by Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City University will host a guest presentation by ocean conservationist, explorer, documentary filmmaker, and shark expert Fabien Cousteau at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24. His presentation, themed “One Ocean, One People,” will be held in the Petree Recital Hall inside the Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center at N.W. 24th Street and Blackwelder Avenue on the OCU campus.
The event is free and open to the public.
Cousteau, the first grandson of famous scientist and ocean explorer Jacques-Yves, will be on the OCU campus for this year’s Martha Jean Lemon Distinguished Speaker Series.
“Even though Oklahoma is a landlocked state, a focus on water conservation is extremely important and pertinent,” said Amy Cataldi, dean of the OCU Petree College of Arts and Sciences.
“As a college of arts and sciences, we are uniquely positioned to embrace both of his passions — ocean conservation and film documentary,” Cataldi added.
Cousteau is well known for his study of sharks, having served as an explorer-at-large and program host for National Geographic. In 2006 he produced a CBS documentary in which he built a lifelike 14-foot-long, 1,200-pound shark submarine named “Troy” that allowed him to live among the sharks, showing viewers a rare glimpse of the often-misunderstood creatures.
He later spent four years cohosting PBS’s “Ocean Adventures” with his father and his sister.
Since then, as a member of multiple cause-driven and charitable boards, Cousteau has been working with local communities and children worldwide to help restore local water ecosystems. Early in 2016 he founded the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center (OLC) to fulfill his dream of creating a vehicle to make a positive change in the world.
The OLC focuses on Public Awareness (SEE), Education (LEARN) and Special Projects (DO). Some featured activities and initiatives include beach cleanups, dive missions, coral reef restoration, sea turtles restoration programs, and educational resources that can be used for elementary grades to the university level, as well as aquarium programming.
The OLC mission is to empower communities and children to help restore local water ecosystems through the healthy “replanting” of key marine species and empower future stewards of ocean conservation.
“No matter how remote we feel we are from the oceans, every act each one of us takes in our everyday lives affects our planet’s water cycle and in return affects us,” Cousteau said. “Without water, our planet would be one of the billions of lifeless rocks floating endlessly in the vastness of the inky-black void.”
Cousteau’s presentation is sponsored by Oklahoma City University, OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film and Literature, and Pumps of Oklahoma.
To register to attend or find more information, visit okcu.edu/cousteau.