As a kid, Lyn Damgaard lived in Reseda, in the San Fernando Valley of California, only half an hour away from the Pacific. Her family would often take her out to the ocean, for recreation and playing. One of Lyn’s fondest memories from her childhood was when she discovered the pools on the beach left by the tide, with all kinds of creatures still in them. This would impart a great awe and respect for the ocean and environment.
After a heavy rainfall, she would notice that the beach would be covered in litter, trash, and various objects brought to the ocean from the city. Disappointingly, she was often forbidden to swim in the ocean due to its pollution. She would also come to notice the animals on the beach.
Turtles with straws stuck in their noses, animals dying of foreign objects in their stomachs, starving yet their stomachs full, seagulls caught up in plastic items, sea animals with hooks and fishing lines in them… what are we doing to cause harm to these creatures, that are defenseless against humans -- Lyn Damgaard, QA Specialist, Redmond, Washington
It was especially the plight of the animals that brought forth a deep seated and lasting empathy for them. This would lead her to an interest in the ocean and the sustainability thereof. Through various internships, jobs and degrees related to ocean conservation, this interest would also include volunteering at Aquariums, all around California, in an educational capacity.
“A lot of the kids that came to the aquarium had never seen the ocean before. They had never seen stuff that I take for granted, sea-stars, sea-cucumbers and fish. So, when you are holding one and you ask them to touch it, they are like ‘Whoa, this is sooo cool!’.” Lyn says smiling.
Volunteering primarily with marine related projects, but even participating in events such as Earth Day, Lyn would later focus most of her efforts on Ocean Conservation, for example the LA Water Keeper project. Understanding from an early age the fragility of the oceans, waterways and lakes, and realizing the vulnerability of its marine life, Lyn now sees the urgency for action, the need for policies, the importance of educating the children, and the role volunteering plays in that mix.
“I can only do so much now, and if I want to contribute to keeping the momentum going, these kids will be me in 10-15 years. These kids that you are talking to and teaching, are the future.”, Lyn confides.
Lyn, who recently moved to Seattle, will continue her volunteering work at Probi. With the new program of #togetherfor17 at Probi she can now use 17 hours of her paid time for volunteering work. Lyn and many other employees at Probi are committed to the UN Sustainability Goals and contribute with their time, passion and commitment to a sustainable world for all.
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