OVERVIEW of FMF PUBLIC INFORMATION AND EDUCATION ACTIVITIES by FMF
The Free Morgan Foundation (FMF) is a voluntary Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) which has active Board of Directors who promote the mission of the organization. We have a number of ways that we are applying this mandate which includes ‘Outreach’ – that is actions which are aimed at promoting public awareness (and understanding) of the issues surrounding the keeping of whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans) in captivity.
The FMF also has an Expert Board comprised of scientists, conservationists and experts in their own fields, who all conduct outreach in their own fields.
Additionally, a wide range of members of the public support the FMF through various avenues in order to publicise the work that FMF is doing and educate the public on behalf of FMF about Morgan and the issues of keeping orca in captivity.
In all cases the FMF Outreach may be formal (such as submissions to Government Authorities) or informal (such as attending festivals or giving school talks). Members of the public typically make informal contributions towards FMF Outreach (such as completing a fun run or a marathon in Morgan’s name) but may also make formal submissions (such as commenting on proposed laws in their country).
We welcome the public taking the time to educate others about the horrific situation for Morgan and other cetaceans held in captivity. We strongly support members of the public who pledge to not buy a ticket to places that keep cetaceans captive and we applaud them when they encourage others to do the same as this is a good way to send a strong message to the captivity industry.
Just a few of the outreach activities that have been conducted by and for the FMF are illustrated on this website. It is intended that education about the issues of keeping cetaceans captive will also promote conservation and therefore also help to also protect orca (and other cetaceans) in the wild.
A lot of work is done ‘behind the scenes’, such as translations (FMF regularly has documents that are in Spanish, Dutch and English – the three countries involved with Morgan’s situation) which we endeavor to produce in order to keep the public informed. The FMF also up-keeps this website and has a presence on social media.
The outreach activities include a variety of events such public events (e.g., WhaleFest, fun runs or marathons, farmers markets) where volunteers attend booths, give out stickers and educational brochures, give talks, wear apparel as a means of spreading the word and engage with the public.
FMF also has representatives at targeted events (e.g., hearings, conferences, film festivals), where specific audiences are given presentations (e.g., talks, posters, videos) which discuss the implications of Morgan’s situation and explain how she is not the only one to suffer in this way.
The type of Outreach that can be accomplished is only limited by imagination. If you wish to help Morgan through some form of Outreach, we ask that you please contact us before using our official logos and that you, at all times, remain respectful of those you come into contact with (including those who support or are involved in the captive industry) and that you present the facts. By remaining respectful you present yourself in a more professional manner and by presenting the facts you have evidence on your side.
The Free Morgan Foundation team thanks you for your continued efforts and we welcome the chance to work with you.
April 2016, FMF board members Dr Ingrid Visser and Rosina Lisker visited Members of the European Parliament (MEP) and their staff to talk about Morgan’s situation. German MEP Stefan Eck’s posted about our visit on his facebook page.
Rosina and Ingrid also met with MEP Pavel Poc (Czech Republic) at a workshop in Nuremberg, Germany. That workshop focused on the welfare issues and criteria for marine mammals in captivity.
FMF created and distributed fliers for the MEPs. These also proved to be very popular at other events and we have now distributed over 1,000 leaflets.
8 October 2015, Long Beach, California, USA
Dr Ingrid Visser gave the first presentation at the California Coastal Commission (CCC) hearing about the proposed SeaWorld ‘Blue World’ tank expansion. Calling on evidence from her visits to SeaWorld and Loro Parque FMF board member Visser was one of many who spoke out against the keeping of orca in captivity and against approval of the SeaWorld project. Although the CCC gave approval, their caveats included no-breeding, which will lead to an eventual phasing out of SeaWorld holding orca in concrete tanks in California. Clearly, there are links between SeaWorld, Loro Parque and Morgan – and the FMF discussed these with Commissioners after the hearing and during breaks.
Following the CCC decision, SeaWorld gave notice of its intention to challenge the CCC action in court. The FMF wrote to the CCC to express our concerns about certain factual misrepresentations by SeaWorld and those contained in the CCC Staff Report. The letter also pointed out that some material facts concerning SeaWorld’s real-world actions were either omitted by SeaWorld in its application or overlooked by Commission staff during the vetting of the proposal. We submitted facts that corrected and supplemented the record concerning the number of orca under Sea World’s care and the significance of fact that SeaWorld does not like to discuss Morgan because her case contradicts SeaWorld’s PR message that it does not take killer whales from the wild.
Fun Runs / Marathons
Our Board Members, supporters and members of the public attend a variety of fun-runs and marathons in various capacities. They sport apparel that is FMF branded, distribute stickers and information, staff booths, participate in the runs and cheer from the sidelines. One particular group of supporters, the Blackfish Racing team have been very active in marathons and runs. Samantha Berg, one of the ex-SeaWorld trainers who featured in the documentary Blackfish and now part of the ‘Voice of the Orcas’ team, ran in the Anchorage, Alaska marathon, specifically for Morgan. on 20 June 2015.
The FMF board welcomes participants in these events to wear apparel that encourages people to not buy tickets to entertainment parks which keep cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) captive. Perhaps you could get creative and wear an orca costume whilst participating, or cheering from the sidelines.
Other Public Events
WhaleFest, Brighton, UK
WhaleFest has been attended every year since its inception in 2014, by FMF members. The event “brings the world together to give marine life and our oceans a bigger voice.”
The FMF outreach at WhaleFest is so extensive that it deserves its own page so you can read more about what we do there.
BLUE Ocean Film Festival & Conservation Symposium
24-30 September 2012, Monterey, California, USA
Dr Ingrid Visser, Matt Spiegl and Terry Hardie, all FMF Board Members, as well as Jean-Micheal Cousteau (a member of the Expert Board of the FMF), attended the four day BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conservation Symposium. The issue of keeping cetaceans in captivity was discussed in many different forums, including Jean-Micheal Cousteau’s Key-Note speakers presentation.
Morgan’s plight was presented to a wide range of Ocean Advocates, including Dr Sylvia Earle (Mission Blue) and Professor Chris Palmer ( Center for Environmental Filmmaking at American University).
Morgan was also discussed with celebrities such as Edward James Olmos and others who have spent their whole lives in and for the ocean such as Fabian Cousteau who is not only a film maker but also an ‘aquanaut’ and his sister Céline Cousteau, who is also a film maker, explorer and designer. Both are grandchildren of the legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who taught so many of us to cherish the ocean.
The issues surrounding Morgan were also discussed with film makers such as Louie Psihoyos (founder of the Oceanic Preservation Society and Director of the Oscar award winning documentary “The Cove“) and Daniel Azairan (“A Day in the Life of Lolita” and the maker of PSA’s for Morgan), who were all in attendance at this prestigious event.
Morgan’s Court Cases
Morgan’s court cases are explained in more detail on a separate page. Although the focus for these was clearly litigation they also provided opportunities to educate the public. For example, around 100 people from different countries attended Morgan’s appeal court hearing in December 2013 and several banners were made by the public, showing their support for Morgan’s freedom.
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS (PSA)
PSA’s are typically short videos with a specific message – in this case, about the situation for Morgan.
We have a separate webpage that gives some examples and describes the amazing people who have donated their time to create these PSA’s as powerful ways to communicate.
FMF ON SOCIAL MEDIA
The FMF has a social media presence that engages with the public. Our volunteers devote a lot of time and effort into keeping Morgan’s followers updated. FMF’s outreach through Social Media has its own webpage.
And, of course, we have this website for Morgan.