indexJack O’Neill’s wetsuit innovations have helped generations find a love of the ocean through surfing, and by starting O’Neill Sea Odyssey he’s also introduced thousands of students to a life-long love of that ocean. On Friday, February 5, noted photographer David Dennis will hold a public exhibit of the faces of young people as they find that love while sailing Monterey Bay.

A free program which requires a community service project from each participating class, O’Neill Sea Odyssey has served 85,000 elementary school children, grades 4 to 6, from Monterey Bay and Santa Clara County. It takes place on the Team O’Neill catamaran with follow-up lessons at a shore-side education center in the O’Neill Building at the Santa Cruz Harbor. Often, the students served by the program have never been on a boat. Participating classes also receive free ocean science curriculum for use in their own classrooms.

The core of O’Neill Sea Odyssey is the ocean field trip that includes three onboard learning stations: navigation, including compasses and triangulation; marine ecology, including the kelp forest, marine mammals, and human impacts on Monterey Bay; and marine biology, specifically examining and learning about plankton. These stations are complemented by three stations at the education center including navigation, including reading and plotting navigational charts; marine ecology, covering the water cycle, watersheds, and ocean pollution from land-based activities; and marine biology, where the plankton samples collected on the boat are examined further using microscopes.

The faces of children as they learn in these hands-on science and environmental stewardship lessons while sailing Monterey Bay will be the subject of local photographer David Dennis’s show, “Faces of the Sea Odyssey,” which will take place from 5:00 to 10 PM on Friday, February 5 at the Food Lounge Santa Cruz, 1001 Center Street.  The photos will be of students who took the sea-faring class on June 23, 2015 from the Nueva Vista Community Resources in Santa Cruz and a class of students with special needs from Buena Vista School in San Jose.

indx“David Dennis has created an approach he calls philanthropic photography,” said Dan Haifley, Executive Director of the O’Neill Sea Odyssey, “This will be his seventh fundraising show in the last two years, and we’re excited to be working with him on this event. David also works for Microsoft, and they’ll be supporting this fundraiser, as well.”

“The work of the O’Neill Sea Odyssey to start kids off early with an appreciation for our marine environment and for conserving it is exemplary,” said David Dennis. “I’m humbled to be involved with such a great organization.”

The event is expected to have huge turnout. It will feature live music by Trio Guadalupano, food by Ocean 2 Table, beer by Humble Sea Brewery, art from old bicycle parts by Chris Allen, artwork from surfboard fin offcuts by Sarah Broome of Rainbow Fin Company, jams and mustards by Twins Kitchen, surfboards and apparel by Ventana Surfboards & Supplies, jewelry from spoons and metal art by Dennis and Ashley Domsic, and handmade belts by Cali Maple Designs. The sale of the photos as well as 10% of all revenue from the event will benefit the O’Neill Sea Odyssey. Bay Photo Lab is providing support for the event, and Microsoft is also providing donations through their giving program.

Learn more about the event through its Facebook page here: http://on.fb.me/1ZfuUjG




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