Educating kids about oceans aim of free Blue Hill concert

Posted Aug. 11, 2010, at 8:33 p.m.

Sam Lardner has led a wild life. Between working as a teacher in the United States, a marketer in post-Communist Russia, heading up a European nonprofit helping disabled athletes, and performing as a folk singer and country musician all over the world, he has a lot of stories.

His favorite story to tell now, though, is the one about the world’s oceans. Lardner, working with the nonprofit organization Oceans Are Talking, part of the Ocean Foundation, has released an album of songs aimed at educating children about the ocean, the animals in it, and the environmental trouble it is in. Lardner will perform his songs during a free concert at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 13, at the Marine Environmental Research Institute in Blue Hill.

“Children are powerful influencers,” says Lardner, “That dynamic is very much behind what we are doing with ‘Oceans Are Talking.’ I want kids to listen to and enjoy this music fully. I have intentionally written the songs to be full of positive energy, hope and inspiration.”

Friend and colleague Ann Luskey, founder of the Ocean Foundation, approached Lardner in 2008 about him doing a kid’s album talking about the dangers the world’s oceans are facing. Together, the pair worked to write, record and release the album, titled “Oceans Are Talking.” They also created an organization around it aimed at educating families about things such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a mass of plastic trash swirling around a current in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

“Up until now, we assumed that the oceans would always clean themselves and help absorb some of the shock we humans have inflicted upon the planet,” said Lardner. “We now know that’s not the case.”

Despite their sometimes worrisome subject matter, Lardner’s songs are very hummable and, in some cases, highly danceable. He blends folk, pop, Latin and funk into a style appealing to both kids and adults.

In addition to the fun, educational songs Lardner will perform at Friday’s concert, proceeds from sales of the “Oceans Are Talking” album will be donated directly to a variety of ocean organizations. The show is part of the Marine Environmental Research Institute’s 20th anniversary celebration. For information, visit www.oceansaretalking.com and www.meriresearch.org.

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