As the days grow long, school bells fade into distant memories, and families start taking long weekends at the beach, the Ocean Portal Team is preparing for the weeks ahead.

The way we see it, June 2010 is going to be a significant month for the ocean.

Besides excitedly welcoming new visitors to the Ocean Portal, we’re gearing up for a slew of ocean-related events and special occasions. World Ocean Day is June 8th, but we’ll be celebrating for more than two weeks with a range of free activities for all ages starting June 5th at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

This first month of summer also represents a confluence of notable marine anniversaries. June 11th marks the late Jacques Cousteau’s 100th birthday. Cousteau’s passion for understanding and protecting our blue planet created a powerful legacy of ocean stewardship that lives on today. June 20th marks the 35th anniversary of the release of the film Jaws, which left an indelible mark on the American psyche—a fear of sharks, especially the great white. This anniversary is the perfect opportunity to face that fear and re-think the shark.

But, against this backdrop of marking milestones and celebrating all that the ocean does for us, the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico looms large. Now officially the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Deepwater Horizon accident is a testament to the damage humans can do.

Each day, we can see more clearly what renowned ocean explorer Sylvia Earle meant when she said, “our fate and the ocean’s are one.” The silver lining—if we can find one buried within this disaster—is the chance for us to learn a profound lesson about taking care of the ocean that provides food, oxygen, livelihoods, and countless other services for us. This is a watershed moment.

Whatever we do now, one thing is certain: we cannot succeed alone. Our hope is that the Ocean Portal, which would not be possible without a massive collaborative effort, will be one way for people like you to find the inspiration and information needed to act.

Today, we are proud to invite you to find your blue—to explore your own personal connection to the ocean and find ways you can help protect this precious resource everyday. And remember that your actions can have a ripple effect. Share your thoughts and ideas, your passion for the blue, and you just might inspire someone else to take action.