A Legend Worthy of the Seven Seas: Happy Birthday Jacques Cousteau!

“The future rests in the hands of young people. By capturing children’s interest in the undersea world at an early age, we inspire them to continue learning about it — and about how to care for our precious Water Planet — throughout their lives.”    

 – Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau


Throughout the 1970s, households around the world dedicated their Saturday evenings to their television sets to tune into The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. With his “Undersea World,” Jacques Cousteau educated a generation the world over about marine biology & scientific exploration. His documentaries and filming were always breathtaking & cutting edge, and his passion for the environment was undeniable as it shone through into millions of living rooms each week.  

His contributions to marine science run much deeper than television though.  With his iconic red beanie and famed ship Calypso, the French marine explorer, inventor, filmmaker, and conservationist sailed the world for much of the late 20th century, educating millions about the Earth’s oceans and its inhabitants, and inspiring their protection. Sadly, Cousteau died in 1997, but his legacy lives on in millions of marine biologists, oceanographers, explorers & scientists. It’s no surprise that in the years after his death, he’s become even more of a legend for his pioneering marine work and innovations. 

As we approach the birthday of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, we were curious as to what made this scientific ocean explorer such a vital part of scientific history? In addition to bringing oceanography & ocean conservation to the masses – here are our top reasons why every person – young or old – should know Captain Jacques Cousteau!

1. Jacques Cousteau – The Pioneer & Inventor

Oceanography, the study of the oceans, has been around for a very long time but only started formally in the last century or two. Less than 130 years ago the oceans finally started to be explored by the Americans, British, and other European nations.

In 1943, Cousteau and Emile Gagnan, a French engineer, invented the demand regulator, which, when attached to the SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Oxygen Breathing Apparatus), allowed divers to dive more deeply and for longer periods. The combined equipment was dubbed “the aqualung” & revolutionized the field of oceanography. For the first time people had the ability to stay under water for extended periods of time & better understand the different kinds of creatures that live in the deep depths of the sea. The invention also aided in the advancement of geological science as geologists were now able to study the sea floor & study how the Earth had changed over thousands of years.  

With his invention of the Aqua-Lung, Cousteau took his place as a pioneer in ocean exploration and led his crew on to explore and film parts of the ocean depths that had never been seen before – ever!

2. Jacques Cousteau – The Award-Winning Film Maker & Science Super-Star

One of Cousteau’s most valuable contributions to the world was simply in submerging cameras, donning Aqua Lungs and introducing millions of people, with a huge dose of exuberance, to a new world both on television & with his never-before-seen underwater documentaries. Cousteau’s adventures were the first of their kind – a deep & complete introduction for the general public to the mysterious undersea world.

Cousteau had no science degree, but his passion and visual storytelling skills worked like a siren’s call, pulling us into his undersea world with the message of “Come with me & look at this wonderful thing & see how it acts & behaves.”  Some of his films that shot him to super-stardom were the Oscar-winning films such as The Silent World, The Golden Fish, and World Without Sun.

Thanks to modern technology, part of the Cousteau Archive is now accessible on a mobile application via the Android Market & I-Tunes. Through three unique collections, re-discover the legendary adventures of Jacques-Yves Cousteau: his expeditions, his crew, his inventions, his dreams and aspirations… The app also features some of the best images and films uploaded by the users of the Cousteau Divers website, witnessing the state of our oceans today.

3. Cousteau: Underwater Settler & Sea Floor Pioneer

But Cousteau wanted more than to just film the ocean; he wanted to colonize it. Cousteau thought of the sea as a place to be colonized using craft similar to stations in space. Cousteau and his team created the first underwater habitat for humans: Conshelf I, which led to Conshelf II and III. The habitats could house working oceanauts for weeks at a time.Clark Lee Merriam, a spokesperson for the Cousteau Society told National Geographic “He was ahead of even the United States Navy, which was doing the same thing in proving people could live and operate underwater for extended periods of time.”

In 1963, Cousteau and four other men spent a month at 33 feet beneath the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt in an underwater settlement that included air conditioning and Plexiglas windows that showed ocean life swimming by.

His dreams of colonizing the ocean never materialized, but when Cousteau died in 1997, he was remembered as a passionate defender of the world’s oceans. The Cousteau Society, founded by Cousteau in 1973, continues to fight for the protection of the environment and natural resources.


You can learn more about  Jacques Cousteau, His Explorations & The Cousteau Society here

Now available on DVD, digitally enhanced from the original recordings, is the landmark TV series that cemented Jacques Cousteau’s international reputation as a trailblazing pioneer of underwater exploration and documentary filmmaking. Together with the crew of his ship, the Calypso, Cousteau travels the far reaches of the world, examining with respect and affection the wide varieties of life they encounter. From mammals such as dolphins, whales and seals to sharks, octopuses and the mysterious creatures of the ocean’s darkest depths, each episode of this groundbreaking 36-part series reveals new wonders of the natural world.

For trailers from the series of ground breaking documentaries, please click below:

The Silent World –Trailer 

The World Without Sun – Trailer 

Voyage To The Edge Of The World – Trailer

Make a Splash…Make a Difference! Get Ready for World Oceans Day!

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Did you know that the largest mountains on Earth have never been climbed? They lie under the ocean, along with the vast majority of all living beings on Earth! The ocean is a majestic mystery; if the seas were the size of your computer screen, the representative amount that has been fully explored by humans would be the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Amazingly, 95% of the ocean has not even been seen by human eyes, let alone explored. Who knows what could be down there – Jurassic sea monsters, new life forms, shipwrecks loaded with treasure, or even clues to predicting earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

With the earth being about 70% water, there is an overwhelming amount of exploring to do. That’s why it is so important to learn about our Oceans. How else are we going to discover our history, where we came from, and how our world is evolving? All these answers can be traced back to the sea, where all life on earth began. Still interested? Join us as we dive a little deeper & reveal our top 5 reasons to study the deep blue sea, while we still can!

1) The Ocean is Responsible for Our Weather and Our Climate

Hurricanes, floods, El Nino, La Nina – what do they all have in common? The ocean! Changes in weather prompt people to worry about the Mayan calendar or speculate that the Apocalypse is the cause but in reality, it’s the ocean that’s behind the changes.

 Surprisingly, the sediment of the deep ocean is like the rings of a tree, it holds a wealth of knowledge about ocean currents in the last 100,000 years. Scientists have discovered that currents remained stable for years, only to suffer inexplicable jolts where they were thrown off course and the weather changed dramatically.

2) The Seafloor is the World’s Largest Museum

There are Thousands of Shipwrecks Waiting to be Discovered! 

Shipwrecks litter the ocean floor like capsules frozen in time. Shipwrecks found along trade routes offer us a glimpse into the history of entire civilizations, as well as a snapshot into a day in the life of those who perished aboard them. Besides just the gold and silver that treasure hunters seek, cargo from shipwrecks has included bronze and marble statues from ancient Greece, ancient jars filled with the residue of the foods they once contained, and priceless ceramic vases from Asia.

3) Understanding Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics

Volcanoes, Earthquakes & the Sea Floor

It wasn’t until 1955 that U. S. Survey ship, Pioneer, discovered magnetic striping on the sea floor of the west coast of the United States. Magnetic striping occurs when grains of magnetite align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field, which has repeatedly changed from north to south and back again due to the Earth’s fluid iron core. This proved that the sea floor was moving, and gave credence to the theory that the continents rest on tectonic plates. The edges of the plates, called plate boundaries, are where the majority of the volcanoes on Earth are found, 90% of the most active volcanoes on Earth are in the Pacific Ring of Fire, where plates are constantly moving.

The best place on Earth that plate boundaries can be observed is the sea floor, where the crust can be seen forming at mid-ocean ridges. Studying the sea floor enables us to learn more about the volcanoes and earthquakes that occur at the plate boundaries, and may one day enable us to predict them.

4) 95% of Earth’s Living Creatures are Found in the Ocean

Stepping into the Ocean is Like Stepping Back in Time!

Quick – what’s the largest animal that ever lived on Earth? No, it’s not a dinosaur and it’s not extinct. The largest animal that has ever lived on Earth is the blue whale. But after hundreds of years of study, we still know very little about this elusive creature.

We used to think the deep sea abyss was devoid of any life, until in the 1970s Dr. Robert Ballard (of Titanic fame) and his crew found hydrothermal vents surrounded by a bounty of sea life. Giant tube worms were found living in the dark, fed by bacteria in their tissues that oxidized sulfur to provide energy. Previously we had thought that all life required the sun, now we know that it can not only survive without it, some creatures are fed by what we would consider toxins.

What else don’t we know and what can ocean creatures teach us?

5) The Earth is 70% Covered in Water & Oceans Affect How We Live

Shouldn’t We Protect our Planet & Learn About All that it has to Offer?

The ocean is our life support system; it gives us our water and our air. We will only protect what we understand, and we hardly understand our ocean at all. It’s important to understand where our resources come from and how to preserve them. Things like fish, oil, and the importance of the sea food chain.  Our future could soon rely on the ocean, it’s not all the way explored and some possibly important minerals could be hiding under the ocean floor.

June 8th is  World Oceans Day, a day when people around the globe come together to celebrate our ocean and take action to protect it. And with good cause! The ocean not only makes our world livable, it provides us with food, water, commerce, recreation, and medicine. World Oceans Day gives people across the globe the opportunity to pause and reflect on the critical role the ocean has in sustaining our planet. With awareness comes the opportunity to better understand that the things people do every day have an impact on the health of the ocean and that the health of the ocean has an impact on their daily lives.

What can I do?

This June, challenge yourself to make a 2013 – 2014 commitment to protect the ocean. The theme is about making lasting change and it’s up to people like you to rise up and be the voice for the ocean all year long. Whether you live on the beach or on the prairie, you can still make a difference on World Oceans Day! Check out these great ideas on how you can dive in to make a difference!

Make an Ocean Promise

Share the Knowledge of Ocean Conservation!

Wear Blue, Tell Two

There’s an Ocean of Opportunities to Celebrate

Speak Up and Take Ocean Action

Organize an Aquatic Cleanup in Your Neighborhood

Ocean Lovers Come in All Ages – Learn How to Get Kids Involved

One Fish – Two Fish – Red Fish – Blue Fish! Celebrate with Dr. Seuss

Get Inspired by Jacques Cousteau & Take Part in Cap Rouge Day!

There are hundreds of events being held all over the world, find one near you and celebrate with a purpose this World Oceans Day or organize an event yourself! Check out these additional resources for ideas, free materials, event listings & more provided by The Ocean Project:

Activity kit is available for download

World Oceans Day youth video contest with great prizes

Partnership opportunities to enhance your event

NOAA: 30 Days of Oceans –  A Countdown to World Oceans Day 2013!


Spotlight on Real-World STEM: Marine Biology!


The ocean is a majestic mystery; if the seas were the size of this screen, the representative amount that has been fully explored by humans would be the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Not very much, right? With the earth being about 70% water, there is an overwhelming amount of exploring to do. That’s why the world needs most marine biologists! How else are we going to discover our history, where we came from, and how our world is evolving? All these answers can be traced back to the sea, where all life on earth began. Still interested? Dive a little deeper and read on!

Marine Biology in itself is a very broad spectrum, so there are often times areas of specialization, such as, Environmental Consultants, Fish and Wildlife Biologists, Fishery Management Biologists, Ichthyologists,  Aquarists, and Oceanographers, to name a few (Not sure what those are? Click here  to find out!) One thing they all have in common? You are guaranteed at some point to get your hands dirty and your body completely soaked. They don’t call it working “in the field” for nothing.

Although none of the campuses in the USF system offer a bachelor’s degree in Marine Biology, it is offered as an area of concentration in the Biology department. As a Biology/Marine Science major myself, I’m allowed to be a little biased in saying that this major offers a plethora of opportunities, as far as careers go. If you want a career in this field, here’s some important information you should know.

  • Receiving a master’s degree or Ph.D.  in marine biology is the most common approach to becoming a marine biologist. A bachelor’s degree is sufficient in many entry-level areas as well, so don’t be scared if grad school wasn’t in your initial plan; it’s not required, but recommended.
  • The majority of work conducted by marine biologists is research, research, research. Knowing how to properly work in a laboratory and read/write scientific papers is critical. Various types of technology are used as well, so this is definitely a hands-on type of career.
  • If you ask about the pay in this field of study, many marine biologists will probably laugh at you. The pay varies greatly and depends on your amount of experience and education. Most of the time, however, the job is considered more fun than a high-paying, but as they say—if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Many marine biologists are very passionate about what they do, so the benefits of their work greatly outweigh the pay.
  • Many positions in this field are very competitive. Because of that, an allotted amount of time is dedicated applying for grants to get funding for your work. But as mentioned before, the rewards are unrivaled. How will you be considered a competitive candidate? Get experience, and as much as you can. Get involved with volunteer work, internships, and travel to gain knowledge of the different marine ecosystems around the world. Many marine biologists will tell you: while schooling is very important and required for a career position, oftentimes it is the amount of experience you have outside of school that will land you the job. So get out there, learn, explore, and discover everything you can!

No matter what aspect of marine biology interests you, one of the most important factors that all marine biologists strive towards is conservation. Humans are the oceans’ worst enemy and their only hope. It is our responsibility to save what we are destroying with pollution and depleting with fishing and harvesting. If the oceans cannot thrive, neither will we. Become a marine biologist to help make a difference in our world, on both land and sea.

Click here to learn more about the growing field of Marine Biology! 

Teacher Appreciation Week: Thank You for All YOU Do!

As we celebrate teachers this week, there are so many things to be thankful for, but we should start at the top with a recognition that we appreciate everything that teachers do.

Walking into a classroom every day, motivating, inspiring, and yes, teaching children is certainly an endeavor worth celebrating!

For our part, we’d like to express our sincere appreciation to all the teachers that we have had to the privilege of interacting with here at High Touch High Tech as well as all the teachers our entire team has had the honor of learning from.

Looking for a way to show your appreciation?

If you’re crafty, check out these easy to make DIY Teacher Appreciation Gifts.

Find more low/no cost ideas in VolunteerSpot’s free eBook, The Greatest Gifts for Teachers.

High Touch High Tech Selected For “Best Of The Best” by Entrepreneur Magazine!

High Touch High Tech, Inc. has been honored with a recognition by Entrepreneur Magazine in its selection of “Best Of The Best: Franchises That Are No. 1 In Their Sectors.” Check out the national press release below:

Asheville, NC (PR Newswire) April 24, 2013– Announcing a special recognition appearing in the May, 2013 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine published by Entrepreneur Media. High Touch High Tech was selected for the following honors: 

“Best Of The Best: Franchises That Are No. 1 In Their Sectors”

A spokesperson from High Touch High Tech commented on the recognition: “This is quite an honor for us. The fact that Entrepreneur Magazine included High Touch High Tech in its selection of “Best Of The Best: Franchises That Are No. 1 In Their Sectors,”signals that our constant efforts towards business excellence are paying off. We are proud to be included in this recognition.”

The mission of High Touch High Tech is to introduce children, at an early age, to the amazing world of science and nature by providing innovative, educational, hands-on programs that are presented in a fun manner, that nurtures their budding young minds and stimulate both their imagination and curiosity. For more than 20 years, the rapidly growing children’s education franchise has cultivated an outstanding & diverse family of franchisees ranging from former educators to corporate executives. 

Following the publication of High Touch High Tech’s selection for Entrepreneur Magazine’s Best Of The Best: Franchises That Are No. 1 In Their Sectors list, American Registry seconded the honor and added High Touch High Tech to the “Registry of Business Excellence™”. 

With now 28 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea – somewhere in the world, at this very moment, there is a High Touch High Tech fun science experience happening!  To learn more about High Touch High Tech’s innovative, hands-on science programming, visit them online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net. 

For more information on High Touch High Tech, headquartered in Asheville, NC please call 828-684-3192 or contact them via email at info@sciencemadefun.net. 

To learn more about franchise opportunities with High Touch High Tech, visit us online at ScienceMadeFunFranchise.net.

High Touch High Tech is the leader in innovative hands-on science and nature experiences for children, serving over 4 million children annually with 27 franchise locations across the United States, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.