This summer, I got a chance to fulfill my dream of being Jacques Cousteau. Unfortunately, this experience was short-lived as I was returned to being a mere civilian after completing a game with the campers at the Central Park Zoo. Noah Chesnin, Policy Program Manager for New York Seascape at the Wildlife Conservation Society, created this game. For half an hour, the carpeted classroom floors were transformed into the coasts of the tri-state area, the open ocean, and the depths of the Hudson canyon as students swam around as a whale, a ship, coral, fish, turtles, recreational fishermen, the coast guard, or even Jacques Cousteau himself. This role playing game demonstrates just how many different individuals need to coordinate in order for things to run smoothly in the oceans. For example, the students playing the role of whales had to come up with compromises with boats, such as introducing shipping lanes to prevent collisions.
Since the game recognizes the importance of teamwork in marine policy work, Chesnin presented his ocean planning game on August 31st during the New York Aquarium’s event entitled “Navigating New York’s Busy Ocean: Whales, Ships and a New Era of Ocean Planning.” This idea, that I like to call “Collabor-Ocean,” is represented simply through the game and is vital to ocean planning