We had the good fortune of connecting with Ivonne Gamboa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ivonne, we’d love to hear more about how your organization started?
Founded in 1998 by a small group of environmentally concerned yacht owners, The International SeaKeepers Society strives to increase current knowledge about the oceans, promote and facilitate scientific discovery and raise awareness about critical ocean issues. SeaKeepers works directly with the yachting community as an essential component and contributor to ocean research and conservation efforts. The organization runs several yacht-centric programs to accomplish this mission.
Can you open up a bit about the work you do? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
SeaKeepers is most proud of the work accomplished in our local community. In 2019, we started beach cleanups in Virginia Key, Key Biscayne that has now evolved into beach, park, dive, and paddle cleanups in the greater-Miami area. So far, we’ve hosted 55 cleanups with 1,922 volunteers and a total of 7,260.5 pounds of trash collected. With so many different amazing organizations working towards the same goal, it was important to get the message across to the right people. We’ve overcome these hurdles through the help of our partners and our incredible social media supporters.
We want the world to know that you don’t need to be a marine scientist or educator to make an impact. We encourage all citizens to do their part, no matter how small, to protect this incredible life source we call the Ocean. Your effort can range from switching every day single-use plastics to reusable products, spreading the word and raising awareness with your peers, donating to an organization that matters to you or finding out and joining local cleanup events happening around you! If all of us begin to think that our actions are insignificant in the grander scale of things, nothing will get done. We have the power to ensure future generations can enjoy these incredible resources!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
When you think of Miami, the first go-to spot that comes to mind is our beaches! You can find your perfect place in the Sun, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea. We recommend going to Key Biscayne for a nice family outing, as it offers an incredible view and is much quieter than other well-known beaches around town. This Key also gets a lot of attention from our cleanup volunteers so you can always count on it being much cleaner of marine debris. After a long day of sunbathing, you can go down the street to the Rusty Pelican for some of the best seafood in the city, where you can watch boats pass under the bridge with locals and tourists from all corners of the world. You can then finish your day with a visit to the Frost Museum of Science, an exhibition of innovation, science and wonder in Biscayne Boulevard. Their volunteer project, MUVE, has been an incredible program partner to us in hosting beach cleanups!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
SeaKeepers works directly with the boating community, enabling them to take full advantage of their unique potential to advance marine sciences and raise awareness about global ocean issues through our DISCOVERY Yacht Program. We’re extremely grateful for the many different types of vessels which participate in our programming and comprise the Fleet. The program’s existence is through the generous support of private vessels which are made available for scientist-led expeditions, citizen science, educational outreach events and community engagement activities. SeaKeepers collaborates with numerous organizations, academic institutions, and government agencies in order to accomplish its DISCOVERY Yacht missions. SeaKeepers staff work closely with yacht owners and crew to coordinate research and outreach activities that reflect each yacht owner’s ocean-related interests. SeaKeepers supports a wide variety of programming.
Tony Gilbert, Ivonne Gamboa, Maggie Winchester, Lee Savage