Project AWARE: A Year in Review

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As we approach the end of 2014, it’s a special time for many people across the globe to celebrate. And here at Project AWARE, we’re celebrating YOU! Every day we receive messages, emails and images of the actions you’re taking to lead the fight for ocean protection in your local community. Whether you’re involved in Dive Against Debris, teaching the AWARE Shark Conservation Diver Specialty or urging increased protection for sharks and rays, your actions and passion inspire all of our staff, each and every day. Thank you.

Check out Project AWARE’s New infographic and the video below to see what your support has made possible in 2014. Thank you for all you do to protect the ocean.

From all of us at Project AWARE, Merry Christmas and Best Fishes for the New Year!

Celebrate #GivingTuesday – Give Back to the Ocean you Love

PADI is giving back to the ocean in celebration of #GivingTuesday – an international day to bring people together with a common purpose: to celebrate generosity and give thanks. To mark the beginning of the holiday season PADI will match all donations to Project AWARE up to $25,000 before 31st December.

And everyone who donates $150 or more also receives a limited edition Fourth Element t-shirt.

Fourth Element Tees 

PADI’s commitment to #GivingTuesday is an industry first and we encourage all dive centres and PADI divers to give back to the ocean and make #GivingTuesday a day for our ocean planet.

The time to protect the ocean is now. www.projectaware.org/give

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PIC Online Worksheet and Project AWARE Donations

The PIC Online Worksheet (519DT) is a form designed to help dive centres and instructors collect the information needed to complete the PIC online process when certifying students. As with paper PICs, student divers have the opportunity to support Project AWARE with a donation. However processing Project AWARE donations through PIC Online is not as straight forward as with paper PICs.

PIC Online Worksheet

What is the PIC Online Worksheet and how should it be used?

The PIC Online Worksheet includes 2 sections: Part 1 is where all the information about the certification itself is entered and Part 2 is where your student personal details are captured. The form also includes a Project AWARE section where payment details can be added to support ocean conservation by choosing the AWARE limited edition version of your student certification card. Unlike the paper PIC and Project AWARE insert, the PIC Online Worksheet does not need to be returned to PADI. The worksheet is a tool for you to use to collect student information that need to be entered online as part of the PIC Online process. However, like with any forms used to collect personal data including payment details, it is important to follow best practices in how this data is handled. In practice, it means that if you use the PIC Online worksheet, it’s important to:

  • Be transparent with your students about how you intend to use their data;
  • Keep the data safe and secure at all times;
  • Ensure that the information on the form is securely discarded;

Why is the CVV number field missing?

Even though the PIC Online Worksheet is a tool for you to help you collect all the information needed to process your student certifications online, some information such as the CVV (Card Verification Value) must be collected separately from the rest of the card details due to PCI regulations. We understand this adds to the administrative burden of collecting Project AWARE donations when processing certification cards online. We know some dive centres and instructors are collecting the Project AWARE donation from their students by cash and use the stores or their personal credit card details to process the donation via the PIC Online Process. We understand that this may not be a suitable option for all instructors or dive centres.

How do I make it easy for my students to support Project AWARE?

With more and more PICs now being processed online, less certification cards are being processed with Project AWARE donations. Yet, the threats facing our oceans continue to grow. With these issues in mind, Project AWARE launched 100% AWARE – A Partner Giving Programme exclusively for PADI Members. 100% AWARE means that you can:

  • Streamline PIC Online Process – give all of your students the AWARE certification card, in one easy step. All your students receive a Project AWARE card and you no longer need to process your students’ credit card details through the PIC online process.
  • Effortlessly support ocean protection with every certification.
  • Create loyal customers who appreciate and value your commitment to conservation.
  • Partner with Project AWARE to protect the underwater world your business relies on.
  • Gain positive exposure to a movement of millions of scuba divers worldwide.

2014 Project AWARE certification card

Project AWARE relies on financial support from environmentally concerned divers to achieve its mission and work towards a return to a clean healthy ocean for us today and future generations of divers. Donations through the PADI’s certification process is critical to secure funds to support Project AWARE’s ongoing battle to protect vulnerable shark and ray species and protect marine life from the onslaught of marine debris.

Make it easy for your students to support ocean conservation and make it easy for you to show your commitment to Project AWARE. Become a 100% AWARE partner today! Go to: http://bit.ly/100PercentAWARE to download an application form.

For more information about the PIC Online Worksheet, contact Customer Services or visit the Online Processing Center in the PADI Pros’ Site to download the Step by Step Guide to PIC Online processing.

PADI Member Renewals Season – Renew Your Support for the Ocean!

2015 PADI Member Renewal The PADI Member Renewal season is here! Our ocean needs your renewed support and you can help protect the ocean you love with a donation to Project AWARE.

When you make a donation of £15, €15, 20CHF or more with your PADI Member Renewal you’ll receive a limited edition Project AWARE eco mask strap as a special thank you. There’s 4 Easy Ways to Donate:

1)      Setting up Automatic Renewal for the first time? You canadd your donation amount online on the PADI Auto Renewals page.

2)      If your Auto Renewal is already set up simply email your PADI Team to add the donation for you.

3)      Choose the donate option when you complete your renewal online.

4)      Complete the PADI Member Renewal 2015 Form which will be mailed directly to you.

Together, with each victory, we’re giving the ocean a voice and placing marine species on the global agenda. Your donation will help protect vulnerable sharks and rays from the biggest threat they face today – overexploitation.

With your support, Project AWARE can take every opportunity to ensure that sharks and rays will not disappear on our watch.

Ask your PADI Team to add the donation for you: [email protected]

Project AWARE is an award winning non-profit that truly appreciates your support with a commitment to efficiently using your funds for maximum marine conservation impact with innovative global programs.

Historic Advances in International Shark and Ray Conservation

Facebook CMS Banner SuccessFINtastic News from Project AWARE: The Voice of the Dive Community has been Heard – 21 Shark and Ray Species Listed Under Convention on Migratory Species!

On Sunday 9 November,The Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species, at their 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Quito, Ecuador (CMSCoP11), agreed to adopt all 21 shark and ray proposals.

“We are elated by the overwhelming commitment expressed by CMS Parties for safeguarding some of the world’s most imperiled shark and ray species, including the highly endangered sawfishes,” said Sonja Fordham of Shark Advocates International, a project of The Ocean Foundation. “Today’s unprecedented actions more than triple the number of shark and ray species slated for enhanced conservation initiatives.” (…)

“From hammerheads of the Galapagos to threshers in the Philippines, sharks are incredibly popular attractions for divers,” noted Ania Budziak of Project AWARE.“With increasing recognition of the economic benefits of associated tourism, divers’ voices are playing a key role in winning protections for these iconic species.” (…)

Read the Full Press Release Here

CMS listing is just the beginning – help Project AWARE continue its work. Support Project AWARE TODAY! www.projectaware.org/donateCMS2014 #SharksWithoutBorders

Project AWARE: Sharks and Rays Without Borders

Project AWARE has another big opportunity to help make change for vanishing sharks and rays – one that only comes along once every three years. Every voice counts and we need yours!

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Please Take 3 Minutes of Action Today:

  • Send a Letter asking countries to work together for shark & ray protection
  • Join the Thunderclap to send a loud, unified message over social media #SharksWithoutBorders

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The Campaign: Beginning Nov 3rd, Project AWARE and partners will be in Ecuador, at the 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP11) representing the diver voice among representatives from 120 nations. 21 species of sharks and rays are on the agenda – including some of our favorite hammerheads, silky sharks and reef mantas.

The Issue: Varied degrees of protection exist for sharks and rays around the globe. These animals migrate – crossing many political boundaries. A hammerhead protected here, is not necessarily protected elsewhere. For these ocean travelers, international cooperation is vital.

If Successful: Our voice – the voice of the dive community – can help persuade countries to work together, implementing international agreements for their protection.

Thank you for your 3 minutes today and thank you for giving sharks and rays a voice! Be sure to find out more or make a donation to support the campaign.

Project AWARE: Debris Month of Action is Here

Debris Month of Action

September is Project AWARE’s Debris Month of Action – a time when thousands of scuba divers around the world unite and take action against marine debris – the ocean’s silent killer. But don’t think of it as just a one-time dive to take out the trash. It’s so much more than that. With events happening around the globe this month, there are many options for you to get involved. Go to projectaware.org to find out more.

Teach the New Dive Against Debris Specialty

Dive Against Debris Specialty Course

This month, Project AWARE is excited to announce the launch of a New Distinctive Specialty course: the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty.

Led by you, the PADI Instructor, now divers of all experience levels can be equipped with better knowledge of debris issues and empowered with the skills to complete ongoing Dive Against Debris surveys.

From planning the dive to reporting the debris data, the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty prepares students to participate and support regular Dive Against Debris surveys, join other surveys, or, in case of more experienced divers, to start surveys of their own.

The course:

  • Educates divers about the messy problem of marine debris – the damage done, what it is, where it comes from, and how divers are part of the solution.
  • Equips divers with the knowledge and skills needed to conduct a Dive Against Debris survey –  considerations for creating a survey dive profile, use of photography, and decision making on what to remove and what to leave behind.
  • Highlights the five steps needed to record and report findings from a Dive Against Debris dive – weigh, sort, record, dispose, and report.
  • Explains how to join the global Project AWARE movement of scuba divers protecting our ocean planet.

If you’re looking to really make a difference and support a growing global army of volunteers combatting ocean trash, then teaching this course is for you. Students will gain a PADI certification which counts towards their PADI Master Scuba Diver and they’ll be well on their way to leading and organizing their own surveys no matter where they live or dive. Plus your Instructor Rating counts towards your own PADI Master Scuba Diving Instructor rating. PADI Course Directors can also apply for the Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty Instructor Trainer rating.

Join other leaders around the world and become a Dive Against Debris Distinctive Specialty Instructor today. PADI will generously donate the application fee to Project AWARE. All teaching materials are available free to download.

Finathon: Are you Finatical about Sharks?

The clock’s ticking for vanishing shark species. If you’re FINatical about sharks, join the Finathon and fundraise for their protection. July is Official Finathon Month or you can host an event at anytime of year to suit your scuba calendar. Finathon B2B Take Action: Visit www.finathon.org to create your team or individual fundraising page. Once you’ve set up your fundraising page you can download these FINtastic resources to help organize your Finathon® Challenge. Good Luck!

Sharks International Symposium 2014

During the first week of June, Ania Budziak, Project AWARE Science and Policy Associate Director was at the International Shark Conference in Durban, South Africa where leading shark experts from around the world gathered to share current trends, identify gaps in shark and ray research and conservation, and discuss what’s in store for sharks in the future. The conference was followed by the IUCN Manta & Devil Ray Global Conservation Strategy Workshop: a review of the global conservation status of all species of manta and devil rays with the aim to develop detailed conservation actions required to conserve these species worldwide.

Sharks International, Durban South Africa

Sharks International, 2 – 6 June – Durban, South Africa with Ania Budziak, Project AWARE Associate Director Science and Policy

Sharks International was one of the many events where Project AWARE represented the voice of divers during June World Ocean Month. Now the team is looking forward to supporting you during the global Finathon campaign in July and Debris Month of Action in September!

Join Project AWARE on Facebook and Twitter for more updates from the road and for the latest ocean conservation news and calls to action!