The Officer Snook Water Pollution Program was created in 1993 by Jennifer Sevin, then a high school student, for the purpose of educating children about the causes, effects and solutions to water pollution. In 1994, the Officer Snook Program was incorporated into the U.S. Coast Guard Sea Partners Campaign. Since its inception, the Program has expanded tremendously and today targets a variety of audiences using multiple educational methods and community activities nationwide and abroad. To date, the Officer Snook Program has educated well over 6 million students and over 350,000 educators nationally.
The Officer Snook Water Pollution Program’s goals include the education of the general public on topics pertaining to water pollution, the ability to provide opportunities for action to be taken in communities to reduce pollution, and aid in the prevention of future water pollution problems. Through the Program, individuals learn about the causes, effects and solutions to water pollution, specifically as they relate to watersheds, aquatic and marine organisms, water quality, water conservation, human health and safety, and commercial and recreational water use; as well as waste reduction and disposal on land and water. The Officer Snook Program complements other existing programs by emphasizing the interrelationship between land and water systems and how human actions impact these systems. The Program is long term and addresses issues of critical concern to specific areas, while initiating needed education and action in communities.
Officer Snook, a cartoon fish, is a symbol of protecting our water environments worldwide. The Officer Snook Water Pollution Program has been developed around this character to educate young individuals and adults about the importance of pollution prevention.
The Officer Snook Puppet Show, designed for children in Kindergarten and the 1st Grade, is both educational and fun for all involved.
The Officer Snook Program targets children and adults of all ages. Officer Snook presentations are tailored specifically to the age level and geographic region of the audience, and may include a puppet show, stuffed animal demonstration, role-playing, field trips, slides, videos, hands-on activities, interactive discussions, workshops and guest speakers from a variety of governmental agencies and organizations. Presentations are conducted for a multitude of youth groups and organizations including school classes, environmental clubs, religious groups, scout organizations, summer programs, museums and fishing clubs. To incorporate the Officer Snook Program into existing school curricula, teacher workshops are conducted and educators are provided with a number of environmental resource materials.
Community activities and events are other means used to educate and motivate people in pollution prevention and environmental protection. The Program supports and participates in community cleanups, storm drain stenciling programs, tree planting events, marina and fishing events and student contests, to name a few. Newspaper, radio, television and the Internet also play an important role in informing a broad audience about the goals and objectives of the Officer Snook Program. Additionally, mobile booth displays and exhibits at museums and public facilities are visited by thousands of individuals on a continuous basis. These displays not only inform young visitors about environmental issues, but serve as a reminder as to their role in pollution prevention. Educational literature and informative materials, including coloring books, comic books, educator guides, activity books, flyers, posters, stickers and trash bags are distributed at presentations and events. An Officer Snook costume makes appearances at special events and parades, and is certainly an attention getter and crowd pleaser. The Officer Snook Program offers multilingual educational materials in English, Spanish and Creole that are distributed at presentations and community events.
This picture was taken at the 2006 Jr. Orange Bowl Parade, where the Officer Snook Program and the U.S. Coast Guard had an entry.
The Officer Snook Program has partnered with many agencies and organizations, including the EPA, DEP, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, DC Fisheries and Wildlife Division, Wildlife Conservation Society, North Carolina’s Cape Fear River Watch Program, Hillsborough County, Indian River County, Miami-Dade County’s Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM), the Florida Marlins, the Florida Aquarium, the New York Aquarium, and the Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament, to name a few.
For over 15 years, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary have, and continue to be, one of the Program’s main partners. Each year, hundreds of Officer Snook programs are given throughout the country by U.S. Coast Guard Sea Partners and members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
In 2005, the Officer Snook Program entered into a partnership with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) to educate young people about the impacts of marine pollution and ways to prevent it. Norwegian Cruise Lines has incorporated elements of the Officer Snook Program into their NCL Kids Crew program onboard all of their ships, which includes fun and educational activities for children and youth of all ages. There is also a teen component that allows junior and senior high school students to earn community service hours.
The Officer Snook Program and Norwegian Cruise Lines partner to protect our seas. Pictured from left to right: Launi Hurst, Youth Program Supervisor; Mariv Vucetic, Environmental Officer; Officer Snook himself; Donna Crowder, Youth Fleet Program Supervisor; Jennifer Sevin, Officer Snook Water Pollution Program Director
Over the years, the Officer Snook Program has presented at various high profile conferences, including the 1994 International Marine Debris Conference in Miami, Florida, the 1994 Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Conference in Barbados, the 1995 Gulf of Mexico Symposium in Corpus Christi, Texas, the 1997 National Science Teachers Association Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, the 2004 White Water to Blue Water Conference in Miami, Florida, and the 19th Biennial International Oil Spill Conference held in 2005 in Miami Beach, Florida. The Officer Snook Program has also conducted numerous U.S. Coast Guard “Train the Trainers” conferences throughout the United States.
In addition to conference presentations, the Program conducts teacher workshops to help educators incorporate elements of the Program and its important messages into their classroom curriculum.
Jennifer Sevin, creator of the Officer Snook Water Pollution Program, receives the 1995 Keep Florida Beautiful Award.
The Officer Snook Water Pollution Program continues to establish itself as a highly recognized, respected and successful educational program. The Program's components are unique, target audience specific and carry a simple and clear message. Officer Snook materials and presentation requests continue to exceed available resources. The Officer Snook Program and its creator are recognized in communities across the nation and have won numerous awards both on a regional and national level. Recognition includes the Governor's Environmental Education Award of Florida, the Keep Florida Beautiful Award, the President's Service Award Citation signed by President William Jefferson Clinton and the U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Merit.