CSI is an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization dedicated to conserving whales, dolphins, porpoises and their habitats. Forty years ago on February 9th, 1974, Robbins and Meg Barstow, Don Sineti, Tom Callinan, Kay and Bill McCarthy, and Chris Morgan formed the Connecticut Cetacean Society to "SAVE WHALES"! Off to a fast start, thanks to Robbins' extraordinary leadership and people skills, CCS's advocacy to stop whale killing and engage the public quickly resulted in meetings, parades, protests, Proclamations from the Governor and adoption of the sperm whale as Connecticut’s state animal.
In 1976, "Conny", the 60 foot ferro-concrete sperm whale. Ferro concrete is a type of concrete built with cement and reinforced with wire mesh throughout. With over 200 volunteers, donated materials Conny still proudly stands today outside the Connecticut Children's Museum in West Hartford, CT. Robbins Barstow captured the process on film. Please click on the link below:
The Building of Conny:
Conny Gets a Spout:
CCS quickly expanding to the international arena and became Cetacean Society International in 1986, already having pioneered the concept that cetaceans are worth more alive than dead with the still-unmatched 1983 Global Conference on the Uses and Values of "Whales Alive". By 1988 the United Nations Environment Program had named CSI to its Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement. Reflecting our evolution to meet expanding opportunities and challenges,
CSI's Mission is to stop the killing, capture and display of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises); encourage human activities that enhance public awareness and stewardship of cetaceans and our marine environment; and collaborate with stakeholders to reduce anthropogenic threats such as bycatch, invasive research, sonar, ship strikes, pollution, seismic testing, and others as they are revealed.
To meet that mission we've represented whales at every meeting of the International Whaling Commission since 1979, succeeded in including cetaceans in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, participated in decades of international conferences and workshops, and continuously serve on a wide array of specialist committees and networks. Our efforts to educate the public, especially children, continue to expand. We help responsible ecotourism. We fight exploitation. Who we are today meets CSI's Mission with a board of 29 volunteers from seven states bonded by our care for cetaceans and desire to understand and help them. Contributing time, energy, expertise and personal resources, CSI's board conducts all of our business, with no offices or paid staff. Today's board includes two original CSI founders, business owners, active and retired professionals, world travelers, parents, artists, grandparents, educators, a videographer, therapist, CPA, sea shantyman, and a lawyer.
IF CSI spends nothing on offices, staff, direct mail or glossy publications where does our money go? It goes to carefully vetted people and projects that will help cetaceans and their habitats. Some projects have been in-house, like public educational resources that have evolved from the '70's slide presentations and mimeographed handouts to today's expansive use of video, social media, and public events like EcoBlue. We've produced: public awareness campaigns for UNEP; PSAs on national issues; educational kiosks and presentations; posters on stranding responses, marine debris, boater awareness and whale watching; videos of specific whales and behaviors for public awareness and adoption; and sponsored lectures by conservation and science experts.
For international opportunities CSI follows the simple rule that the best people to understand a problem and provide a solution are those who live there. Since the early 1980's CSI has directed over $750,000 to projects in at least 20 countries, with results we are justifiably proud of. One example, we have helped educational and scientific centers focused on the river dolphins of Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, literally from the Atlantic Ocean to the foothills of the Andes. Also, CSI has supported the work of one of the world's top experts in the field to help end the horrific slaughter of dolphins at Taiji Japan. And there are countless other projects large and small that we continue to fund. We can react very quickly to solve problems and meet opportunities. We believe in cooperative advocacy with like-minded organizations around the world.