Procter & Gamble’s Dawn ‘Day in the Wildlife’ Event at The Marine Mammal Center

This post is the first of a three-part series profiling the commitment of Procter & Gamble and Dawn dishwashing liquid toward the preservation and rescue of wildlife. While it is a sponsored post, it is also a post of awareness for the 75,000 marine mammals and birds affected by oil pollution who have been treated and released, thanks to efforts of hundreds and hundreds of people. I am one of the fortunate few who spent a day with some of the dedicated individuals and teams of The Marine Mammal Center, and I’d like to share their story…

Nature writer John Muir once penned the following: “When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it connected to the rest of the world.”

Our beautiful Pacific ocean, as viewed from The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA.

The Pacific Ocean from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Sometimes I forget it's the same water...

It’s easy to stay focused on our own singular issues in our own communities on our own little corner of the planet, isn’t it? To forget that the texture of global awarness transcends the linear nature of our own immediate needs? As a blogger whose eye is trained on the landscape of Alaska’s niche lifestyle, I often project a bias for my own state and its delicate environment and disappearing cultures. I conveniently allow the fact that the oceans connect to the rivers that connect to the streams and lakes and mud puddles in which my family lives, works, and plays. I forget to be global.

The Marine Mammal Center's fleet of rescue trucks is at the ready, any time.

A few weeks ago, I was reminded by Dawn, a handful of sea lions, and the people who save them, that how we choose to act out there in the world, no matter where ‘there’ might be, goes out and comes back around and lands right back at the beginning. I hope that makes sense.

Whether we forget to reduce, reuse, or recycle something, or dump our waste water into a river draining into an ocean, or lose fishing tackle; it all returns to the marine mammals and birds whose health shows scientists the slippery slope upon which humans now exist with their own well-being. Heavy stuff.

Marine Mammal patients recover at the facility. Animals are brought in with a variety of ailments and injuries, and typically spend around six weeks at the center.

Herring from Alaska!

After spending a day on behalf of Dawn at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, interacting with a cadre of individuals whose goal is not just to save wildlife, but learn from it, I’m thinking in a different way. While TMMC manages oversight of 600 miles of California coastline, watching for stranded or injured marine mammals, the overarching theme of research for the entire global community is huge. The elephant seals, sea lions, and harbor seals rescued by volunteers and staff at TMMC become conduits for environmental change, and their rehabilitation process becomes an educational legacy for the thousands of public visitors, interns, and students who walk through the center’s front door.

Stacks of crates await use at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California.

Director of Development and former volunteer Mitch Fong demonstrates how rescue volunteers and staff steer animals toward a crate.

During my Day in the Wildlife at The Marine Mammal Center, I watched a demonstration of the rescue process, which can take up to 10 people depending upon the animal (whoa). I spent time with a few volunteers whose unique tasks and life goals were vastly different, but with the same goal. I also looked into the eye of a sea lion who was moments away from returning to her watery home and wondered how in the world I could articulate this experience to my readers without dripping sentimentality (I can’t).

"Fritters" awaits her release into the waters of Point Reyes after more than a month at the Marine Mammal Center recouperating from malnourishment.

So here’s the message: Your choices matter, in thought and deed. What you decide to do today will affect the ocean and its inhabitants, and ultimately us, tomorrow. How you project those choices to your children now will affect how they grow up and choose to help, too. Kids in Alaska love their ocean, so do kids in California and Hawaii and Texas, and coastal communities around the world. Perhaps we can remember that. The Marine Mammal Center’s commitment to rehabilitation, research, and storytelling matters immensely, and we can help. As one volunteer told me “We’ve been given a gift, an incredible, wonderful gift, to help these animals then learn from them,” and she was right, if only from the awareness we glean from an experience like mine.

'Apostrophe' ponders her strange surroundings at The Marine Mammal Center.

For more information about The Marine Mammal Center, its programs and opportunities, visit their website HERE. I’ll be focusing on the two volunteers with whom I spent time in my next post. You’ll be so impressed you’ll want to hop a plane and fly to San Francisco.




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