Because of its lustrous shell, the chambered nautilus is harvested and fashioned into jewelry and various ornaments. The Philippines, Indonesia, and New Caledonia have seen recent declines in nautilus populations, and it’s no surprise because the U.S. alone imported 579,000 specimens from 2005 to 2008. Dr. Peter Ward and his colleagues are in the process of taking a global census of the remaining nautilus population, and aim to call attention to the importance of keeping an ecosystem balanced. Ward states that when "you take something out of the food chain... bad things happen."
Last October, 11-year-old Josiah Utsch from Maine read this NYT article about the decimated chambered nautilus population and decided to take action and help Dr. Ward with the costs associated with his research. Utsch, along with his artist friend Ridgely Kelly, designed t-shirts, notecards, and bumper stickers to raise awareness for the dwindling numbers of nautiluses and raised close to $10,000 through sales and donations. Over Columbus Day weekend, the boys flew from Maine to Seattle, and on October 9 they had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ward and present him with the product of their hard work. KOMO and KING News stations were there to cover the inspiring story. "It's not like only adults can make a difference," said Utsch. "Younger people can make a difference, too."
Check out the video of their first meeting and interview here.
Photo credit: KOMONews.com