World Oceans Day was this past Friday, and as we mentioned in our last post, Oceana headed up to the National Aquarium in Baltimore to take part in their special celebration of the seas.
Divers enter the aquariums exhibits every day to feed the animals and clean the tanks, but on Friday there was a very special dive. National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli joined Oceana’s very first Ocean Hero, John Halas, for excursions into the Atlantic coral reef and Wings on the Water exhibits.
The Atlantic coral reef exhibit was John Halas’ first aquarium dive, but far from his first experience with that ecosystem. He earned the Ocean Hero award in 2009 for his more than 30 years of working to protect coral reef systems in Florida. He retired earlier this year, but has been busy traveling to places like Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago to help install environmentally friendly buouy systems.
In Wings on the Water, John Halas got to meet Calypso, the friendly three-flippered sea turtle that lives in the Aquarium. You can check out video from both dives and interviews with John Racanelli and John Halas over at the Baltimore Sun.
Do you know someone who does great things for the oceans like John? Nominations for our 2012 Ocean Heroes Award are open now and we’re searching for people of all ages and backgrounds who are working hard to protect the world’s oceans. Don’t forget to get your nominations in by June 20th!
Many thanks to the National Aquarium for hosting us and doing such great work to protect the world’s oceans.
The Florida ocean conservation community said farewell to one of its greatest servants this week. John Halas, who was the winner of Oceana’s first annual Ocean Heroes contest, has retired after nearly 32 years of work protecting coral reefs in Florida.
Halas, a marine biologist and manager of the Upper Region of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, has been working to protect coral systems in Florida since 1981. After observing coral damage caused by careless anchoring, he took it upon himself to develop an environmentally friendly anchor and mooring buoy system that prevents damage to coral reefs and has worked to implement this anchorage system in 38 countries.
We’re sad to see John go but wish him a very happy retirement!
Stay tuned for this year’s Ocean Heroes contest, which kicks off with nominations on World Oceans Day, June 8.
Update 4/28/10: Ocean hero voting is now open!
We are now taking nominations for our second annual Ocean Heroes contest!
If you know someone -- including yourself -- who has made a significant, ongoing contribution to ocean conservation, we want to hear about it.
This year, there are two categories: adult and junior. We'll announce finalists in late April, and then we'll open it up for voting. The winners will receive a gift from contest sponsor Nautica plus a trip to our blue carpet World Oceans Day event in Los Angeles.
Also, to get you inspired, throughout the week I'll be filling you in on what our 2009 Ocean Hero Finalists are up to now -- stay tuned.
Submit your nomination today!
After receiving nearly 500 nominations and thousands of votes for its final group of nominees, out of eight finalists, this year’s Ocean Hero is John Halas, a marine biologist and manager of the Upper Region of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
Halas has been working to protect coral systems in Florida since 1981. After observing coral damage caused by careless anchoring, he took it upon himself to develop an environmentally friendly anchor and mooring buoy system that prevents damage to coral reefs and has worked to implement this anchorage system in 38 countries.
“My work is something I have felt strongly about and it is really a great honor to receive this acknowledgement,” Halas said.