‘Wonders of the Sea’ Brought Ashore

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Award-winning author and photographer Marc Shargel will return to the Environmental Nature Center on Wednesday, June 29, at 6 p.m.

The evening is open to families and will include a projected image show, lecture and book signing of all three of his “Wonders of the Sea” books: Vol. 1, “Wonders of the Sea: North Central California’s Living Marine Riches”; Vol. 2, “Wonders of the Sea: Marine Jewels of Southern California’s Coast and Islands”; and Vol. 3, his recently released, “Wonders of the Sea: Hidden Treasures of California’s Far North Coast.”

All three volumes brilliantly capture the unique and fragile beauty of a section of the underwater world just off California.  The last in the series will cover the south-central California coast, where Shargel resides.

Each of his coffee table books discusses the marine ecosystems, history, ecology and oceanography of a part of the coast. In easy-to-understand terms, he explains the complex interdependence of the various plants and creatures, highlighting the importance protecting  the fragile balance just beneath the surface of the sea.

Chances are most people will never come face to face with a wolf eel emerging from a rocky crevice or find themselves floating amidst clouds of hundreds of moon jellies. But Shargel’s up close photos are the next best thing.

The “Wonders of the Sea” series, “is an outgrowth of my participation in the Marine Life Protection Act.” Shargel said. He has testified before regulatory panels, given speeches to civic groups about the importance of protecting the ocean, and participated in the founding of two marine conservation organizations in the Monterey Bay region.

In 2005-2006, he served on the state’s Central Coast Regional Stakeholder Group, an advisory body that provided guidance to California’s Fish and Game Commission on where to designate marine protected areas along the southern central coast.

“I found the political process was rife with dry data and vociferous opinions, but devoid of visual representations of the marine life the whole thing is about. So I tried to fill that void while I was a participant, in 2005-06. Starting in 2007 I began work on these books.

His love of ocean and scuba began at Stanford University in 1978, where he earned two bachelor degrees – in Psychology and Biology.

“I spent a quarter doing marine biology (mostly underwater) at Hopkins Marine Station. I dabbled in photography as a teenager, then got really interested in bringing images of marine life to non-diving acquaintances after I’d been diving a few years.”

Shargel says that one simple thing people can do to protect our oceans is to buy seafood carefully. “If your food store has a red/yellow/green sustainability coding system for seafood, pay attention to it. If they don’t, encourage them to get one.”

This program is free for members of the ENC and $5 for non-members. For more information or to RSVP Call 949-645-8489 [email protected] to RSVP.  Mark Shargel will also be appearing for a book signing at Martha’s Bookstore on Balboa Island on Saturday, July 2, 11a.m. to 1p.m. For details, call 949-673-7185.

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