Sum up of Jellyfish ROCK event and International Jellyfish Art Contest

Are jellyfish always bad? How many kinds of jellyfish are there? Can jellyfish be beautiful? These questions and many others were addressed at Jellyfish ROCK -- a fun and educational event hosted at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on Saturday, November 20, 2010.

The Jellyfish Working Group, which is sponsored by the National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis (NCEAS), hosted a successful and FUN outreach event to teach the general public about jellies and jellyfish blooms, the good and the bad aspects of jellies, and their importance to both coastal communities and to ocean ecosystems around the world. Called Jellyfish ROCK: Reaching Out to the Community & Kids, the event certainly generated enthusiasm from community members eager to learn about the diversity and beauty of jellies! More than 170 attendees of all ages converged at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for the interactive evening of videos, presentations from international jellyfish experts, live jellyfish, and children’s artwork from around the world. It’s safe to say that the event was a BIG success for all involved, and NCEAS is certainly proud to have sponsored both Jellyfish ROCK and the jelly working group that inspired it!

In conjunction with the Jellyfish ROCK outreach event, the Jellyfish Working Group partnered with the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach to host an International Jellyfish Art Contest. The call for art yielded 561 entries from students aged 2-12 years old who submitted collages, multimedia sculptures, drawings, paintings, and photographs. The talented students represented 14 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States!

-- Robin Vercruse, National Center for Ecological Analysis & Synthesis

We owe a tremendous thank you to our volunteer judges: Mike Carpenter, Ben Ciccati, Sue DiCicco, Peter Gaede, Katie Longo, and Lindsay Scheef. We awarded a total of 12 prizes, which were made possible by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation. The grand prize ‘best in show’ went to 11-year old Martina Daoust from Lake Elsinore, CA. Most importantly, thanks to all of scientists for the outstanding effort in soliciting artwork from your local communities and the contest support provided by Rob Condon and Robin Vercruse.

The contest success highlights the remarkable impact of communicating science through the arts.

-- Emily Yam, Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific