Caring for the sea since 1999. Double Olympic champion Theresa Zabell felt the need to give back to the sea everything it had given her.
The ECOMAR Foundation was founded in 1999 by Theresa Zabell with the commitment to give back to the sea all the satisfaction it had given her during her sporting career. Its objectives from the outset were to care for the planet's environment through sport, and it is aimed, above all, at young people. The double Olympic champion felt the need to give back to the sea, in some way, what the sea had given her. She wanted to reclaim the blue at a time when people only thought of green, and with a small group of altruistic defenders of nature, on March 3, 1999, she founded the ECOMAR Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to education in the care of our seas, their flora and fauna. Thus began what was intended to be a great blue voyage.
The main objective was to raise awareness among the younger generation, through specific programs of coexistence in sport, workshops on respecting and caring for the planet, sponsorship of coastal cleanups, healthy food, and care of our body, and to bring young people closer to sustainable ecological values and immerse them in the culture of respect for the sea in the most natural way possible. Raising awareness that we only have one body and one planet and we cannot change it.
At ECOMAR, all activities are designed for children and we feel rewarded when we see the results of a job well done. Over the years we have been able to see how "our" Ecomar children keep our advice and grow up with the Ecomar philosophy while spreading the news among other little ones, understanding that they must be part of the solution, not the problem.
Years of experience
During the long journey we have always achieved the objectives set and have more than repaid our sponsors for the enthusiasm and trust they have placed in the ECOMAR Foundation. We have been immersed in programs of all kinds, from the famous Sea Weeks to our Message in a Bottle, including nautical baptisms, cleaning of our coasts, promotion of recycling, sun protection and an endless number of activities related to respect for the marine environment. In our years of life we have distributed almost 250,000 logbooks for the understanding of the activities carried out and more than two million children from almost 4,000 schools throughout Spain have participated with us, figures of which we are very proud.
It was the first project of the ECOMAR Foundation. It was a program aimed at all primary schools, in which children participated by preparing a story related to the marine environment and enjoyed a week at our headquarters participating in sports such as sailing and canoeing, nautical seminars, workshops on responsible cooking and renewable energy. The reception was so great that during the 12 years that the program ran, more than 16,000 children passed through our hands.
Message in a Bottle" competition
This project focuses on the recycling of glass packaging. In 2013, the ECOMAR Foundation took a deeper dive into the world of glass. Thanks to Ecovidrio, more than 350 children from all over Spain took part in a story competition which aimed to raise awareness about the recycling of glass containers. The Spanish Navy was involved in the awarding of the prize for this competition and provided the winners with an extensive visit to the Naval Museum, where the children and their families were delighted with the magnificent exhibition commemorating Blas de Lezo.
A Sea of Bottles" campaign
During the months of July and August 2013, the ECOMAR Foundation and Ecovidrio carried out a campaign to promote the recycling of glass within yacht clubs and their sailing schools. To this end, 32 nautical facilities on the island of Mallorca were chosen, where more than 15,000 boats sail during those months. During those two months, our team of "experts" traveled around the island with a van labeled with the campaign image, brochures explaining the program in four languages, glass collection and storage bags and trolleys for transporting material. The numbers of the "A Sea of Bottles" program are 10,000 brochures distributed, 10,000 bags given away, and 6,000 kilometers traveled.
Capture the Sail" campaign
In 2013, the ECOMAR Foundation and Renault carried out a joint action to raise awareness of a new Renault model, the Captur Crossover. This was the French brand's first vehicle to be manufactured in Spain, specifically in Valladolid. The project allowed the ECOMAR Foundation to visit schools and associated clubs during peak periods to learn about all aspects of the courses. The Captur took us all over Spain, starting with the inland water clubs of Vitoria, the Cantabrian coast and Galicia from north to south. Mallorca and the Mediterranean coast were also part of the objectives of this programme, as well as Seville and the Andalusian coast, ending in Catalonia at the Port de la Selva Club. A total of 42 clubs where this new vehicle was unveiled, resulting in 500 car tests, 360 nautical miles covered, 680 litres of fuel, 17,000 kilometres covered, the participation of 1,600 children and the organisation of 11 Renault Captur regattas.
The ECOMAR Foundation carries out an environmental, educational and recreational program complemented by sailing courses for children from 7 to 14 years of age called Grímpola Ecomar. It was born in 2006 as a pilot experience in three sailing clubs and schools. Such was the success that the ECOMAR Foundation decided to continue and increase the action. At the moment the numbers are impressive with more than 200,000 children who have already participated. The Ecomar Label is a guarantee of care and respect for the sea and the environment, granting the clubs and sailing schools that earn it the category of educators and promoters of healthy lifestyles. Among the material used by the children are: backpack, towel, cap, T-shirt, knot key ring, logbook, notebooks, sunscreen and toys.
The ECOMAR Foundation's Logbook is a fundamental tool for the training of children in the different educational programs. It is made with 100% ecological materials and is considered in the environmental media as "the guide to know, enjoy and respect the sea". We have distributed some220,000 copies and it is the reference book for young people who are beginning to take an interest in nautical sports. Every year, the ECOMAR Foundation renews its content, making it easier to understand through new drawings and texts that are adapted to the times in which we live.
The Ecomar Awards were born in 2001 with great success, involving the autonomous regions, different companies, and public and private schools throughout Spain. These awards are aimed at 5th and 6th grade primary school students, who devote their time and effort to producing stories on the subject of the marine environment and a newspaper with environmental news. Also, to carry out a project on marine issues. It is considered team work, so the whole class is rewarded. So far, 16,000 children have enjoyed the Sea Awards.
With the collaboration of our sponsors and collaborators, the ECOMAR Foundation has been organizing coastal and beach clean-up days since 1999, with the corresponding Blue Workshop Master Class. Children and monitors of the Ecomarímpola program have collaborated in these garbage collection days, which we call Ecomar Experiences. These Ecomar Experiences are also open to companies, schools and municipalities, who want to do an activity any day of the year. They are provided with gloves and bags to facilitate recycling and previously, through our workshops, we explain the importance of protecting the coastline from the garbage that arrives from the sea, due to man's carelessness on the land, such as cans, plastics, cigarette butts and glass. Since 2014, we have collected 33,000 kilos of waste from the coasts of Spain and Portugal.