Conservation is not just for big nonprofits or people with too much time on their hands. It is possible for everyone to contribute, and Keiko Conservation makes it that much easier to get involved.
“Our main objective is to make conservation efforts accessible to thousands of people worldwide – mainly through social media and viral campaigns,” Siena Schaar, one of the founders of the organization, explained in an interview.
Three years ago, Schaar, a master’s student in environmental geography and management, bonded with her friend Natalie Parra over their love for the ocean and together decided to create Keiko Conservation. This conservation group is unique in that it is solely run by two young, incredibly hardworking and passionate women via their laptops and a volunteer network. Social media is one of Keiko Conservation’s greatest tools. With an emphasis on social media campaigns, Keiko Conservation has been running for 3 years and now has 18 core members spread across 6 countries.
In only a short amount of time, Keiko Conservation has successfully campaigned for conversation awareness and action in Hawai‘i and beyond. They have circulated petitions all over the world to protect marine life, introduced new legislature, hosted monthly beach cleanups and raised awareness of marine-related conservation issues.
When they heard the news that Atlantis, a large resort on O‘ahu, was planning to build a new hotel on the west side of the island and was considering bringing in captive cetaceans for entertainment, Keiko Conservation sprang into action.
“We were able to create so much public pressure on the contractors and managers of the project that they released a statement saying that they wouldn’t be having captive cetaceans at their new hotel,” Schaar said.
These successes are only the beginning.
“Some of our current [projects] are ending cetacean captivity for entertainment in Hawai‘i, raising awareness concerning the worldwide genocide of sharks and raising awareness about the harmful effects of single-use plastics,” Schaar reported.
The team behind Keiko Conservation is continually creating new content to back these projects and is spreading all over social media, with a great deal of public support.
Keiko Conservation also makes it extremely easy for anyone to get involved. Shaar emphasized that people can contribute to a cause right now via their laptops or cell phones or in person by “signing petitions, sending in testimonies, participating in beach cleanups, participating in cleaning invasive algae from Maunalua Bay, helping clean a local Lo‘i or restoring He‘eia fishponds.”
Their website, Keikoconservation.com, and their social media pages have many more ways to get involved.
The success of this conservation group is truly impressive considering the small number of volunteers they have. This group shows their dedication to the bettering of marine life and reducing human impacts and to our entire planet’s well-being everyday. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter to get involved today.
This article was contributed by the Society for Conservation Biology Hawai´i Chapter. To join the chapter and see more opportunities to get involved in conservation efforts in Hawai´i, visit HISCB.org.