"Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols is constantly expanding our minds and inspiring us to think about new ways to engage in the most pressing issue of our time—saving the earth from ourselves.
J’s boundless energy has led to many ground-breaking approaches that he has developed, founded, and/or created.
J can follow his passion because he is fiercely independent--yet an artful collaborator--and is not beholden to any bureaucracy, big or small. He maintains that independence by creating new models—including a unique way to support a modest living wage to support himself and his important work. That new model is the 100-Blue-Angels – and that is why I proudly include myself as one of the 100."
--Todd Steiner, Biologist and founder of Turtle Island Restoration Network
"Full disclosure: I am biased. J. is my son and I am so proud of the work he does.
He brings awareness for the need for a plastic free environment, works to ensure that endangered species are protected, expands our understanding through Blue Mind conferences, collaborates with other like minded organizations world-wide, including in my town of Butte, Montana.
Working hard to protect our watersheds and rivers in Montana has given me a personal connection to his work and passion. None of these issues are isolated … they all have a relationship."
--Sheila Youngblood, Butte, Montana
"The world is full of so many good causes that it is overwhelming, so one day I decided I needed some type of decision rule to help guide how I donate my money. One of those rules is "I support my friends in their altruistic efforts." It is pretty simple, I know my friends, I know what motivates them, I know their character, and I know their work. It is the ultimate form of transparency, so I can have total faith that my money is going to help change the world for the better. J. is my friend, mentor, and one of my personal inspirations for doing work that makes a difference, so of course I support him."
--Lekila Jenkins, PhD, University of Washington
"I'm a supporter of J Nichols because his work is the best targeted use of my contributions that I can think of. Every single day, J works not for those of us who support him but rather for the ocean itself and for the creatures that inhabit it. That's what I'm paying for--
for those creatures to have a defender. And J is a great one."
--Matt Rigney, author, In Pursuit of Giants
"Why i'm a Blue Mind Angel:
1- I derive inspiration from people's abilities to bridge. In the case of J, he has the skill to know how to bridge the worlds of academia, activism, storytelling, systemic change work in a way that is very inspirational and effective. As an academic/PhD person, he is not afraid of exploring alternate paths to use knowledge for change, vs. letting it sit in a book and fight over who should get credit for which idea. This is refreshing and needed.
2- J is nice.
3- J is helpful to others.
4- J is a good vessel to channel interest into important issues affecting our world."
--Farhana Huq, Founder of BrownGirlSurf.org
"Times have changed. It used to be that conservation organizations could send out photo calendars, pretty address labels and free greeting cards to raise public awareness and receive back checks in the mail from dedicated supporters. Now, we are all on Outlook calendars and keep in touch through Facebook, twitter and email. I don’t even use my checkbook anymore, all bills are paid online. I get my daily news via email newsletters and I debate world issues in facebook posts. And this is just beginning! My kids think that the iPad is a member of our family and they will look to apps for their connection to the world.
So, how do we engage the community in important issues in this new era of tweets and instant e-information? How do you get the message out about something as critical as the state of our planet’s oceans, rivers and streams AND keep people’s attention for more than the usual half a second that it takes to delete an email?
1.) The message: Catchy, easy, “I want to do it.” LIVE BLUE.
2.) The messenger: Hip, smart, young, “I want to be him.”
3.) The medium: Facebook, twitter, Print media (Outside Magazine), anything that gets in front of the community. “I want to be there.”
4.) The memento: “I have to have one.” (BlueMarbles.org)
The 'Blue Mind Angels' is a sophisticated approach to making a difference, to supporting a movement that understands the way to get community attention in this new age of electronic interaction. We have a message that is critical, we have a messenger that is innovative and dedicated and we have limited time.
Over the past 20 years, J. has earned the respect of the scientific community, the support of the philanthropic community, the spotlight of the media community, and through it all has never strayed from his personal mission- to save the ocean. Live Blue is the way he lives and the way he inspires others to live. I am honored to be a Blue Mind Angel."
--Rebecca Scotti, Journey Mexico
"I became a Blue Mind Angel because there are not many people I find in this world who work so hard for others & won't give up!"
--Soni Singh, Cateleya Software, India
"I am one of J's Blue Mind Angels because I see a huge amount of value in the work he does, and how he does it. Maybe it's a personality thing - I dunno! J is able to reach an enviable amount of people and effectively message his "BLUE MiND" goals in such away as to bring others into the fold, which is of course what needs to happen to see growth in the neuroscience of "ocean love." Research in this area holds enormous potential for future funders as well as researchers and those involved in caring for people and protecting our amazing ocean. Needless to say, big pharma will more than likely not be a big funder. The ocean sports industries (from fishing to surfing to sailing, etc), and tourism industry as well as insurance companies will have to be sold on the value of understanding "our minds on ocean." I do believe that J has the street cred, the personality, and the letters behind his name to push this novel research to the fore. By understanding how our brains benefit from the ocean we can better understand how to best explain the need to save it."
--Margo Pellegrino, Mother & Ocean Paddler
"I believe in saving our oceans, in stopping plastic pollution, and in keeping our marine life safe. That's why I also believe Wallace J Nichols is one of my Awesome ocean people who can and will do it :-)"
--Diane Neff, Champaign, Illinois
"With our lives becoming more busy every day, we all can't be on the front lines of Ocean conservation. But by being / becoming a Blue Mind Angel you are on those front lines protecting the Ocean. Step up and Live Like You Love The Ocean!'
--Mike Patton, Monkey Business Skateboards
"J has had the courage to call forth individuals who value his freedom. It is by utilizing that freedom that J is able to go wherever it's required, and to do whatever it takes, to make a difference. As a free-ranger not tied to any one agency, J has designed his own context so he can leap-frog over any turf wars, or bureaucratic lines that could stop good things from moving at the speed of useful innovation. He is also undeterred by reaching across disciplines and policy lines as he looks to make something good for the life of the sea, and the opportunities to Live Blue in all of us."
--Timothy O'Shea, founder, director, CEO, CleanFish®, fish you can trust®
"J’s generosity and curiosity helped create a partnership that ended up, years later, being touted as one of the cornerstones of doing “good” and authentic science with kids. Real data for school kids to analyze and the thrill of discovery in a “never been tried before” experiment across the Pacific Ocean involving one very special loggerhead sea turtle named Adelita.
I remember it like it was yesterday… walking back from the turtle tanks at Camp Archelon claiming that my students and I would help collect money to help pay for the expenses of a satellite tag. I was already smitten by the amount of data each black turtle would generate after being caught in the nets. Imagine the data that would also come from a computerized satellite tag glued to the back of a loggerhead swimming across the Pacific Ocean! Authentic data and a scientist encouraging us to be part of his research team made Adelita’s journey a thrill.
Having an ocean adventure with school kids in Ohio was an unlikely event. Yet, each day we would check the one computer in the whole school that was hooked up to the Internet to see what information J had to share. There was latitude, longitude, dive depth, water temperature, time between signals sent from the surface mile after mile. He gave detailed explanations to the students’ questions that were emailed the previous day. A personal visit from J that winter made the project even more real, more informative, and more fun.
So we collected aluminum cans, sold Environmental tee-shirts, painted underwater murals in the hallways and in my classroom, held bake sales, collaborated with the Art department for an Ocean installation (to scale) in the main lobby, asked local businesses for donations, and started a “Turtle Club” after school. The news spread and it didn’t take long before my 8th graders were collaborating with the 5th grade classes sharing what they had learned. Teachers were making donations to the turtle fund, kids were donating their spare change, other extra-curricular clubs helped us raise additional funds, and the PTO at the middle school made a most generous contribution so we were able to fund two satellite tags for the following summer.
In July, while Adelita was still swimming off the coast of Japan, several students and a couple of teachers traveled to Bahia de Los Angles, Mexico to help attach the tags and get the turtles back in the water. It was a team effort if ever there was one with much learned in every aspect of the project. It still makes me smile 15 years later. Not the easiest path to take for the biologist, but the one that generated the most good for this planet. Thank you, J, for believing in a bunch of kids in the middle of the country, hundreds and hundreds of miles from the ocean."
--Lynn Jimenez Huff, retired teacher, Cincinnati, Ohio
"I've been working with J in Baja on various sea turtle biology and conservation projects for the past 10 years, first as his undergraduate student, then as his masters student, and now as his PhD student and colleague. When I first met J while studying abroad, I was amazed by his passion and dedication to save sea turtles. But it was his ability to interact with people of differing ages and backgrounds that I found truly awe-inspiring. J knows exactly how to build relationships - when to listen, when to teach, and perhaps most importantly - how to show love. He knows everyone by name - their job, their family, their background, their interests, their needs, and their demeanor, and uses this information like a meticulous gardener to cultivate trust and build long-lasting relationships. Whether founding conservation NGOs such as Grupo Tortuguero or WildCoast, serving on student committees, attending meetings, serving on conservation NGO boards, publishing research papers in scientific journals, or writing articles for the general public, J is at the fore front of conservation, working tirelessly to protect endangered sea turtles and their ecosystems throughout the world.
Working in a region where people continue to illegally catch and consume sea turtles, J's work is not at all easy. But one thing remains constant - he never gives up, and always takes the opportunity to turn seemingly impossible situations into opportunities to build new alliances. J isn't at all driven by notoriety or publications, but rather a deep and genuine concern for our oceans and and the people who depend on them. In short, J is relentless in his drive to make the world a better place.
When I first met J I was a struggling undergraduate student trying to find a way to help protect sea turtles and get into the field of conservation biology. J took me under his wing (even though I had nothing to offer him), teaching me so much more than sea turtle biology or anything I could ever learn from a textbook. In short, I am reminded everyday - either through teaching undergraduate biology students at ASU or working in the field with fishermen to reduce their incidental capture of sea turtles - how J taught me to work with people and not against them to solve real-world environmental problems. As a PhD student, I scrape to get by - but I always donate to J's cause because I know my money will be well spent. I can't think of a better investment for our planet than becoming a Blue Mind Angel!"
--Jesse Senko - PhD student/conservation biologist, Arizona State University & sustainable seafood consultant, Blue Ocean Institute