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SEDNA - Arctic Expedition 2018

$580 of $5,500 goal

Raised by 5 people in 7 months
Hello and thank you for visiting! I am Cynthia Matzke, a marine biologist and educator, and I live to raise awareness about pressing ocean issues and bring about positive change. To this end, I am proud to be part of SEDNA, an all-female group of polar explorers, on an important expedition to the Arctic this August.

In my role as Expedition Videographer and Science Communications Specialist, I will ice dive in locations from Canada to Greenland to record the animals that are being effected by rapidly changing sea conditions. As an Ocean Science Communicator, I get to share what lies below the surface with native Inuit people in several remote  settlements in Nunavut by recording video and the unique audio soundscapes of the region. ( http://www.sednaepic.com/team-sedna/sea-women/cynthia-matzke

With a background is in whale ecology I naturally began to study threats to whales, and unwittingly became ensnared in the marine debris issue. This led me on two gyre expeditions, sailing over 6,500 miles across the Pacific in rough conditions to study plastic pollution. From those trips, I combine the science and experiences gained, and create innovative STEAM curricula to bring those lessons from the field into the classroom. I create classes for UCSD/Sally Ride Science Academy for middle and high school level students, which are specifically designed to reach underserved communities and inspire the next generation of scientific explorers. Help me spread the word and inspire our youth to take action as ocean stewards!

On our epic Arctic journey, we will travel through a narwhal nursery, beluga territory and will likely see (and hear) orcas and several species of great whales. Recordings I capture will be used in the creation of my classes and on our documentary film project called Spiral Pacific: Exploring Ocean Ecosystem Connectivity ( www.spiralpacific.org)  I need financial support to get and ship the hydrophone to record these soundscapes to work with acousticians at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. 

Cultural Outreach: Bringing the Ocean to Eye Level

Imagine being raised close to the ice 28736184_1531796302454018_r.jpegflows, but not knowing how to swim. Falling in would mean certain death, so naturally many native Inuit are afraid of the water. Our team brings drysuits and we take several bold Inuit youth, as well as elders - dry suit snorkeling for the first time. This immersive program allows natives to experience what lives below the surface as never before. In addition to ice snorkeling together, we share robots and rovers to show how scientists gather data underwater, and let students build and tinker with the devices, which we then leave behind for use after our departure. I will be diving with scuba tanks, and gather a few critters to bring up for the snorkelers to hold as well as behold.

This expedition will fulfill a lifelong personal dream to meet members of the Inuit community, to hear firsthand abouttheir life as well as the changes they are experiencing as the ice melts and climate shifts. I hope to build bridges, and connect  middle and high school students in Hawaii and California with students in the Arctic, and bring reciprocal questions asked by the Inuit students to my student base in Hawaii and California, in efforts to help promote cross-cultural understanding.

I see value in sharing these unique stories with audiences worldwide via the documentary, so we may gain a broader view of sea changes. Some of the negative effects we are experiencing can be mitigated by understanding how our daily routines and behaviors are changing the ocean and the lives of those that directly depend upon it.

28736184_1531796351243288_r.jpegHow You Can Help


By helping me with expedition costs and the hydrophone, you are supporting my work as a teacher, scientist and conservationist. Travel costs, equipment and all associated trainings for this expedition are expensive but imperative. I am literally putting myself out there in many ways because I feel this is important on many levels. 

You could help by giving a general donation, and sharing this support with friends is another way to help. Here's how your support will help us do good things:

In the educational realm, there is a direct benefit as I teach a unique, multidisciplinary class called “Arctic Mammals: Exploring Culture, Science & Art.” For this Sally Ride Science class through UC San Diego, I teach students about Soundscapes and the importance of bioacoustics in the Arctic - from whale songs to the mating calls of the bearded seals. The ocean is alive with natural sound and I need a hydrophone to record the beauty of this superb undersea cacophony! This is vitally important to my lessons and teaching the next generation about the importance of sound in the sea, and well as direct threats to the region.

With the Arctic and NW Passage rapidly melting and recently opened to ship traffic, the noise levels are already at an all time high. This has a negative effect on the animals in the region who rely on sound. Proposed seismic air-gun blasting to search for oil could cause irreversible damage to animals in this area. I want our youth as well as the public to see, hear and appreciate why this important region should be considered as an area designated for conservation, rather than commercial exploitation. I believe that by capturing the images and sounds of wildlife and sharing these pressing stories of the Arctic with people worldwide, we can help protect it.
28736184_1531796465672308_r.jpeg
As I work in the spirit of cooperation for the good of science and education, all my audio recordings of marine mammals will also be shared with scientists at SIO to support bioacoustics research. In this way your support is helping us contribute to the body of science.

Please email me if anyone would like an exact breakdown of the budget or to adopt and support one specific segment of the work.

The trip is going to cost over $ 20,000, not including research equipment. I am reaching out to you - my local and global communities - to help support this work. I thank you for sharing whatever you can give, no matter how small, as a way to move the project forward. From the field to the classroom, I will continue to find creative ways to use the data, footage and experiences I gather to have maximum impact and bring positive change for our ocean.

Thank you very much!28736184_1531796519708713_r.jpeg
Photos courtesy of Team Sedna members
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Things are happening quickly now! I gave a talk on Thursday to the Encinitas Environmental Commission on local issues, plus of course spoke about global concerns and the upcoming expedition. The commission and the audience were very interested - I would say it went... swimmingly!
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Off to a great start, thanks so much to those who helped make the grand kickoff. I bought my dry suit this weekend, and will continue training in it to make sure I'm safe and prepared to plunge in with icebergs!
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$580 of $5,500 goal

Raised by 5 people in 7 months
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