On June 15th, 2016, Global Underwater Explorer (GUE) Instructor and Project Baseline volunteer, Meredith Tanguay, spoke to a large scuba dive club in Cary, North Carolina, USA. Meredith introduced to concept of shifting baselines to a receptive audience of over 40 people. Other presentation topics included an overview of the Project Baseline program including volunteer involvement. Both divers certified by any agency and lovers of water including swimmers, beach goers, sailors, yachtsmen and more are encouraged to participate in Project Baseline. Each participant contributes to the systematic documentation of marine and freshwater environments, thereby contributing to a visual legacy that will be referenced, in part, by environmental decision makers now and through time.
Meredith also introduced an exciting and highly visible component of Project Baseline, Global Sub Dive's research vessel Baseline Explorer which boasts two 2-person 300 meter observation submersibles, and a technical diving support system enabling exploration and research missions which, due to cuts in ocean exploration funding, remain largely out of reach to exploration and scientific communities.
Meredith also went on to elaborate on the evolution of Global Underwater Explorers and its revered educational program which is focuses on training high capacity divers who are well prepared to engage the underwater world in a fun, safe, mission-oriented and productive manner. Additional information was provided outlining the features and unique qualities of GUE training programs as well as differences between a GUE training programs compared to other diving agencies and how recreational level divers’ experience underwater can be enhanced through advanced training.
At the conclusion of the presentation, each audience member was encouraged by Meredith to contribute underwater observations to Project Baseline’s spatial database by following the program’s typical recipe for participation: visit your favorite marine or freshwater environment, identify one specific location within that environment, take an image of that specific location and replicate that same image each time that location is visited.
-Submitted by Meredith Tanguay, edited by Vanessa Belz