What Can You Do?

We all want to help the kelp. Here are some ideas for how to get involved.

Learn more about what you can do according to your interests and abilities.

Do you walk the beach?

Be Curious! Find your local beach and get to know it. Take your children and grandchildren with you. Notice: what is being washed ashore at what time of year? Is there bull kelp on the beach? Is it large and mature, or small and juvenile? Does it have dark, spore patches on the blades?

Explore the tidepools: Track the low and minus tides, and observe the zonation of the various seaweeds. What is growing close to the top, what is only visible at the lowest tides. What else do you see? Sea urchin, sea stars? Remember and record what you see. Become a community scientist!

Know how the beaches and coastal waters near you are managed: Is it an MPA (Marine Protected Area)? What are its rules regarding collecting from the beach, in the tidepools, or harvesting fish and shellfish just off shore? Look for signs and maps that share this information and share it with others you know.

Are you a community scientist?

Do you use iNaturalist or Seek? Input your observations from your beach walks into these applications. They are valuable for monitoring bull kelp everywhere and you can contribute to a collective database to support biodiversity science. All you have to do is observe! Find a local monitoring program through your local Marine Protected Area managers.

Are you a diver?

Get certified to help volunteer with kelp restoration efforts and citizen science. Volunteer with ReefCheck to help monitor and survey the near shore ecology. They will train you in all the safety techniques and procedures for being an effective citizen scientist diver doing important kelp forest monitoring and restoration work in your community.

What do you eat?

If you eat fish consult the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. Know your fisher people – there are more and more local, sustainable, small-scale fishermen and women. Buy directly from them! Eat mussels, oysters, clams (all very good high-protein seafood that benefit their waterways) and lower trophic fish such as sardines and squid, as well as sea vegetables and other alternatives to fish (but check your local biotoxin levels to ensure they’re safe for consumption). Learn more about Aquatic Foods from this website offering open-access resources designed to empower chefs, food service entrepreneurs, health care professionals and other aquatic food advocates in promoting bivalves and sea vegetables. And check out Barnacle Foods for delicious products from kelp farms in Alaska!

Can you donate?

Give money to support kelp restoration projects and ocean advocacy organizations in your region, or to national and international organizations helping kelp everywhere. See our Resources page.

What do you shop for?

Look for kelp products - delicious ingredients and snacksseasonings and foods, as well as products that are on the forefront of sustainable packaging made from seaweeds. Eliminate all single use plastics.

Do you vote?

Reach out to your local officials and make sure they know that kelp forest restoration projects need federal and state funding. And be sure to vote for your local, state and national elected officials who support policy and legislation for healthy oceans.

Do you invest money?

Know where your investment dollars go. Invest in alignment with your values and divest in all equities and mutual funds that perpetuate the use of fossil fuels. Check the ESG ratings of all companies you invest in. Consult AsYouSow. Get involved in investing responsibly and climate action through Third Act (for those in their Third Act!).

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Educators and Students

Make sure marine biology is foundational to biology classes and add kelp stories to your curriculum. Teach and learn about ocean science and kelp forests across disciplines. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has curriculum for teachers of 3-5th grades. And reach out to us @Above/Below to find out how to repurpose the content in this webstory for your course work.

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Climate Activists

Consider the oceans as a crucial strategy for absorbing atmospheric carbon. The science of sequestering carbon by kelp forests is being worked on actively. Read up  and investigate reliable sources as this issue gets researched more deeply. Kelp forests need cold oceans! Let’s all work to limit atmospheric carbon dioxide to stop ocean warming and acidification.

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Learn the ecological and cultural history of the places you love and do what you can to care for those places. Share your curiosity and knowledge with others to grow our kelp community and collective impact. Engage in ocean stewardship everywhere!

To learn how you can get involved in kelp research, restoration and education activities in your region, please visit our Resources page.

Thank you to the Puget Sound Restoration Fund for their inspiration and source material for this section.