“I want to live in a world where animals are protected and not slaughtered senselessly … where dolphins, whales, seals are not held in captivity and used for entertainment … I want Sea World to close … I am hoping this can happen in my lifetime. If these kids have their way, it just might … “ ~ Angela Casey
Angela Casey is a third grade school teacher at Lafayette Elementary in San Francisco, California. Being neighbors to the Pacific ocean, she and her students are heavily engaged in maritime education. They discuss the plight of our seas and the issues that pertain to its inhabitants: ranging from pollution, family values of dolphins and orcas to the unethical practice of marine mammal captivity.
As a class project, the children were doing reports on their favorite marine animals —- several of which were sea lions —- when she heard about the travesty of the sea lions who visit Bonneville Dam. Angela said:
“I learned of the Bonneville Sea Lions last month via Save Misty, and have been making my own calls, writing emails, signing petitions, feeling sad & helpless. Not only is this happening in Taiji, the Faroes, etc., but now it is happening on my doorstep!”
Humans have taken so many Chinook salmon from the Columbia River, that they have become endangered. Instead of calling a halt to the excessive fishing, they decided to eliminate the competition: sea lions.
“In San Francisco, we love our sea lions. They have been a tourist attraction at Pier 39 in Fisherman’s wharf since the 80’s. We have the Marine Mammal Center that rescues and rehabilitates sea lions … only to have them swim up to the Columbia to be branded, trapped and killed for eating. Thus, the kids know these animals.”
Angela Casey said that she now has 131 pictures, some of which were downloaded from the Save Misty the Dolphin’s page, How Kids Can Help Save the Bonneville Sea Lions. Many of the drawings have letters on the back of them wherein the children are asking that the sea lions’ lives be spared. She said that she also has more than forty separate letters, as well.
“I saw the post last weekend about getting kids to color the pic. I discussed the situation with the students and they wanted to help. I thought we’d send off those pictures to Oregon and Washington, and that would be it.
“Then, the students wanted to present to the second grades…other teachers noticed what we were doing and asked them to present to their class. At that point, I decided to invite all teachers so my kids have been going around and presenting all week to K-4th grades. It just sort of snowballed. We still have more classes to present to and if all participate, I could expect at least 100 more drawings.
“Cat Jones from Sea Lion Defense Brigade contacted me and asked if the kids could name the branded sea lions. She sent us photos and they named them (you can see that image on the SLDB fb page). We now use the pics of our named sea lions in our presentations.
“The kids have been offering their solutions to the problem: “‘Let the sea lions be, and stop fishing … or fish less.’
“I”m trying to document everything they are saying, as it is very powerful and brings me to tears. I even made a mom tear up when I told her all of that, and that her son … sitting at his desk, drawing his sea lion, hearing the positive response from all of the online communities, said: ‘Ms. Casey, I really think this is going to make a difference!’
“At the beginning of the year, many of my students felt they didn’t know what to do to help the ocean. We shared how we felt yesterday and they feel “Happy” and that they are ‘doing something good.’ One dynamic 8-year-old said, ‘I feel I can change the world!’ Kids usually feel pretty powerless in our society and adults usually don’t help this with all of our rules and impositions, ‘Do this, don’t do that, you can’t … ’ These kids are empowered and inspired and they are inspiring others … including me! I’m amazed, in awe and extremely proud of my students.”
All animals, including the sea lions of Bonneville Dam, have something in common with children —- they are among the voiceless. In an attempt to give these wonderful creatures a voice, the boys and girls of Lafayette Elementary are speaking out. Let’s see to it that their pleas are heard!
Tell your children, your nieces, nephews and neighbors about this Taiji of the USA and send them to How Kids Can Help Save the Bonneville Sea Lions. Write a letter to your children’s teachers and principals telling them how they can get on board this train of compassion. Let’s show the killers of the California sea lions that we won’t tolerate this crap in our own back yard!
How many kids do you know who like salmon? On their behalf, sign my petition: Take the Pledge to Help Save the Sea Lions Being Killed at Bonneville Dam and be sure to add your comments if you are signing for a minor.