Stanwood diver working to keep oceans healthy

Will learning about saving our oceans, by the side of the bay, make an impact?

No one knows.

But Christine Longdon, with no experience organizing a public service event, is willing to let folks know about the value of protecting precious natural resources.

She is planning a World Oceans Day event June 12 at Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island.

“It’s a celebration of all that our oceans provide us — life,” Longdon said. “The goal of the free event is to educate and encourage folks to make a change for cleaner, healthier oceans.”

The Stanwood woman learned to dive 2 1/2 years ago.

“I recently took my first class with REEF, a fish-survey group, and I am taking classes with the Washington State University Beach Watchers,” Longdon said. “Both these groups offer the opportunity for active participation in educating and caring for our waters.”

She wants the water world to be available for future generations.

“I don’t want to have to tell my child that there used to be a whale called a gray whale, or that there are no more sea turtles,” Longdon said. “Over the years I have been learning about the problems our watersheds and our oceans are facing, and the impact that humans have on them.”

Born in Mississippi, Longdon grew up in North Dakota. She moved to Washington when she was in sixth grade and attended Lakewood High School and Everett Community College.

For the past couple of years, she’s offered volunteer presentations about diving and oceans for an organization called Oceans For Youth. Most of the presentations are to school-age children, and she participates in environmentalist events such as Swinomish Earth Day and Padilla Bay Family Day.

She lives with her husband, Russ Longdon, and their son, Blake, 6, who are both very patient and helpful about her volunteer work, she said.

Blake helps his mother clean up along roadways and at the shore.

“Cleaning a beach helps our environment,” Blake said. “Yucky plastic can kill the birds and fish.”

With her family onboard, Longdon decided to create a day where people could get together in a fun, yet educational, atmosphere.

She began organizing World Oceans Day in February. Tina Dinzl-Pederson at Cama Beach State Park agreed to host the event. Andrew Washburn from the Center For Wooden Boats and Lawrence Baum from Camano Power and Sail pitched in, as did WSU Beach Watchers.

Scott Chase is organizing a booth for Island County Shore Stewards and WSU Waste Wise. Waste Wise will handle recycling efforts that day.

“She has been arranging this without knowing anyone or having any connections, nor is she paid,” Chase said. “It is truly an amazing accomplishment.”

Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, oharran@heraldnet.com.

Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is planned for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 12 at Cama Beach State Park, 1880 S. West Camano Drive on Camano Island.

There will be a low-tide beach walk that morning, more than 20 informational booths, guest speakers, boat rentals, children’s activities and a fire rescue boat demonstration.

Organizer Christine Longdon seeks entertainers for the free event. Bring a picnic lunch. For more information, e-mail clongdon@verizon.net.

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