BLUE Ocean Film Festival | P1

BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Summit

Getting Serious for the Oceans

I believe that media can make a difference. I know that communication is as much visual as it is verbal, if not more. For part one of this series, we will explore the ‘if not more’ and begin a short tale of how an internship can ignite a flame under an entirely different side of yourself, previously uncharted. I call this side ocean.

But seriously…

giphyInternships do not just magically appear for anyone- not usually.  You must put in the time and effort towards finding an opportunity which best suits your goals.  Luckily our Internship Coordinator is in constant pursuit of opportunities for us, but it still requires a lot of work to find the right opportunity.  For my Capstone Experience for both masters degrees ( Entrepreneurship/ Sustainable Tourism), I sought an atypical internship experience. I wanted to work for a cause locally while having an effect, globally. In other words, we can all do our best locally to create or inspire noticeable change on a global scale. What better way to put my experience to work for the oceans and in turn, for humanity and all living creatures? What better way to set an example for younger eyes?  Scientists say that we know around 5% of the world’s oceans but in the age of crowd-sourced knowledge, this library is growing exponentially. Normal human activity is naturally disruptive. Naturally, I aim to disrupt that.

Where I am Coming From

I like to recycle experience.  I like to make stuff with data and code with Anthropology on my mind.  At first, I imagined something educational, impactful and simple to love. I pulled from my experience.  Since 2010, I have worked in close collaboration with scientists on sailboats, before enrolling  to USF, called Beautiful Nation Project.  Within Land Surveyors United community, members annually collaborate on the day of the summer solstice for Survey Earth in a Day, remeasuring the entire surface of the planet in a single day with great accuracy. I decided to get involved with an incredible cause in the form of an annual international film festival, as an intern. My mission is a BLUE one.

Where I am Going

00blue-ocean-film-festival-logoMany of you have likely heard about the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Summit, but I’d bet most of you haven’t thought about how much work goes in to actually making an event like this happen.  In the coming weeks, I will unfold this story in my blog posts for Patel College of Global Sustainability and give you all a bit of insight into what I am doing to help make BLUE 2016 to be a success.

About BLUE Ocean Film Festival

BLUE Ocean Film Festival 2015 in Monaco

BLUE is an event administered, planned and executed by Make a Difference Media founders Debbie and Charles Kinder.  The first BLUE Ocean event occurred in 2007 in Savanna, GA.  Since then, it has become an internationally recognized catalyst for change and education regarding ocean conservation and ocean literacy.  You can read more about Blue Ocean Festival here, but I would like to briefly point out how the “5 Elements of Blue” factor into global sustainability.

BLUE Headquarters Downtown St. Petersburg, FL

The five elements of BLUE come together and create a truly unique event which:
• Honors the world’s finest ocean films through the best-in-class film competition.
• Brings together the world’s esteemed leaders and ocean luminaries.
• Presents the world’s most comprehensive underwater film & photography professionals.
• Showcases Science and the Arts for the stewardship of the ocean.
• Changes the way the world sees the ocean.

This year, the festival just happens to be in St. Petersburg, FL on November 10th-13th.  You can get your tickets here on Eventbrite and even become a volunteer by submitting the forms found here.


How Did I Find This Internship?

It all started with an introduction from the wonderful master of coordination, Rhiannon, to the Co-Founder and CEO of Make a Difference Media, Debbie Kinder.  We met one day in Rhiannon’s office to discuss the types of help needed to get the film festival planning underway. At the time, I had been webmaster for PCGS for close to a year and Mrs. Kinder had seen all of the work I was doing for the college.  The three of us had a brainstorming session and discussed a possible internship, helping BLUE with things like website redesign, social media management, marketing  and content administration for the upcoming event in November.  I was given the initial task of wrangling all of the existing and past social media footprint and developing a plan for how to best reengage followers, reconfigure existing media assets and ultimately reinvigorate participants and followers for the new year.  However, this opportunity came during a time when there was a film submission process in action and over the years the process for submitting films had devolved into something quite difficult and time consuming to manage.  BLUE needed a new method of receiving films for review, so my first action item was to build them a way for film creators to upload their videos directly into a single Youtube channel for review.  This was difficult due to the fact that Youtube had recently disabled the ability for channels to allow community-style uploads.  This meant I would have to build it with the Youtube API as a massive workaround. In fact, I have been told that the only other web app known to exist like this is used by Sundance Film Festival.  You can imagine their excitement when I built this for them.

Screenshot of Video Uploader for Youtube

Next on the list was taking inventory of all media assets such as video submissions from previous years so that I might make them fresh again. We wanted to celebrate all of the wonderful submissions from previous film festivals to let contributors know that we haven’t forgotten about them in addition to providing some examples of the types of films we accept.  In short, we needed a way to sift through the Youtube Channel videos outside of Youtube.  So, I built a way to filter and jump to specific videos using a Google Spreadsheet at the database.  You can see and play around with a demo of this project here, if you like.


Up Next!

In my next post, i’ll tell you why I left the Patel College as webmaster in order to convert my internship into a full time job.  I’ll show you more of my work geared towards improving media outreach and helping BLUE reach their goals- helping the world thirst for knowledge about the oceans and how we can collaboratively mend the wounds we’ve dealt the oceans inn exchange for so much life.


Get Involved and Spread the Word

giphy1If you use social media and enjoy being involved in world changing projects, friend and follow BLUE Ocean Film Festival on the following platforms.  Reach out to us if you would like to volunteer towards the efforts set forth and do your part to help increase ocean literacy worldwide.



Google +



I will leave you with some action shots from BLUE 2015 in Monaco and a shot of my new office, at the Don Cesar in St. Pete Beach.

New Headquarters at Don Cesar Hotel St. Pete

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading.


Exploratory steps towards a Sustainable Fleet

Exploratory steps towards a Sustainable Fleet in The City of Largo, Florida

I’d like to share a general overview of some of the options for reducing fossil fuel consumption that I chose to look into. Alternative fuel options were one of the ideas I wanted to investigate in terms of how viable it would be to incorporate different fuels into the city’s fuel portfolio to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions. From the fuel consumption data, I found that the majority of fuel consumption came from diesel vehicles, so the main focus was finding fuel alternatives for heavy-duty diesel vehicles (biodiesel and compressed natural gas). With regards to compressed natural gas, I was looking to figure out the economics of incorporating a new fuel into the city’s fleet as well as the sustainability of natural gas when compared to diesel. In terms of economics, I needed to consider not only the cost of the cost of the fuel, but the cost of accessing the fuel (since CNG fueling facilities are not nearly as ubiquitous as gas stations), differing capital costs for CNG vehicles, cost of retrofitting the maintenance shop to accommodate CNG vehicles, etc. I found that the only pre-existing CNG fueling station in the area is about 7 miles away from the public works complex, which is the home base for many of the heavy-duty vehicles that would potentially be using CNG. I decided to pay a visit the station so that I could see the CNG fueling infrastructure for myself. With a fueling station already existing nearby, CNG may be able to play an important transitional role in the city’s efforts to operate more sustainably.

Let’s talk green buildings

Last week I went to the USGBC mid-year retreat in Jacksonville to discuss green buildings. It was 3 days packed with conferences, meetings and socializing with people from around the country that all work in sustainability and green buildings… so of course super exciting! Talking with different people about our WELL Community development in Tampa was interesting and I received great reviews and comments.

I got to meet Rick Fedrizzi, the founder and CEO of the USGBC. He wrote a book called Greenthink: How Profit Can Save the Planet; I read about a third of the book so far and it is very interesting and I recommend it to everyone. Plus the proceeds of the book go to USGBC’s Project Haiti and the Center for Green Schools initiatives.


I was hoping to talk to some people that have worked on some LEED Neighborhood Development projects somewhere in the country because I have a long list of questions but unfortunately I did not get to meet someone that had experience in this field – still pretty rare. So I am going to have to do more research online and hopefully find the answers I am looking for for my paper.

I had never been to Jacksonville so it was the perfect occasion for me to discover another city in Florida… well I was a little disappointed. We didn’t have much time to walk around the city because it was mostly conferences all day. From what I saw, the city was pretty and a lot of historic buildings on the river, similar to us in Tampa. But overall, the downtown did not look very connected or engaged… some of you will say that it’s the same in Tampa; but I have seen great progress here within the past 3 years and very soon we will have a great downtown where people come to hangout at night and on the weekends.

Below are a few pictures of my stay in Jacksonville.

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Issues with fuel data

As I mentioned earlier, one of the goals of my internship is to develop a picture of the city’s fuel consumption over the past few years and to propose ways to reduce fossil fuel consumption in the future. As a starting point for this project, I had a few meetings with Largo’s fleet manager and other staff members in the division who deal with vehicle fueling on a daily basis. I was given access to an asset management system, which stores fuel consumption data so that I could begin generating reports and identifying fuel usage trends over recent years. As I began working on this and looking at the data, I found that the information did not match with the amount of money spent reported to have been spent on fuel in the annual budgets. This began a process of working with the fleet manager to determine why the data was so inaccurate and what can be done to ensure that I have reliable data for my analysis. After a good deal of exploring the various software systems and pieces of equipment involved in recording fuel consumption, we found that the aging fuel pumps were not accurately recording the true volumes of fuel being pumped each day to the electronic system. To hopefully get around this issue, I will be working on trying to find out if the department has any fuel consumption data that has been recorded in such a way that it is not subject to this problem.

Here are some of the stacks of data that I sorted through before discovering the inaccuracies

NASA Earth Day Celebrations

Earth Day is an important day to celebrate. Kennedy Space Center finds it so important that they extended the celebrations for two days. The first day of celebrations took place on private property just for the employees located at KSC. Over 40 eco-friendly companies and schools came out to educate employees on the latest and greatest environmentally friendly products and technologies.

The next day these companies and schools came out to the Visitor Complex to educate the guests. This day we were also able to showcase the Bag Monster that we had previously made! We handed out coupons to the guests to get reusable bags at the gift shop.

Both days were a success and I truly feel that everyone who came out learned a lot. Hopefully it had opened people’s eyes to the importance of our Earth and that they begin to make environmentally friendly decisions. An exciting part of both of these days is that our very own Patel College of Sustainability was able to come out and set up a booth to further educate employees and guests on the great things that are happening at our college.

Mission Updates

nasa helicopter

These past few weeks have been a whirlwind. I have been able to gain so many new experiences. One of the days I was there, I was able to shadow a company called IMSS. While I was there I was able to learn more about NASA’s Recycling and Sustainable Acquisition Program, visited toxic remediation sites, and was able go tortoise tracking along the launch pad shorelines. The shorelines at Kennedy Space Center are quickly eroding and coming closer to the launch pads. The biologist team has created sand dunes to sow down this process. The dunes are covered in native vegetation to make it more sturdy. They have been tracking how animals on the wildlife refuge are responding to it. The more animals that have inhibited it, the healthier the dunes are.

I have also been working on a few of my main projects. One of them is coming up with ideas for the Nature and Technology Exhibit, this exhibit is currently underutilized. I have a few ideas that I think might enhance the experience while still connecting people to the environment. I have also been working on a project with some astronauts, which I am going to keep secret for now:)

A Bag Monster & An Astronaut

This week we put a lot of attention on Earth day. I went to an earth day meeting with all the NASA teams to make sure everything is going to smoothly. Earth day celebrations will take place over 2 two days. One day is on NASA property for employees, and the other day is at the visitor complex for the guests.

Something that we are doing for earth day is creating a “bag monster”. This is a costume that is made out of 500 plastic bags. This is supposed to represent the amount of bags that one person uses each year. We will use this to raise awareness and promote reusable bags when you go to the store.

Here is a photo of Trudy, Gina, and I making the costume.


Also, we are trying to put something special together that includes astronauts at Earth Day. Details will come later! In the mean time, here is a photo of me meeting astronaut Jim Reilly. He flew on three shuttle missions.


The Week of the SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch


This photo is taken at the launch site of what was supposed to be the SpaceX Falcon9 Rocket. Two days in a row we went out to help manage this site, and sadly neither of the day the rocket went off.  At least one of the days a rainbow appeared behind the rocket.

This week I was able to meet with the NASA SpinOff team to discuss future possibilities for the Nature and Technology exhibit. We focused in on spinoffs that were related to the environment and for animal tracking.

I was also a part of a meeting where we met with the NASA environmental regulations team. They inspected the HVAC machines in the maintenance area.

Lastly, I have been working on creating my presentation for the Nature and Technology exhibit. The photo below is my second slide. I made the nature and technology tree on Microsoft Powerpoint.

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The Mission Continues


This week I was able to finish my article that will be posted on the Delaware North GreenPath news. The article is about the food that the KSC Visitor Complex is able to donate. I have pasted the article below!

“Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Gives Back in a Sustainable Way

Food waste has become a hot topic when discussing the issues of our planet. What most people fail to recognize is the amount of land, energy, and water that goes into making our food. Each one of these aspects is becoming increasingly more scarce. In the United States alone, 40% of all food goes to waste. With this in mind, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex (KSCVC) has recently been freezing hundreds of pounds of excess café food each week that meet strict health guidelines. This food is being donated to the Brevard Sharing Center in conjunction with the Second Harvest Food Bank. This excess food would usually be considered as waste and would be transported to a local landfill, but KSCVC is changing this habit.

The goal of this new and exciting program is to incorporate the values Delaware North’s GreenPath® program of continues improvement by minimizing food waste, while being able to give back to the local community. This program kicked off at the end of December in our Crewmember Lounge and Debus Center, but is planning to expand to other cafés in the near future. KSCVC is hoping that this small gesture will be able to help out the community and out planet in a big way.

The director of the Sharing Center has expressed her appreciation for all the food being donated. With all the food being donated from KSCVC on a weekly basis, they are able to incorporate the food into every meal which serves around 180 guests daily. The first incorporated meal was mac & cheese and the guests said they thoroughly enjoyed it!”


This week I learned that the visitor complex is replacing existing lights in the rocket garden with solar lights that are also wildlife friendly (because they sit on a wildlife refuge). I was able to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide that will be saved from going into the atmosphere, and it is a lot!

I was also able to work more on my Nature and Technology exhibit project. My supervisor and I sat down and discussed the possibilities for the exhibit. Many emails have been sent out to those at NASA who might be able to help us make this possible! Hopefully next week meeting dates will be set up and we will able to move forward with this project.

3..2..1.. Blast Off!

This week I had the ability to be up close for the last rocket launch of the Atlas 5 series. It was pretty amazing to watch! Below is photos of the launch site when the sun was rising around 7 am.

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This week I also put together a presentation to showcase how LED lights would be more efficient for the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex. The presentation was compromised of calculations of how much money that they could save, and how it could help them lower their carbon emissions.

Another thing I worked on was better learning the story and process behind the excess food that is being donated to the local sharing center. Each week the main kitchen is donating cooked food that would otherwise be taken to the landfill. This is part of their GreenPath program of continuous improvement.  I am working on an article that will be published in Delaware North’s newsletter.