Haleiwa Youth Wins ‘Ocean For Life’ Spot

Damien Farrant spends some time with famed environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau, who shared some of his wisdom on ocean conservation with the students. Photo courtesy of Damien Farrant.

A Haleiwa resident joined 14 other North American students at the 2013 Ocean for Life program at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

Damien Farrant was selected based on his series of essays on ocean conservation and cultural understanding. The Kamehameha Schools student’s research project on the effects of ocean acidification on the growth of marine bacterium was recognized by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair earlier this year.

Ocean for Life is an educational field study program that brings together Middle Eastern and North American students to enhance cultural understanding through ocean science. The program is a partnership between NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment program and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

For Farrant, the experience of taking part in the program was dramatic.

“Ocean for Life taught me many lessons that truly changed my life. The ocean connects the world, and the actions taken by humanity continuously influence the health of the ocean. By finding interconnectedness with people from around the world, we can make a significant change even through simple actions like recycling.

“I plan to start by raising awareness and getting people to take action in my home community on the island of Oahu.”

Ocean for Life was created after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Among the victims were three Washington, D.C., students, three teachers and two National Geographic Society staff members who were on their way to the West Coast to the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary to study marine science.

NOAA reshaped its education program to include a peace-building mission.