The circle of people, all ages and colors, was a powerful reminder that we are all global citizens of one planet.

By: Adriana Kusnirova, CCI Greenheart Work and Travel Senior Partner Relations Manager 

In south central Alaska, the fishing community of Cordova cares so deeply about #ouroceans that you can’t escape the theme for even an hour while in town. A number of lucky Summer Work Travel participants are there experiencing Alaskan culture, tucked between the Prince William Sound and the Copper River watershed.

Our Oceans is an initiative led by Secretary of State John Kerry to raise awareness about ocean-related issues around the world, such as marine pollution and sustainable fishing. At Greenheart International, we believe in the importance of protecting all parts of our environment so this is an initiative we are excited about!

Recently, artist-activist Mavis Muller visited Cordova on her Weaving Watersheds tour. Mavis weaves large baskets with findings from local watersheds to spread awareness about protecting our oceans. She invites community members to write intentions about preserving clean water and marine life and tie ribbons of solidarity on the basket before lighting it aflame in ceremony. “Our Oceans” was written on the basket in honor of Secretary Kerry’s initiative.

The basket was burned shortly after our national tragedy in Orlando and participants and community members gathered to honor the shooting victims. The circle of people, all ages and colors, was a powerful reminder that we are all global citizens of one planet.

Weeks after this event, Summer Work Travel participants in Cordova gathered again to learn about our oceans during J Day. Participants toured the Prince William Sound Science Center and learned about salmon’s impact on the community. They were then given the opportunity to assist American and Russian biologists in a portable marine research station currently residing on the Cordova harbor dock.

Participants ground sockeye salmon to research fat content samples which will be analyzed to study why salmon in this region have been decreasing in size since the 1970s. The volunteers were amazed to learn more about the incredible fish that are truly the lifeblood of Cordova and an integral part of our oceans.

Once participant stated: “My Slovák friend, ‘CC Greenheart Girl’ Adra, and I went on J Day to the Science center to learn about life of salmon. Incredible fish!”

Inspired by the volunteer and community opportunities in Cordova? Learn more about how you can join CCI Greenheart’s Work and Travel program!