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National Geographic photographer inspires teens to help safeguard the world’s oceans in Santa Barbara

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Hundreds of high school students rushed to their seats to see National Geographic photographer Cristina Mittermeier at the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara.

Tristan Santillan, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School, couldn’t wait to see her.

"Cristina Mittermeier is here and we get to watch her … doing a speech about the work she’s done the past few years. Her work is amazing," said Santillan.

Mittermeier’s mission to safeguard the world’s oceans through her photography has inspired Santillan.

"These animals are getting caught in nets and everything I feel it’s important now to speak up on it," said Santillan.

"Cristina uses photography and ocean photography in particular to raise awareness of ecology ... of the ocean ... of nature," said associate director Meghan Bush of the UCSB Arts & Lectures.

The UCSB Arts and Lectures hopes students will learn how photography can spread knowledge about the environment.

"I think it's super inspiring I think it's cool to see these different animals and everywhere she's been around the world," said Santillan.

"It Gives them appreciate for why the ocean is important ... why ecology is important ... and why the beautiful Santa Barbara that they live in … is so important to them," said Bush.

In the words of Mittermeier, she wants, “people to recognize that the ocean isn’t just a victim of climate change - it is our solution.”

“I feel like Santa Barbara is amazing but some spots are a little dirty .. so I’m glad she said that as well so hopefully we can have a cleaner environment for our future," said Santillan.

Mittermeier founded the International League of Conservation Photographers to drive conservation efforts through storytelling.

The photographer co-founded nonprofit SeaLegacy focused on the intersection of art, science and conservation to revive the ocean.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County
National Geographic
Santa Barbara

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Patricia Martellotti

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