Nichols, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, will present “Get Your Blue Mind On: Exploring the Neuroscience of Our Emotional Connection to Water, the Sea and Our Natural World.”
Nichols’ projects and philosophy incorporate participatory science, social networking/community organizing and creative communication to inspire a healthier relationship with the sea.
In 1999, Nichols co-founded the Grupo Tortuguero, an international grassroots movement dedicated to restoring Pacific sea turtles and to sustainable management of ocean fisheries. He co-founded and for five years co-directed Wild Coast, an international conservation team dedicated to the protection of coastal wilderness where he and a diverse group of partners organized fishermen to protect endangered sea turtles and helped coastal ranchers protect their shores for future generations. In 2003, Nichols and eight others trekked 1,900 km along the coast from Oregon to Mexico to bring attention to coastal and ocean issues. He also spearheads the Ocean Revolution, a program that inspires, involves and mentors the next generation of ocean conservation leaders.
Most recently, Nichols has focused on connecting ocean science and cognitive science through Blue Mind: The Mind and Ocean Initiative and the emerging field he calls “neuro-conservation.” Mapping how brains work in response to certain events, for example looking at the sea, will help people understand how and why we love the experience. He also founded the Blue Marbles Project, a non-profit effort that is committed to using the blue marble as a metaphor for our planet. The project aims to pass a blue marble through every person’s hand on earth, with a simple message of gratitude along with it.
Currently, Nichols works with several universities and organizations to advance ocean protection, including California Academy of Sciences as a Research Associate. He is active on a global bycatch study with Duke University and Blue Ocean Institute, and has worked with Turtle Island Restoration Network, Biosphere Foundation, Animal Alliance, Coastwalk, Drylands Institute, Oceana and Reef Protection International. For two years he served as senior research scientist at the Ocean Conservancy.
Nichols earned an MEM in environmental policy and economics from Duke University’s Nicholas School and a Ph.D. in wildlife ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona. The event is sponsored by the T.J. Day Interdisciplinary Initiative Fund. Collaborating Linfield departments include philosophy, English, psychology, history, biology and environmental studies. For information, call 503-883-2362.
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