The Ocean Heroes Award started in 2009 as a way for Oceana to recognize and celebrate exceptional individual accomplishments in ocean conservation, advocacy, and education. In 2010 we added a “Junior” category for young conservationists. Every summer we are impressed and inspired by the work of all of our incredible nominees and finalists.
There’s no lack of diversity within the pool of Ocean Heroes – they come from all over the country, doing many different kinds of work. Previous finalists have done everything from educational outreach to political advocacy to promoting sustainable seafood, and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
Oceana looks for the heroes that work within your communities to protect the oceans. Whether you’re near the ocean in Hawaii or California or thousands of miles away in the Midwest, there are bound to be a couple Heroes near you.
The 2012 Ocean Heroes are Captain Don Voss and James Hemphill!
Captain Don Voss, from Fort Pierce, Florida, is the owner of the Marine Cleanup Initiative Inc., a debris collection organization that cleans up Florida’s waterways. Over the last 11 years, the company has grown from six volunteers to over 400, who have collectively removed over 300,000 pounds of marine debris. Don started SCUBA diving as a form of therapy after he was wounded in Vietnam, and his love for the ocean motivated him to help clean up the waterways that he loved to dive in.
Junior Ocean Hero James Hemphill, 15, has been working in ocean conservation since sixth grade. He’s the president of Project Green Teens, a student-run environmental group that promotes conservation in Virginia Beach. They have removed 2,300 pounds of trash from Virginia waterways, and are currently working on a plastic bag ban in Virginia Beach.James wants kids his age to know that getting involved in conservation is easy, and you can make a big difference by making some changes in your lifestyle.
For information about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Jon Frank at email@example.com or call 202-467-1949.