Cetacean Society International

Whales Alive!

Vol. V No. 3 July 1996

The Power of One

By William Rossiter, CSI President

The problem has been with us for a long time: People would contact CSI and offer to volunteer, but we were so overloaded we couldn't take the time to use them. One was Clare Gorman of New York, who recently volunteered her marketing skills, so I sent her a draft of this article. She has said it much better than I could have.

Want to have some real fun and satisfaction helping whales and dolphins? Get involved! You are the power of one; especially as a CSI volunteer. Just the fact that you're reading this newsletter proves you're a caring individual concerned about the plight of dolphins, porpoises and whales.

Occasionally people who contact us about volunteering are surprised by our reply: "Great, what do you want to do?" At CSI we encourage people to do what they enjoy. Usually that's what they feel they do well. We urge you to take the initiative because you alone know your available skills, interests, time and energy. We don't want you to burn out.

As you also know, we're a small organization with an all-volunteer core, working out of our homes on squeezed time. We're so saturated with issues and needs that sometimes we haven't been able to reach out adequately to others who have wished to be included, or we lack the skills to do things that really deserve to be done. We're centered in Connecticut but, with modern communications and an international membership, CSI volunteers can be anywhere. But doing what?

Locally we need more public meetings. Many famous friends of CSI have offered to come and give presentations about their fascinating work. We need expert publicity and production to make the public come. We've also stopped many local inner city school programs because we lack the people to run them. Perhaps you don't feel adequately prepared or knowledgeable? We can bring you up to speed easily.

Teachers and school children will soon besiege us again with requests for information packages. They want it ready to run and free. We want someone to make it useful and sophisticated; we need funds to make it happen. You don't have to be an expert on cetaceans to turn CSI's potential into reality. We can supply the facts, photos, videos, and details; we have all this useful stuff that just begs to be working at helping cetaceans.

Perhaps you're more interested in educating children far from the U.S., where we are solving future problems by changing future attitudes. We have airline pilots willing to carry books or resources to schools in Peru and Brazil, but first we need the books donated. Finding free or discounted resources is a unique, challenging and rewarding volunteer effort. Can you help us find a Nikonos V camera to support a spinner dolphin study in Hawaii? We can always find eager fingers for cameras, computers, and other gear useful to scientific research or one room schools. Contact us for specifics, and remember that these items are tax deductible too.

Anyone can bring new members to CSI. Members mean support, enabling CSI to fulfill our shared dreams. CSI's income is spent with incredible care and effectiveness; be justifiably proud of where your money goes. Membership advocacy is worth even more. Legislators will listen to members. We can keep members informed, angry enough to act. Members can keep us informed, reacting to issues. Together we are much more influential and productive. Please find us new members.

Not everyone is comfortable asking for funds. But if you know of opportunities will you help us communicate our effort and needs to the right people? Do you know of sources for tax deductible donations or matching funds? No, not for CSI, but through CSI to some very important efforts. Right now we're struggling to support some superb projects that may fail due to inadequate funds. One example is a study of the biology and conservation of the tiny coastal dolphin called "fransiscana" in Brazil, too often killed in nets. A mere $500 could keep this project surviving, save many dolphins' lives, create a local conservation message, produce excellent science, generate vital legislation, and propel the careers of young scientists we will all need in the future. Yes, there are several projects like this, but we can't afford to help them without your help.

CSI only exists because we all care about cetaceans. We inform people, we bring them together, we work for solutions, we seek support for others doing things we know are significant, together we make things happen. You can help us in any of these ways. Use CSI to facilitate ways to help cetaceans that concern or interest you.

The following are a few examples of other ways people with very full lives volunteer to help CSI help whales and dolphins: Bob Victor is the energized engineering expert behind CSI's recent "CONNY" refurbishing. Lea and Len Brown run a superb whalewatch and gather many new members. Brent Hall put us in cyberspace by creating our World Wide Web site, and he also creates this "Whales Alive!". Paul Knapp runs the only free whale-listening tours, with help from the singing humpbacks of Tortola. Tom Callinan is a gifted professional musician always on tour, yet he manages all of CSI's membership files. There are many others, each giving according to their time and skills. Don't you agree that it will be satisfying and easy to add your name and contribution to our volunteers in the near future?

A very small investment of time and effort can yield you a tremendous amount of personal satisfaction. Please contact us at 203-544-8617, or CSI, POB 953, Georgetown CT 06829, or rossiter@csiwhalesalive.org, and get in on the fun.

Remember, you are the power of one. It is through CSI that you can really make a difference for the whales and dolphins you care so much about.

Go to next article: City Students Seek Corky's Release or: Table of Contents.

© Copyright 1996, Cetacean Society International, Inc.

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