2012-13 Research Fellow: Isabella Kelm

Isabella Kelm loves dolphins.  When asked what she wanted to do as a research fellow project at the Baden Academy media lab, she immediately thought of dolphins! She wanted to write a book about dolphins, and mermaids, and Sparkle Lakes.She was partnered with a mentor, Cheryl Bonnes. Cheryl is a Marine Mammal Specialist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency. Cheryl came to the media lab via Skype. Cheryl shared with Izzy details about what the NOAA does and the great work of Dolphin Smart to protect the wild dolphins in coastal waterways.

Isabella also learned about the tragedy of the Gulf Oil spill, an oil spill that is still the target of coastal cleanup campaigns. Her book beautifully weaves together the fantasy of magical dolphins with the painful reality of the oil spill and the Dolphin Smart rules. Kindergarten kids cheered and fell in love with Dolly the Dolphin as Izzy shared the first drafts with them.

The story unfolds as Aurora, a little girl who loves dolphins, must fight the urge to pet them to keep them safe. She is rewarded with a magical transformation into a mermaid. Unexpectedly she has to make a difficult decision to save her dolphin friends from an oil spill. A copy of the book can be found online. Proceeds benefit Dolphin Smart.

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