Bear Creek Farm is more than 1,000 miles from either coast, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love and cherish the ocean here! Our oceans are vital to our planet’s health. They drive the climate, release oxygen, and produce food for people all around the world.
Unfortunately, our oceans are in trouble. Nitrogen runoff disrupts the pH and kills coral reefs. Plastic pollution fills the sea with garbage. And global warming causes the icecaps to melt, leading to lower levels of salt in the ocean.
World Ocean Day is June 8, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness about ocean conservation — and make some beautiful oceanic crafts as well! It began in 1992 in Canada, and it’s now a global holiday. Many organizations offer educational events and opportunities to take action. Our oceans need our help.
At Bear Creek Farm and the Dakota Fiber Mill, we strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We incorporate sustainability practices into our work. The fiber arts lend themselves well to repurposing and recycling. Indeed, wool is a 100% renewable resource! Our sheep and alpacas will re-grow their fleece every year, no matter what.
So while we may be a long drive from the nearest ocean, we’re eager to celebrate World Ocean Day by raising awareness and celebrating our beautiful seas. This year, the Conservation Action Focus is to protect at least 30% of our lands, waters, and oceans by 2030. To protect our oceans, we must address the problems of climate change and pollution.
Here’s what we’re doing at Shepherd Industries LLC:
- We repurpose as much as possible, locally sourcing much of our food and supplies. Spare wool gets turned into felted coasters, felting cushions, and even fertilizer.
- We treat animals as the intelligent, sentient beings they are.
- We host events, workshops, and classes about responsible shepherding, birdwatching, natural-materials crafts, and other similar topics.
Want to celebrate World Ocean Day with us? Start by going green with your crafting. As plastic waste is a major polluter of our oceans, opt for natural materials. You can repurpose old cardboard and glass containers for storage.
Note that many plastics and other synthetic materials also have a high carbon footprint, which contributes to global warming. A lot of cheap fiber is actually polyester — a type of plastic! Also, many craft materials are made of foam, a petroleum byproduct with potentially toxic effects.
We make felting cushions out of scrap fleece, which is both environmentally friendly and non-toxic. (Bonus: It doesn’t wear down your felting needles as quickly as foam does.) You can get a wool felting cushion along with our sustainably dyed wool in our Deluxe Needle Felting Kit.
And of course, you can honor our planet’s incredible marine creature by making some adorable felted friends! Try my new blue whale kit — a miniature version of Earth’s largest animal. Whales travel in groups called pods, so be sure to grab material to make another whale or two. You could also make fish, crabs, dolphins, penguins, or whatever else strikes your fancy!
Tutorials are available in my Needle Felting Academy. If you’re an experienced felter, you can let your imagination run wild. I’d love to see what you create! Post pictures and tag me on Instagram at @prairieshepherd with the hashtag #WorldOceanDay.