Where Are They Now?: Jeff 'Mr. Fish' Sandler - Oceana USA
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March 29, 2010

Where Are They Now?: Jeff ‘Mr. Fish’ Sandler

This is the first in a series of posts about the 2009 Ocean Heroes Finalists.

Since our second annual Ocean Heroes Contest recently opened for nominations, I thought it would be nice to look back and see what our 2009 Ocean Heroes finalists are up to — and maybe it’ll give you all some inspiration to nominate someone you know.

Just as I expected, they are all busy as ever doing their part to save the oceans. Today, we’ll catch up with Jeff “Mr. Fish” Sandler:

Since the Ocean Heroes contest lots has been going on. I was asked to speak to the 5th grades at the local elementary school on what it takes to be an Ocean Hero. I told them that anyone can be an ocean hero — what it takes is to identify a way that you are comfortable being helpful, and then taking action to try and make it happen.

I also pointed out that it doesn’t have to be a grand undertaking, for if enough people take action in even a small way, that can still make a powerful difference.

Since the contest, my wife Deb as “Mrs. Fish” and I as “Mr. Fish” have continued to travel to elementary schools putting on educational shows that teach about the ocean and address environmental issues. We have performed these shows in 7 states this past year and have added ocean acidification as a new emphasis.

Another important focus is the idea that every citizen has a right to clean water. That belief makes me proud to do programs on the value of effective wastewater treatment. In our wastewater treatment programs we like to bring children out of the audience and on stage to become the various components of a wastewater treatment plant and we follow the waste from home/business /school to the treatment plant and back into the water system.

We have continued to do these programs on behalf of water districts and the wastewater treatment industry. In these shows students learn where their water comes from and where it goes after it’s been used. I think it’s a not only a valuable lesson but a thank you to the folks who work in the wastewater treatment industry.

In addition there have been teaching performances for corporate audiences, at water festivals, elementary science fairs and as a panelist/speaker in middle schools.

Lastly, “Fish Camp” a summer marine education program held at our seaside “Mr. and Mrs. Fish” Building provides an opportunity to work closely with local children for 2-weeks at a time.

Personally, I love that Fish Camp enables me to impact kids so that they not only gain valuable understanding of the ocean, but also recognize that the more knowledge they gain, the better prepared they are to make informed decisions on world of water issues.

Fish Camp is designed to give kids a personal heightened appreciation of the ocean as well. My feeling is that if young people become inwardly connected to the ocean they are more likely to be active in protecting it in the future.