The pool at Ocean First Divers is warmed to 88 degrees to wrap students in a watery safety blanket as they venture out of their element. As a classroom for swimming and scuba-diving lessons, the pool boasts a gradient bottom that deepens in slow increments from 4 to 12 feet. Though Ocean First Divers now trains scores of students in swimming and scuba each year, the dive center was originally founded to advocate for the ocean’s unique ecosystems. The organization was so successful in its mission that it has claimed PADI’s Environmental Achievement Award every year since the prize’s inception. Now, the dive center's creative conservation efforts include group trips to Key Largo, Fiji, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Galápagos Islands, where students get a firsthand look at why these one-of-a-kind ecosystems are worth protecting, and, alternatively, the detrimental environmental effects of litter left by Charles Darwin.