Dive Industry Foundation at Our World-Underwater

DIFlogo-tag-200Dive Industry Foundation
Non-profit 501(c)(3)
Our World-Underwater Booth 213
February 26-28, 2016

Please stop by our Booth 213 at the 46th Annual Our World-Underwater Show, In Rosemont, IL.  Here is what you will see…

  • FREE Subscription – DIA Weekly Dive News
  • FREE Subscription – Monthly Newsletter – The Dive Industry Professional
  • Information on the DIVE LOCAL Campaign
  • DIVE LOCAL Donation & Sponsorship Opportunities
  • Retail Dive Center Survey & Results
  • Manufacturing Sales Rep Survey & Results
  • Business Course – Hypergrow Your Business
  • New Book – The TriStart Matrix: Signed Copy Available for $20 Donation
  • New Book – Hire Your First Employee by Rhonda Abrams
  • Book – Blackbeard by Margaret Hoffman: Available for $24 Donation
  • Dive Industry Foundation – Business Consultancy Services
  • Free Marketing Tips on using Social Media, Press Releases & Trade Shows
  • Free Press Release Information on Constant Contact.  discounts available.
  • Information on Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society Programs
  • Drawing for Books, Courses, Handcrafted Pen
  • Fundraiser – Mask Bag – $10 Donation
Posted in Trade Shows & Events | Leave a comment

Daniel Copeland Selected – 2015 European Rolex Scholar

It is a great pleasure to announce that Mr. Daniel Copeland, age 23, from North Wales has been selected to be the 2015 European Rolex Scholar of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society.

DANIEL COPELAND | BIOGRAPHY:

Danny-Copeland-200Daniel Copeland, 23, has always enjoyed learning about, understanding and experiencing different aspects of the natural world. Despite this underlying passion, and a childhood living along the coast of North Wales, his plan throughout most of high school was to follow a path in electronic media and graphic design. It wasn’t until he took his first breathes underwater during an introductory ocean dive in a harbor in Malta, that Daniel’s love for the underwater world rapidly bubbled to the surface. During that dive, he was captivated by an unlikely encounter with a colorful and curious cuttlefish an experience that changed the direction of his life forever.

Over the next few years, Daniel gained his PADI Open Water diving certification in Turkey, enrolled on an Open University, self-taught course in marine science, and embarked on a month-long expedition to Ecuador. Here he was fortunate enough to experience the rich marine biodiversity of the Galapagos archipelago, snorkeling with sea lions, sharks and penguins during a week tour of these famed islands. He was hooked! A career revolving around the underwater world was now the only path for him.

Daniel took a year out from education to further his diving skills and continued travelling to foreign shores. He spent three months immersed in the scuba culture of Thailand’s islands, where he was trained as a PADI Divemaster and to service Aqualung regulators. Daniel then headed to Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, to experience an unforgettable introduction to cenote diving, and to unexpectedly attend the world’s second largest underwater wedding!

Daniel completed his degree in Zoology at the University of Sheffield in 2014. Although he was distant from the sea, Daniel managed to keep the underwater world a constant during his studies. He became a member of the university’s subaqua club, serving on the club’s committee and participating in the organization and management of various dive trips around the UK. Through the club he was trained as a drysuit and Nitrox diver, and later began teaching fellow students as a BSAC Assistant Diving Instructor.

In 2012 Daniel interned at the Marine Discovery Centre at Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives, where he assisted the resident biologists with their turtle rehabilitation, coral reef propagation, and fish breeding programes. It was here that Daniel also helped the Manta Trust collect photo ID data of manta rays within Baa Atoll and the world famous Hanifaru MPA. He went on to assist other scientists studying marine megafauna, including tagging whale sharks in Tanzania and supporting another manta ray researcher in Indonesia. His final year research project focused on gender differences in the skin morphology of lesser-spotted catsharks, whilst his dissertation assessed the effectiveness of ecotourism in the conservation of elasmobranchs.

Throughout his experiences, Daniel has enlisted different ways of sharing his passion for the underwater world. He has organized stands and given public presentations on manta conservation at several UK dive shows, and recently helped to manage a Scottish festival dedicated to basking sharks. Putting his existing media skills to good use, he has collaborated with marine NGOs to spearhead multiple online campaigns to garner public support of protective legislation for sharks and rays, reaching an audience of more than four million people. After developing a keen interest for underwater photography and videography, he placed 2nd in an amateur wildlife film competition ran by a popular UK natural history TV channel, with a one-minute film on blue sharks.

Over the years, Daniel’s desires have developed from pursuing a career in the underwater world, to developing one where he also plays a part in conserving it. Despite the armada of anthropogenic impacts that threaten our oceans, Daniel believes that the biggest challenge is inciting the world to care about these threats in the first place. His goal is to gain a better understanding of how to reconnect people with the ocean using a variety of different strategies – after all, a world that continues to be disconnected from its marine environment will have no interest in fighting to protect it. Daniel is honored to be appointed the OWUSS European Rolex Scholar for 2015, and believes it will provide an invaluable opportunity for him to learn how he can play a role in rekindling a love for our blue planet.

 

Posted in Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society, Scholarships | Leave a comment

Ben Buchan Appointed 2015 Australasian Rolex Scholar

It is a great pleasure to announce that Mr. Ben Buchan, from New South Wales, Australia has been selected to be the 2015 Australasian Rolex Scholar of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society.

BEN BUCHAN | BIOGRAPHY:

Ben-Buchan-200I grew up on the Central Coast of New South Wales, and have lived within 10 minutes of a beach  since I was 11 years old. For as long as I can remember, I have had a deep fascination with the  marine environment, and have always had the desire to learn as much as possible.

I gained my open water diving certification at the age of 15 as part of my marine studies class at  high school, which is when I became addicted to diving. Upon the completion of my Higher School  Certificate in 2010, I started my Bachelor of Marine Science in 2011 at Macquarie University,  North Ryde. Through my studies, I became more passionate about the marine environment and I  was offered the opportunity to volunteer in Cambodia in the initiation of a coral reef  regeneration project with Reach Out Volunteers.

For an entire month in January of 2012, I stayed on an island called Koh Rong in Cambodia, in a  tiny village that had not had any western influence. The reef around this village was so degraded  from the use of non-sustainable fishing practices, including the use of dynamite. Over this month,  the team I was  part of removed over 100 nets from the surrounding reef, and focused on  teaching the village proper and sustainable fishing practices. It was through this time I realized  the significance that education and public awareness has on the conservation of continued  protection of the marine environment. I left Cambodia with the desire to share my knowledge  and experiences of the ocean with as many people as possible.

Back in Australia, I continued my commitment to Reach Out Volunteers, and begun recruiting  other students to volunteer in a range of environmental and community development projects  around the world. In 2013, I became a scuba instructor, and have since been able to share my  passion and knowledge of the marine environment with my students that have been from all  around the world.

As part of my university degree, I secured a volunteer position at Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, and  was involved in many aspects of animal husbandry from feeding, cleaning, and monitoring life  support systems from rescue animals. I had the opportunity to work with animals from small fish  and invertebrates, to large sharks, turtles and stingrays. Here, I had the unique opportunity to  share the importance of marine conservation with a diverse audience.

Before my final semester or university in January of 2014, I returned to Koh Rong in Cambodia to  again assist in the continuation of the coral reef regeneration project. I was inspired by the new  attitude of the village towards the marine environment, and overwhelmed by the increased  health of the surrounding reef.  Over the course of January of 2014, I certified 35 volunteers for  their open water course, and as a team, we deployed artificial reef pods to aid in the growth of  this reef system. Now, there are over 100 artificial pods surrounding this growing reef, and the  project continues today, with volunteers constantly traveling to aid in the program.

In June of 2014, I graduated with a Bachelor of Marine Science, and begun working as a Shark  Dive Coordinator at Manly SEA LIFE Sanctuary, having the unique opportunity to not only  introduce people to the diving experience, but get them up close and personal with large Grey Nurse sharks, education them about the importance of shark conservation.

I have since begun my Master of Marine Science and Management at Macquarie University, and am currently focused on the social behavior of sharks. I am currently living on Heron Island as a dive instructor, again having the opportunity to share my passion for diving, and the marine  environment, with a particular focus on the importance of the Great Barrier Reef system.   I look forward to the opportunity to add to my list of experiences, and participate in a number of  important marine projects throughout the scholarship year.

 

Posted in Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society, Scholarships | Leave a comment

Michele Felberg Appointed 2015 North American Rolex Scholar

owuss_logo-2owuss-100March 4, 2015

Dear OWUSS Friends,

It is my very great pleasure to announce that Ms. Michele Felberg, age 23, from Houston, Texas was selected on March 2nd to be the 2015 North American Rolex Scholar of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society.  Michele earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Studies, with a minor in Economics, from the University of Southern California. She is a NAUI Divemaster  and AAUS Scientific Diver. She is currently living in Palau, where she is a Dive Guide and Underwater Naturalist.  Her primary underwater interests are research, conservation, and finding innovative ways to encourage people to cherish and protect the ocean. Please see the attached bio and photo to learn more about Michele.

The Scholarship Selection Committee feels that Michele is highly qualified to excel in her role representing the Scholarship Society and has the determination and passion to make a lasting contribution to the underwater world in the future.

I am sure you will all wish to join me in welcoming Michele to the Scholarship family and wish her success in her upcoming year of challenge, adventure, and learning. She can be reached at felberg@usc.edu.

Michele-Felberg-200Michele Felberg Bio:  Michele Felberg, from Houston, Texas, always had an affinity for water but didn’t quite grasp her love for the underwater world until her years earning a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and a minor in Economics at the University of Southern California.  It was during her sophomore year that she realized the magnitude of her passion and curiosity through her participation in two new Environmental Studies courses.  First, in the Intro to Scientific Diving course she earned her NAUI Open Water certification as well as the AAUS scientific diver certification.  In the second course, Integrated Ecosystem Management in Micronesia, she intensively studied the marine ecology, biodiversity, and conservation management of Micronesia and then traveled to Guam and Palau for a field research trip to evaluate coral reef health.  Data collected in this research were used, in part, as justification for listing Palau’s Southern Lagoon as a World Heritage Site.

This experience opened Michele’s eyes to the beauty and complexity of the marine world and she decided to pursue a concentration within the Environmental Studies department called “Oceans, Life, and People” which focused her studies on the underwater world. She spent half of her junior year in New Zealand, where she studied marine science, conducted research on freshwater macroinvertebrate populations and stream health, and sparked her love of adventure traveling.  As a senior she worked as a research assistant on a seagrass-monitoring project in Big Fisherman’s Cove on Catalina Island, examining monthly fluctuations in seafloor coverage of a foundation species of seagrass, Zostera marina. Michele presented the results of this research at the annual Southern California Academy of Sciences symposium.  Supplementing her research diving, she earned her Rescue Diver and Training Assistant certifications during the fall of her senior year.  The few weekends of her senior year Michele didn’t spend diving on Catalina Island, she was heavily involved in an organization called SC Outfitters, leading students on hiking and camping trips around the Southwest US, sharing her passion for the great outdoors and exploration.

During her last semester at USC, Michele was asked to serve as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the two environmental studies courses that initiated her interest in the underwater world. This position is rarely offered to an undergraduate. While assisting in the teaching of academic content and class logistics, Michele helped with the dive training of the new students and earned her Divemaster certification. Immediately upon graduation, she returned to Micronesia as a TA for the USC summer research field course in Palau. At the end of the class she was offered a position as a Dive Guide/ Underwater Naturalist at one of the top dive centers in Palau. Her work in Palau has fed her love for experiencing new cultures, diving, and sharing the wonders of the underwater world with the guests she guides. She has opportunities to assist visiting researchers  with their projects and was instrumental in developing a lecture series to inform guests, from a scientific perspective, about the local fauna, flora, and reef ecology. In addition, living in Palau has given her a greater appreciation for the power of local communities tied to the oceans and a better understanding of the importance of incorporating local knowledge with scientific research.  On the few days a month she doesn’t dive, Michele enjoys reading a good book, going on runs, exploring the land attractions of Palau, and wishing she was diving.

One of Michele’s long-range goals is to provide a legacy of relentless pursuit of the conservation and protection of the oceans by fostering within others a mindset that every individual can make a positive impact on marine conservation.

Posted in Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society, Scholarships | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment