows other non-profits to come through and show what they are doing on the conservation front. Organizations like Oceana, Coastal Conservation League, Waccamaw River Keepers and many others have worked with Massie in recent months.
Massie says that the main objective they would like see Ocean Heroes Project reach is creating an undergraduate research fellowship program.
“With that, comes a lot of fundraising,” said Massie. “That is why we have partnered with the City of Myrtle Beach. They wanted to be able to help establish concerts, surf contests and obstacle course race within the upcoming year.”
Massie touched on why having people come out and show their support for their organization is important to ocean conservation.
“The ocean is a way of life,” said Massie. “Water is a universal solvent for everything and whether it be an activity you like to get involved with or a health benefit you like to be involved with, you are going to be using water some way or another. The oceans hold ecosystems that are important to our livelihood as well as ecotourism in general.”
Ocean Heroes Project has also been partnering with Coastal Carolina University for recent events. Massie touched on what working with his alma mater means to him.
“Personally, I love it,” said Massie. “I get to go back and work with the professors who I spent hours in their offices trying to figure things out. I enjoy working with them and going to those professors and telling them that I want to help these students go further than I could have gone.”
On March 23, Ocean’s Heroes Project hosted their first ever event, a 5K/1 mile run/walk called ‘Race For The Ocean’ at the Market Common. Massie said that the event was a huge success.
“Putting this together and working with a group of people that do not have a lot of marketing experience or that kind of background was incredible,” said Massie. “There were some moments where I got to sit back and watch some kids enjoy themselves while learning about the sciences. One of my biggest hopes is to draw younger kids towards these events as in middle or high schoolers and I got watch these kids go to an event and do stuff that they never would have seen before if it wasn’t for us being able to provide that space for them.”
Massie said that he received an immense amount of positive feedback from that event and is looking forward to doing more events throughout the summer.
For more on Ocean’s Heroes Project or if you would like to donate to their cause, visit their website at https://www.oceansheroesproject.org/