Is someone in your community doing great things for the oceans? We want to hear about them!
Nominations for our fourth annual Ocean Heroes Awards open today and weâ€™re searching for people who work hard to make a difference and deserve to be recognized for it. Each year we choose a selection of adult and junior finalists, then let you vote to pick the winners.
What does it mean to be an Ocean Hero? The other day we took a look at previous finalistsâ€™ areas of interest, ranging from SCUBA and submarines to marine mammals and sea slugs. They work to influence lawmakers, rehabilitate animals, and reduce pollution. Every Ocean Hero is different, but they all share a passion for the worldâ€™s oceans that drives them to make a difference.
You can nominate an Ocean Hero between now and June 20th â€” that gives you two weeks to tell us about your friends who are working to protect the oceans. This Friday, June 8th is World Oceans Day, a good chance to look out for Heroes in your community.
We will announce the finalists on June 27th, and let you all choose our 2012 Ocean Heroes. The winners will receive a prize package that includes fantastic gifts from our corporate sponsors, Nautica and Revo.
Oceanaâ€™s 4th annual Ocean Heroes Contest kicks off June 6, which gives you one week to think about this question: â€śWho do I know that works hard for the oceans and deserves recognition?â€ť
From work in activism to conservation, from education to rehabilitation, from sustainability to research, there are likely tens of thousands â€“ if not hundreds of thousands â€“ of people whoâ€™d make good nominees. This makes it difficult for Oceanaâ€™s selection committee to narrow down so many candidates to six youth and six adult finalists.
But do you want some clues on where good nominees live? Allow me to share some statistics collected over the previous three contests (and please noteâ€¦ this is a pretty small sample size):
State Where Most Finalists Live: California. Nearly 1/3 of Ocean Heroes Finalists reside in the Golden State.
Coastal States That Have Never Produced a Finalist: Washington, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. This probably has more to do with the small sample size rather than a lack of Ocean Heroes in these states, so nominate the Ocean Heroes near you â€” it's a matter of state pride.
Landlocked States That Have Produced Finalists: Kentucky, Minnesota, and Washington DC. The nearest ocean being 1000 miles away didnâ€™t stop a shy Minnesota 8-year-old named Sophi Bromenshenkel from selling enough lemonade, hot chocolate and cookies to purchase satellite shark tags for the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program at the University of Miami. And, by the way, this land-locked shark-lover won the junior vote and became our 2011 Junior Ocean Hero!
Remember, nominations begin on June 6!
Californiaâ€™s Parks System faced collapse last year and the picture for the coming years looks grim.
Enter Proposition 21, a statewide ballot initiative that offers hope to help ensure our 278 state parks and beaches stay up and running and our wildlife and marine resources are protected. Prop 21 establishes a stable, reliable and adequate funding source through an $18 increase in the California vehicle registration fee. These funds will be directly deposited into a State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund and can only be used for operation of state parks and protection of ocean resources and wildlife.
This is the fourth in a series of posts about this yearâ€™s Ocean Heroes finalists.
Todayâ€™s finalists are helping the oceans through one of my favorite things -- food. Chef Ted Walter and his wife, Cindy Walter, co-own Passionfish restaurant in Pacific Grove, CA, and the name is fitting -- they share a passion for sustainable seafood.
The Walters, who have strict policies for their seafood purchases, use their restaurant as a forum for discussion, education, and exploration of topics in sustainability.
At Passionfish, which was declared Monterey County's first "green" restaurant, Chef Ted Walter incorporates local, sustainable seafood and fresh, local, organic produce. Ted trained as a classic French chef in restaurants across the country before returning to his native Monterey County to open Passionfish in 1997.
Today is a big day -- weâ€™re launching an exciting initiative leading up to World Oceans Day on June 8. And itâ€™s all about everyday ocean heroes.
First, starting today you can be an ocean hero by pledging to help protect the oceans. For every pledge made, weâ€™ll receive $1 toward our campaign work -- up to $100,000!
In case you need more encouragement, here are some of our celebrity supporters in a brand new PSA:
And secondly, today is the official start of voting for our Ocean Heroes Contest. After you pledge, you'll have the chance to vote on this year's Ocean Hero. We received more than 300 nominations, and weâ€™ve narrowed it down to six adults and five juniors, all with incredible stories.
Thanks to everyone who shared their stories -- they were a lot of fun to read, and it was hard to choose. I'll be highlighting the finalists in the coming weeks here on the blog.
And once you have pledged and voted, you can encourage others to do the same. By placing our pledge widget on your blog or website, you can help us reach the $100,000 mark. And if thereâ€™s an ocean hero finalist you really want to win, you can help them garner more votes with our campaign badges.
So pledge, vote and start spreading the word!