SeaForester's Current Work 

Kelp Restoration from the Inside Out

SeaForester's current project "Kelp Restoration from the Inside Out (KRIO)" engages Abolition Ecologies to facilitate mutually restorative relationships between system-impacted people and kelp forests in Northern California. (This critical connection emerged for our team as a direct result of the mentorship and guidance of scholar-activist Dr. Renée Byrd). 

Prisons are front-line sites of Environmental Racism, extractivism, and colonization. Kelp is a powerful alchemist of carbon and pollutants, a healing food tied to Indigenous Sovereignty, a community builder, and a friend in need. System-impacted Environmental Justice activists, researchers, and educators are collaborating with kelp to interrupt cycles of violence and enact a thriving world.  

KRIO uplifts and strengthens mutual healing between resilient ecosystems and brilliant people by:

  • Providing high quality Environmental Justice education

  • Investing in researchers, organizers, and educators who have experienced incarceration

  • Developing relationships with community partners in cooperative development, aquaculture, restoration work, and BIPOC food sovereignty

  • Co-creating intentional, humanized spaces for connection with the Land/Sea 

Inside (San Quentin)

SeaForester co-facilitators (incarcerated and free) lead popular education workshops from KRIO's Ocean Connection and Community Care curriculum. These multi-modal lessons engage participants (our incarcerated colleagues at San Quentin) through storytelling, movement, reading discussions, games, and open inquiry on topics including: 

  • Kelp Ecologies and Foodways

  • Threats to Kelp Health

  • Kelp Powered Climate Systems and Solutions

  • Critical Environmental Justice/Relevance to Prisons

  • Human relationships with Land/Sea

  • Food Systems and Solidarity Economics

The KRIO curriculum supports participants in developing and enacting independent research projects, experiential lesson plans, and policies which contribute to Environmental Justice initiatives within prisons. This vital work is likewise shared with and reviewed by a wide network of peers in the fields of research, Threats to ocean health, education, and community organizing. This strengthens the projects, contributes to solidarity between incarcerated and free ocean care workers, and vehemently fights against the erasure of incarcerated people. 

Outside (Humboldt County)

In Humboldt County, formerly incarcerated Abolition Ecology Researchers are developing California's first Reentry Support and Ocean Care Cooperative. If researchers agree that a cooperative should form, they will create a comprehensive business plan and more forward with founding the co-op. To achieve this goal, researchers will attend skill building and Land/Sea connection workshops with relevant community partners. Importantly, they will align their research with seasonal changes in the kelp forest. For example:

  • In Autumn, ocean water is clear and visibility is strong. Researchers will use this time to 'vision' - creating community values/accountability processes and clarifying the theories which guide their work. 

  • In Winter, surging waves and predation unsettle kelp from their hold fasts. Nutrients cycle. Relationships change. Researchers will delve into Kelp Ecologies and Indigenous Sovereignty.  

  • In Spring, nutrients rise from the seafloor in a thick green cloud. Kelp grows rapidly. In conjunction with this upwelling, researchers will consider Cooperative Structures/Histories of uprising and resistance.  

  • In Summer, the kelp forest is abundant while a thick fog settles over its surface. Researchers will evaluate the 'two faces' of reentry - the abundance of returning to community and the carceral fog of parole, isolation, and system driven recidivism. 

Based on preliminary research, a Reentry Support and Ocean Care co-op could contribute to healing Northern California’s kelp forests by cultivating:

  • Edible seaweeds to reduce their wild harvest 

  • Climate resilient kelp for eventual out-planting to restore kelp forests

  • Gathered Urchins and sustainable shellfish 

A thriving co-op of this nature could accomplish so much! KRIO’s current goals include:

  • Providing affordable, nutritious food to system-impacted people

  • Creating pathways to business ownership and meaningful, well-paid work
    for people in reentry

  • Building far reaching relationships and profession networks between ocean care

  • Contributing to BIPOC Food sovereignty

  • Co-creating a hub for place-based Decarceration and Environmental Justice education

Behind bars, people are working to save the kelp forests

 Interview with Kelton O’Connor - Earth Equity Co-founder and Senior Advisory Board Member

Radio Station KALW | By Brian AseyUncuffed

Click here: 8 minutes 39 seconds