Ocean Focus is a charitable organisation dedicated to the promotion of the world’s oceans and marine life. The organisation encourages environmental awareness through education programmes and community events.
Our mission is to engage individuals worldwide in ocean conservation. We aim to raise awareness and educate people about the issues facing the marine environment and the actions necessary to help conserve threatened species and habitats.
We are all aware of some of the conservation issues facing our planet such as deforestation and species loss. However, while it is essential that we address these challenges, a disproportionate amount of conservation effort has centred on terrestrial concerns as opposed to marine. Our goal is to readdress this balance.
Transparency – Our aim is to communicate honest, open and unbiased science.
Commitment – We are passionate about marine conservation and are committed to making a difference through educating and engaging as many people as possible.
Connect – We aim to make conservation science accessible to everyone by providing a connection between the public and the science.
In order for people to care and make changes, it is essential that they have reliable and relevant information. In order for people to care about ocean conservation, they need to know what the concerns are and what the consequences could be if ignored.
Modern society is increasingly becoming disconnected from nature, particularly from the ocean because it’s such a vast landscape which is often perceived as being far removed from our everyday lives. This couldn’t be further from the truth and we aim to identify the connection between people and the ocean, thereby giving us all a reason to care.
Our strategy is to use this website as an educational tool and a platform to raise awareness. We also aim to engage people directly through presentations and ocean conservation events. It is vital to our mission that the information we provide is accessible to everyone by avoiding unnecessary and complicated scientific jargon that can often be a major obstacle to public involvement in conservation.
Meet the Ecologists
Trica Burgess – Trica’s passion & enthusiasm for the natural world stems from her remote countryside upbringing. “From minnows in the back garden stream to orphaned ducklings, our family home became a haven for wildlife and stray animals.” From an early age, her nature-loving father passed on his knowledge & zest for all things wild and instilled a set of principles by which to live her life. This ideology refers to the natural world, how we should live harmoniously within it and respect its unspoken & unwritten laws – values that have been ingrained ever since.
Trica’s scientific background includes a BSc in Applied Ecology & Conservation and her particular areas of interest include tropical ecosystems and marine species. Alongside her degree, this keen interest for conservation has extended beyond the classroom and she has volunteered on projects overseas as well as in the UK. One overseas volunteering experience included the ANAI turtle conservation programme in Costa Rica, where she worked closely with the local community in maintaining a highly effective and sustainable development programme to protect and conserve the leatherback turtle population and their environment. UK volunteer experience has included the Living Rainforest in Berkshire where she volunteered as an animal care assistant and conducted a study to assist with the redesign of the primate enclosure at the centre.
For many years, Trica has maintained an active interest in campaigns and projects led by environmental and conservation organisations and has volunteered her support by raising awareness through networks and presentations at her university. “It was during my time at university that I became all too aware of the neglect and exploitation of our oceans through harmful and unsustainable fishing practices, not to mention pollution. It was the lack of protection and regulation surrounding these practices that shocked me the most and this is what led to the formation of Ocean Focus”.
Edward Wright – Ed is not entirely sure where his love of the natural world came from but he does remember regularly charging around the playground at five or six with a friend, overturning logs in a relentless search for bigger and bigger stag beetles! Perhaps just being a typical boy, he was just as excited when he found one of their huge white grubs! “I remember very clearly, however, the moment I decided I wanted to work with animals in some capacity when I was older. I was 10, and the word ‘zoology’ came up in a spelling test. As soon as the word’s meaning was described to me I knew that I wanted to be a zoologist.”
As Ed got older, this fascination for the natural world didn’t disappear but an interest in conserving nature started to take over. When he was 22 he went to university to study Applied Ecology and Conservation at the University of Reading. When travelling in Australia at the age of 19, he learnt to SCUBA-dive on the Great Barrier Reef. This launched an interest in the marine world that, while studying for his degree, was solidified through discovering the vast number of marine conservation issues of which he had been unaware. It seemed that, despite being just as important as terrestrial issues, marine concerns received far less exposure and far less money.
This led him to focus much of his attention on marine conservation. “The University of Reading is, unfortunately, not known for its marine biology so there was, it is fair to say, little focus on these areas. Where possible, Trica and I wrote essays and gave presentations on ocean conservation to raise the profile”. One of their first successes, and perhaps what led to Ocean Focus, was giving a presentation in a Conservation Biology module. “We were given free rein to choose a pressing conservation topic and we decided on sharks”. Following this presentation the module co-ordinator agreed that, from then on, the film ‘End of the Line’ would be shown as part of the 10-week module and more marine issues would also be covered.