Thursday, June 23, 2016

Caley Anne McIntosh Charts Own Course

Marine Mammal Medic...and More!

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Caley Anne McIntosh is a Millennial with a mission. A marine mammal medic and more, she's making significant contributions in zoology and marine biology.

McIntosh, who graduated from Scotland's University of Dundee in 2014, has received several awards in biology, including the prestigious D'arcy Thompson Commemorative Medal, awarded to the best 1st class honours student in biological sciences.


"I have adored animals of all shapes and sizes since I could walk," McIntosh told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel. "As a toddler, I carried around a bag of toy farm animals with me everywhere I went!" 

When she was 16-years-old McIntosh completed a Nuffield Science Scholarship at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland's oldest university, founded in 1413. She decided to major in zoology because it provided "a broader understanding of all organisms, both marine and terrestrial."  

SurfWriter Girls are amazed by all the things McIntosh has accomplished in such a short time. Granted the rank of Associate Member of the Royal Society of Biology (AMRSB), McIntosh has a broad range of experience both on land and sea.

From researching the behavior of meerkats and assisting in seal rescues and penguin rehabilitation to mapping coral reefs in the Cayman Islands and tracking whale routes in Iceland, McIntosh is in the lab and out in the field.


Along with this, McIntosh is certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) with experience supervising student divers, overseeing dive set ups and site management activities, and search and recovery operations.  

As a marine mammal medic for the east coast of Scotland, McIntosh was an aquarist for Scotland's National Aquarium where she did everything from diving with the sharks to conducting daily zoological checks of the sea life and recording the animals' movements and activities.

Currently based in Iceland, McIntosh is a cetacean (whale) researcher, cataloguing whales for the Elding Adventure at Sea company. She documents whale sightings, records behavioral data and tracks the whales' routes in various weather conditions.


Asked why she loves her chosen career path so much, McIntosh says, "I truly believe that Life Science is the most exciting and dynamic field to be involved in right now. With current issues, such as human population growth, overfishing, and global warming, oceanic conservation has never been so important!”

“As (marine biologist and National Geographic explorer-in-residence) Sylvia Earle once said, 'Our actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years.'"

As for her future plans, McIntosh has big ones:  She plans to complete a Masters in Marine Mammal Science and "I would ultimately like to become a Marine Ecologist for a Consultancy at some point in the future. The dream would be to set up my very own Ocean Foundation one day!"

 Many people have questioned when the Millennials will leave the nest and become self-sustaining adults, putting their abilities to good use and doing something worthwhile.

One look at what Caley Anne McIntosh is doing and you can see that this Millennial is well on her way! 

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Women Making Waves

Nine Women Shaping Our Seas and Surfing

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Just as the ninth wave in a set is said to be larger and more powerful than the rest, the following nine dynamic women have had a powerful impact on the life of our oceans and the sport of surfing. 

Scientists, surfers, entrepreneurs, educators, artists, and more - they all share a passion for the world around them and a desire to make it better.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are excited about what these women have accomplished and believe that you will be, too.   
Catherine Barrett is Commerce Department Secretary Penny Pritzker's Deputy Director of Policy and advises on energy and the environment. She was Oceans Counsel for the Majority Staff of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, advising on ocean policy. She has been involved in coastal management, ecosystems, marine habitat, water quality, weather, and oversight of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Her wide experience puts attorney Barrett in the middle of this century's key environmental issues from global warming to rising sea levels and sustainability.

Linda Benson, surfing pioneer and movie stunt double, has been called the "Godmother of female surfing." A star at age 15, winning the 1959 Makaha International Championships, Benson  paved the way for women surfers who followed. The general public may not have known her name yet, but they knew her surfing - as the stunt double in the wildly popular Gidget films that made every teen want to grab a surfboard. A life-long advocate for surfing, Benson says it's "self-expression. Surfers use the waves as our canvas and the board as our pen."    

Heather Brown, internationally-acclaimed artist, utilizes intaglio printmaking, silk screening, lino cuts, woodcuts and etchings. Working as a boat captain and dive master to put herself through art school at the University of Hawaii, Brown captures the true essence of the world's most beautiful beaches and surf breaks. With galleries in Hawaii and Japan, she has created art for Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, developed a clothing line for Rip Curl, and contributes to many charities. She says, "I just want to make art that brings smiles to people's faces and aloha to their hearts."

Bethany Hamilton, champion surfer, author, foundation director, has inspired millions. After losing her left arm to a tiger shark at the age of thirteen, one month later she was back in the water and two years later won her first national title. Her bestselling autobiography Soul Surfer became a hit movie. Hamilton reaches out to amputees and youth through her foundation Friends of Bethany. Her new film Surfs Like A Girl will be released in 2017. Hamilton says her passion for surfing is "a gift from God" and it compels her to "surf against all odds."  

Dr. Melanie McField, Director, Healthy Reefs Initiative, Smithsonian Institution, Museum of Natural History, generates user-friendly tools to measure, track and report on the health of the Mesoamerican Reef Ecosystem. McField is a marine biologist and former Peace Corps volunteer, consultant to the Belize Coastal Zone Management Authority and Institute, the World Wildlife Fund, and Director of Healthy Reefs for Healthy People. An author and authority on coral reefs, she has been on TV's Today Show, National Geographic, and Animal Planet. 

Trish Meyler, Co-founder, BOGA Paddle & Surf Co., is growing the sport of stand up paddleboarding (SUP) and adding a new twist to it - yoga. Along with selling boards and equipment and licensing yoga instructors and floating studios, she leads people on tours to "explore the waterways of the world on our boards" to "share the SUP stoke and Aloha with our families and community." Meyler has launched studios around the globe and wants people to experience the joys of yoga in an ocean setting, while connecting with others.  

Julie Packard, Executive Director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is an international leader in ocean conservation and advocate for science-based policies that protect marine ecosystems and sea life. A marine biologist, Packard has built the aquarium into one of the world's top aquariums and initiated its Seawatch Program that supports sustainable fishing practices and guides consumers in environmentally-responsible food choices. Inspired by Monterey Bay, Packard wants to introduce people to "the incredible ocean life just off our coast and in the vast ocean beyond."   

Dr. Kathryn D. Sullivan, Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a scientist, astronaut and educator. The first US woman to walk in space, Sullivan's reach extends from the depths of the sea to outer space. She's done it all from satellite remote sensing and weather forecasting to mapping and charting the oceans. She co-chairs the committee that's building a Global Earth Observation System of Systems to provide environmental data for society's needs.

Ashley Lloyd Thompson, surfer, board shaper, musician, is one of the few women in the male-dominated field of board shaping. Putting her passion for surfing and for life into every custom board she makes, Thompson is known for her colorful creations - each one a unique piece of art. She says, "shaping is like a wave, it's always evolving." Along with her loyal following, Thompson made a splash with Oprah Winfrey and was featured in her O magazine. 

Approaching the world from different vantage points, each of these nine women is committed to making a difference and to safeguarding the ocean environment and mankind's enjoyment of it. 

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given. 

Friday, May 13, 2016

El Niño Brings Unexpected Beach Visitors

Tropical Sea Life Head to El Norte
Warm Temperatures are an Irresistible Lure

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

(weather scientists' name for the El Niño storms they predicted) may not have waded ashore in SoCal this year, but it did bring some unexpected visitors to Orange County's beaches. Many of them ones for the record books!

Even though the monster rains were a no-show, El Niño's warmer ocean currents weren't and the increased temperatures made the OC a desirable spot for sea life not normally seen this far north. 

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that some of the marine animals that ventured into our coastal waters included:  a Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake, Pacific Seahorses, gelatinous creatures called By-the-Wind Sailors, Pelagic red crabs, and an array of tropical fish ranging from giant whale sharks and tiny puffer fish to yellowfin tuna and blue-striped marlin. 

"Every tropical fish seems to have punched their ticket for Southern California," U.C., Santa Barbara, marine scientist Milton Love said, noting the crowded waters.

One of the most surprising ocean visitors was a rare (and highly venomous) Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake that washed up on the sand at Bolsa Chica State Beach in December during a Surfrider Foundation beach cleanup.

By the time volunteers discovered the snake it was dead, but when Surfrider sponsor La Video Drone sent video to the news media, it soon became apparent that the snake wasn't your typical find. Shortly afterward, Tony Soriano, Surfrider's Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter Chairperson, got a call from the Natural History Museum of Los AngelesCounty.

Before long, Gregory Pauly, the museum's Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians, was on the scene, calling the snake "an extremely important and rare find." He said, "This is only the third documented record of a Yellow-Bellied Sea Snake washing ashore in California."

Soriano added that it was definitely a Surfrider beach cleanup for the record books: "306.57 lbs of trash picked up; 20 lbs. Styrofoam collected; 1 rare sea snake found."
 In January diver Roger Hanson came across the sighting of a lifetime – a tiny Pacific Seahorse cruising along in Los Alamitos Bay. Hanson, a veteran diver with over 5,000 dives to his credit, couldn't believe his eyes.  The bright orange, whimsical seahorses are normally found in Latin America. Quoting Jacques Cousteau, Hanson said, "'You never know what you're going to see on your next dive.'"

Since then there have been other sightings of seahorses in Orange County and as far North as Santa Barbara Island.
In Newport Beach the sands were dotted a vivid, Windex-blue in April with the arrival of hundreds of By-the-Wind Sailors that literally blew into town on the winds and landed on the beach. Apparently drawn by the warmer water temperatures, the jellyfish-like sea creatures, which are about 2 1/2 inches long, were quickly snapped up by hungry sea gulls.

As for the Pelagic red crabs, which look like tiny lobsters, they have been popping up in fishing nets and washing up on beaches for months, far removed from their Baja California natural habitat.

With new beach arrivals in the OC continuing to surprise us, there's no telling what other visitors will follow in the warmth of El Niño's wake. As we've already seen, "Some like it hot."

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