Revitalizing Native American Culture & Saving Marine Wildlife

Revitalizing Native American Culture One Beach Clean up at a Time.

by Karisa Boyce

Ocean Blue News is dedicated to raising awareness about the natural environment. We don’t often talk about why we do what we do, but lately we’ve been receiving a lot of questions. When people discover that we are running a nonprofit organization that gives back to the World’s Ocean they get really inspired and wonder where our motivation comes from.

Our passion ripples out from the founder and director of Ocean Blue, Richard Arterbury. He states, “I often feel overwhelmed with all the responsibilities of trying to obtain funding and I feel wealthy knowing that we get to support wildlife, preserve land, and clean beaches. What we do comes from the heart.” If you’ve met Richard in person, then you probably heard all about Ocean Blue and what we’re doing for streams, rivers, and the ocean. His enthusiasm never quits. You’ve also probably wondered.

How can one person be so alive with such motivation?

Richard has more inspiration about the ocean than anyone I have ever met.  He carries a love for nature that runs deep in his blood. A passion that has kept him working 18 hour days for the past six years. As a proud member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Richard is motivated by something that he feels deeply. So deep, in fact, that he is unable to identify a single moment in his life, a turning point, or an epiphany that is often behind the reason why people give up everything for the environment.

Born in Marshall Texas in 1973, Richard grew up as a young boy with his father passing on to him the long history of his ancestors. He was surrounded by wisdom of values handed down four generations from his Great Grandmother.

The photo below is a photo of his Great Grandmother. The original painting is located in The Museum of Regional History (originally the Texarkana Historical Museum)

Ola Pearl Low Kyle Choctaw American Indian
Ola Pearl Low Kyle Choctaw American Indian

Proud to be Choctaw American Indian

Richard’s father taught him how to grow food from the land from early age.

Richard’s father taught him how to grow food from the land and he remembers asking for canned food with a fancy label on it because he wanted something different from what he knew. His father also taught him how to hunt, but refused to kill a deer because there was plenty of food in the freezer.

Richard’s fondest memories of his father are of him holding honey bees. “He used to stand there holding a honey bee, laughing.” The bees were his friends and he always said that we have to take care of the bees because they take care of us. This friendship with nature is innate for Richard, and he is driven by the idea that the next generation can have this connection with nature too. 

Richard has gratitude that he is able to pass these values on to his children, including Fleet Arterbury, who first created the vision for Ocean Blue. Fleet knew the ocean made his dad happy. At 8 years old, Fleet came to Richard encouraging him to do a beach cleanup. In 2012, the story of Ocean Blue began on World Ocean Day at Nye Beach in Newport, Oregon with the help of The Ocean Project.
Today, Richard believes that it is his duty to inspire everyone around him, guide interns to be leaders, and teach youth to be environmental stewards. His easiest task is to share the beauty of the world around us through his photography and through teaching by example about the power of connecting with nature.

Being outdoors can be a commitment for some, but multitasking can make it easy. Environmental stewardship can become second nature through a slight shift in lifestyle. And if we all make small changes, this lifestyle shift can become a paradigm shift. We would love to see Ocean Blue volunteers plan their vacations or weekend getaways and simply spend 3 hours out of a 72 hour weekend working with Ocean Blue.  

If you are unable to make it out to events due to health or working so many hours, I would like to mention that this is what we do everyday and donating to a beach cleanup, even just one dollar, can make a huge impact!

If you are unable to make it out to events due to health or working so many hours, I would like to mention that this is what we do everyday and donating to a beach cleanup, even just one dollar, can make a huge impact! 

The best ways you can give back is to donate, or by making a pledge to pick up “3 pieces for the sea” of trash every day is just one more way to take part in saving the World’s Ocean! Working with thousands of volunteers, we have proven that planting trees, cleaning beaches, enhancing natural habitat, and allocating the funding needed to do so is overall quite simple and effective for communities and wildlife.

We don’t tell people how to live their lives. We are only sharing values from our heritage that means so much to us. Through Ocean Blue Project, Richard hopes to revitalize the part of his culture that embodies a respect for the land. We are sharing a shared belief of values. It’s what we do and Ocean Blue is here to stay. We hope you’ll join us!

Cary Bass-Deschenes / Flickr
Cary Bass-Deschenes / Flickr
Two people riding bike on a Oregon Beach.
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