News & Announcements

12/3/2018
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2019 AAUS Certification Program Renewals

Attention AAUS Instructors! It is time for your annual AAUS-ITI Instructor Renewal. Please note that this only applies to AAUS Instructors and OM Programs who have chosen to participate in the voluntary certification card program. You must renew annually as an Instructor with International Training (ITI) to maintain status as an AAUS Instructor and be able to register and certify AAUS divers. All renewal forms and instructions are in the AAUS Instructor community resource library. Instructors may access them by logging in at www.aaus.org, go to the ‘Members’ tab, ‘Member Profile’. Once at your profile, go to the ‘Participation’ tab and the ‘Communities’ header. Select the ‘AAUS Instructors’ community which will take you to a list of all participating AAUS Instructors. Select the ‘Resource Center’ on the right-hand menu-bar and all documents are in the ‘2019 Renewal’ folder.

STEP 1- AAUS Instructor Renewal Paper renewal - Complete the Instructor Renewal Form and submit the annual instructor renewal fee ($200) via mail. You may have received a renewal package in the mail. Online renewal - If you prefer to renew online at a reduced cost ($165) you may complete this process on the ITI website (www.tdisdi.com). To do so, login to your Instructor Profile, and then choose ‘Tools’, ‘Renew Membership’ from the menu bar. Complete the necessary information and submit the annual instructor renewal fee online with a credit card. Online renewal fee increases after Dec. 15 ($200).

STEP 2- AAUS Facility Renewal AAUS Facilities- as an AAUS instructor you must submit a paper Facility Renewal Form if you are the primary instructor/facility administrator at your AAUS facility. A Facility Fee is not required for AAUS Facilities; you may indicate this in the payment field. Submit this form via mail, fax, or scan and send as a pdf to (worldhq@tdisdi.com) with "AAUS Facility Renewal" in the subject line.

NOTE- the online Facility Renewal process is not available to AAUS Facilities; AAUS Facilities that renew online will be charged a Facility Renewal Fee. AAUS Facilities should instead complete the paper Facility Renewal Form as instructed above.

STEP 3- SDI/TDI Facility Renewal If you are an AAUS instructor and your Facility is also an SDI/TDI Training facility, you must submit a separate Facility Renewal Form for that SDI/TDI training facility, and a Facility Fee for that SDI/TDI facility.

Specific questions regarding the annual renewal process or online interface should be directed to ITI. General questions about the AAUS Certification Program should be directed to the AAUS Certification program coordinator (Chris Rigaud, crigaud@maine.edu) or the AAUS office (Heather Albright, aaus@aaus.org).  

12/3/2018
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AAUS Foundation 2018 Update

Our first year with two Internships - the Somers Scientific Diver Training Internship and the Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship - was a success due in large part to the efforts of Heather, Chris Rigaud, and Jenna Walker from OWUSS. Many thanks to Martha Somers, Chuck and Kathy Mitchell, and George Wozencraft for their financial support. The Foundation also funded first place and runner-up awards for both doctoral and master’s candidates, a Best Student paper award, and two Kevin Flanagan Student Travel Awards. Work continued on the fund-raising strategy thanks to yeoman effort by Jim Nimz from the National Park Service and we developed an enhanced social media presence through the efforts of AAUS Board member Jessica Keller. Foundation BOD members Ted Maney and Bill Dent stepped down from the Board and we thank them for their service. Ross Whippo, AAUS Scholarship Chair, and newly elected Director, Jim Nimz, are new members of the Foundation BOD. The Annual Bubblebreaker Auction and raffles at the Tahoe symposium raised about $16,000 for scholarships. Our thanks to Heather and the many sponsors of the symposium for making this so successful. AAUS Foundation has great products for everyone on your holiday list! Checkout the beautiful images by Seacology along with a variety of Kathy English Art products! Tax deductible donations are also accepted at the Foundation website. Donate now to get that deduction for 2018.

12/1/2018
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Don Canestro

On 9 November, 2018, just after his 64th birthday, Donald (Don) Canestro, was diving with his friend Dan Richards, in Cambria California. When he surfaced near their kayak, he said he did not feel well, then passed out. Dan got him to shore, performed CPR, and arranged for a helicopter to take Don to the hospital, but Don, who had survived so much before, died from cardiac complications.

It is ironic that Don, a former Dive Safety Officer, died while diving. For so many years, he was the person others relied on because of his knowledge, expertise and prowess underwater. But it is fitting that Don’s last day was spent in the ocean. Don was a dedicated waterman: he ocean swam, surfed, free-dove, scuba dived, and played underwater hockey. He could recite Navy dive tables, rebuild a regulator, and captain a research vessel. And Don knew more about the ocean and its inhabitants than most marine biologists.

Don’s professional life revolved around his love for marine biology and natural history. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 1977, he worked as a park ranger for the East Bay Regional Parks. When he tired of motorists running over his traffic cones, he filled them with cement, and watched the damage unfold. He loved the seasonal work because it allowed him to grow his hair out, travel much of the year, and keep in shape for the next triathlon. While traveling through Baja, Don got interested in diving. He became a dive instructor, then a Channel Islands National Park diver. In 1988, Don earned his M.S. in marine biology at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories by studying canopy effects on the growth and survivorship of understory kelp. Some of his Moss Landing cohort moved on to UC Santa Barbara to pursue a PhD. Hearing the news about sunshine and pretty women, Don headed south to UCSB to work as a marine biologist. This meant diving the Santa Barbara Channel, Antarctica, and French Polynesia to research topics ranging from offshore oil drilling to fish population growth. At UCSB, Don integrated with the graduate students as a roommate, mentor, basketball teammate, and romantic interest. He fell in love often - and got his heart broken perhaps as much. He’d famously invite his female companions to a home-cooked dinner consisting of abalone he’d pried off the rocks. And it would be the best abalone they ever tasted.

From 1993-2000 Don was the Dive Safety Officer at UC Santa Cruz, where he deepened his commitment to training skilled scientific divers. His mentorship in the diving community is legendary, and his connections to Santa Cruz remain deep. But by 2000, Don and his new wife Miranda were ready for a change. They found it when he became the first and only director of the UCSB-managed Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino Reserve in Cambria, CA.

These were happy, purposeful and satisfying years. Don reconnected with his first daughter Jessica, and his younger daughters, Carla and Stella were born. The family spent their days caring for a wild piece of coastline and a rustic ranch. Nights were spent in a wonderful, old, small adobe home with panoramic ocean views. Don learned to enjoy ranching and terrestrial biology. Managing the reserve integrated his professional skills, scientific interest, and gregarious nature. He could fix anything, especially something heavy or dangerous, but his real forte was promoting research, education and outreach to thousands of students and scientists from across California and the world. It will be hard to fill his big shoes at Rancho Marino.

Perhaps the best word to describe Don is “BIG”. Big body, big hands, big muscles, big mustache, big smile, big laugh, big attitude, but mostly, big heart. Don’s bigness flowed from his Italian heritage, in what was almost a caricature. He was a great cook and loved to feed people. A fantastic storyteller, he laughed loudly at his own anecdotes, and more than occasionally at his flatulence. He’d milk a goat, tell a joke about teats, and then make you a latte. If you were lucky, he’d pen some sarcastic lyrics, and set them to a blues riff on his harmonica to roast you at your wedding or retirement or birthday. Don was loud as hell in just about everything he did. Young Don was a rascal and hellion, known in Mexico as “El Testosterone Caminando.” But Don evolved as he aged. He stopped driving through Baja at night after hitting a cow. He grudgingly gave up his moustache. He was a playboy and reluctant parent early on, and a loyal husband and doting father in round two (including teaching his two youngest daughters to SCUBA dive this past summer).

Countless people with connections to Don mourn his passing. Our lives are far richer for having known him. He showed us how to appreciate nature and enjoy life to the fullest. Don also gave us the courage to do things we would not have tackled on our own, whether it be to paddle out into big surf, or drive the Baja peninsula, or replace a drive shaft (usually somewhere on the Baja peninsula). He also set the bar for what it meant to be a friend. And while many of us felt Don to be one of our closest friends, he was, in fact, a close friend to hundreds. He was not only compassionate and sensitive, but he was also perhaps the most gregarious, and generous people-person to walk the Earth and dive its waters.

Don Canestro leaves behind three daughters: Jessica Norkoski, 33, Carla Canestro, 15, Stella Canestro, 13, grandson, Henry Norkoski, 1 and his wife Miranda Canestro. A celebration of Don’s life is planned for March 2019 in Cambria.

10/31/2018
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Spring 2019 AAUS New DSO Orientation

The AAUS New DSO Orientation will be held either Friday February 22nd or Monday, February 25, 2019 in conjunction with the spring AAUS Board of Directors meeting. The day and location of this orientation will be determined by those who show interest in attending. If you would like to attend, please send an email to aaus@aaus.org with your location region and date preference no later than November 30th. Formal registration will open in December.

10/31/2018
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2019 AAUS OWUSS Internship Applications

2019 Dr. Lee H. Somers AAUS Scientific Diving Internship
OWUSS is currently taking applications for the 2019 Dr. Lee H. Somers AAUS Scientific Diving Internship. Intern applicants must be students from colleges and universities and must have an interest in science and diving. The program runs primarily from mid-May through August and will include training at one of several AAUS organizational member sites. This training will give the intern the necessary dive qualifications to allow participation on research projects requiring scientific diving and introduce the intern to careers that utilize scientific diving as a tool. Once trained as an AAUS-recognized diver-in-training, interns will participate in underwater field work at one or more locations and research facilities associated with the AAUS. The internship will be supported by funding for travel to/from site, room, board, and other internship-related expenses. The application deadline is December 01, 2018. For more information and to apply visit: http://www.owuscholarship.org/internships .

2019 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship
OWUSS is currently taking applications for the 2019 Mitchell Scientific Diving Research Internship. This internship is intended to be research-centric; therefore, training and certification as an AAUS Scientific Diver is a prerequisite and all applicants must be undergraduate students. The program runs primarily from mid-May through August and will be hosted at one of several AAUS organizational member sites. The internship will be supported by funding for travel to/from site, room, board, and other internship-related expenses. The application deadline is December 01, 2018. For more information and to apply visit: http://www.owuscholarship.org/internships .

10/31/2018
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AAUS Seeks Internship Hosts

AAUS is currently seeking OM hosts that can provide high quality experiences for our two internships. AAUS interns provide valuable exposure for your institution and scientific diving program. Prior to applying as a host, we ask that you read the full internship descriptions here and supporting documents for hosts here. Applications for 2019 must be submitted no later than November 15th, 2018. Please visit the AAUS Internship host page for full details and application https://aaus.org/AAUS/Scholarships/AAUS_OWUSS_Internship/Internship_Host_Information

10/2/2018
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Spring 2019 REEF Interns

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) in Key Largo, FL is now accepting applications for Spring 2019 Marine Conservation Interns. REEF’s Marine Conservation Internship provides an in-depth look into REEF's Volunteer Fish Survey Project and Invasive Lionfish Program. The internship provides diverse experiences including non-profit operations, outreach and education, field experience, data collection and management, public speaking, event planning and advertising. During the four-month internship, you will have many opportunities to dive and volunteer with partner organizations in the Florida Keys and South Florida. More info at http://www.REEF.org/internship.

10/2/2018
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New AAUS Email Address

Please note that AAUS now has a new email address! Please direct all communication to aaus@aaus.org. While the old address will be active for a bit longer, please update your address books and begin using the new address immediately for all correspondence. You may receive reply email from the old address for a while as we work through the transition phase.

10/2/2018
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2018 AAUS Scholars

The AAUS Foundation offers competitive research scholarships to both doctoral-level students and master-level students who utilize scientific diving as a principal research tool or study scientific diving. First place awards for both program levels are $3000; second place awards are $1500. A total of 29 proposals were reviewed. Proposals ranged from tropical to temperate studies and spanned fields from ecology to archaeology. Special thanks to the seven anonymous reviewers, and best wishes to all who participated.

Doctoral-level Awards:
1st place Austin Greene, University of Hawaii, Manoa/HIMB.
2nd place Marta Gómez-Buckley, University of Washington.
Master-level Awards:
1st place Billie Beckley, San Diego State University.
2nd place Danielle Becker, California State University, Northridge.

Find out more about the AAUS Foundation Scholars at www.aausfoundation.org

10/2/2018
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WDHOF Scholarships and Training Grants

The Women Divers Hall of Fame ™ (WDHOF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring and raising awareness of the contributions of outstanding women divers. WDHOF provides educational, mentorship, financial, and career opportunities to the diving community throughout the world. Each year, WDHOF awards scholarships and training grants that provide financial and educational support to individuals of all ages, particularly those who are preparing for professional careers that involve diving. Applications close on October 31, 2018 at midnight EDT. More information at http://wdhof.org/wdhof-scholarshipDesc.aspx

7/31/2018
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University of Alaska Southeast Dive Semester

Students interested in fisheries, diving, and marine biology can round out their studies with a field-based program in Sitka, Alaska in the Spring of 2018 (January 14 - May 03). Students will have the opportunity to work with UAS faculty and become accomplished research divers. Over the semester, students will learn everything from basic dive skills, to underwater rescue procedures, to underwater data collection techniques and will become familiar with local fish and invertebrate species while participating in new and ongoing marine-related research projects. Additionally, students will develop skills in basic skiff handling and small engine maintenance techniques. For more information, visit http://divesemester.alaska.edu/ or contact Dr. Reid Brewer at 907-747-7799.

7/31/2018
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Huish Outdoors Recall

Huish Outdoors has recalled approximately 4500 Oceanic and Hollis scuba diving regulators. The scuba diving regulators can restrict airflow at low tank pressures (below 500 psi), posing a drowning hazard to divers. Customer should contact Huish Outdoors toll-free at 888-270-8595 (ext 4) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. MT Monday through Friday or online at www.Hollis.com and http://www.OceanicWorldwide.com and click on recall at top of page, or https://recall.hollis.com and http://recall.oceanicworldwide.com for more information.