September 27, 2013 – Juno Beach, FL – A conservation-minded crowd gathered at PGA National Resort & Spa on September 26 for the kick off of Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Fifth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon and announcement of the 2013 award finalists. A panel of judges selected finalists in four categories from countless nominations. Winners in each category will be revealed at the Fifth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon on November 8 at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, featuring Mission Blue Executive Director and world renowned cartoonist Jim Toomey, as keynote speaker. WPTV News Channel 5 Meteorologist Glenn Glazer will emcee the event.
The Eleanor Fletcher Award, named for the founder of Loggerhead Marinelife Center, recognizes an individual who has exemplified a lifelong, extraordinary commitment to ocean conservation education through their work or volunteer activities. Finalists for the award include Dr. Guy Harvey, Founder, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation; Steve McCulloch, Founder and Program Manager of Marine Mammal Research & Conservation Program, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute; and Ken Nedimeyer, Founder and President, Coral Restoration Foundation.
The Blue Ambassador of the Year Award recognizes a person who has made significant contributions in ocean conservation in south Florida through volunteer related activities. Award finalists include Evan Miller, Indian River Lagoon Clean Water Activist; Christian, Derek and Landon Petrisko, Founders, Wild over Wildlife Club; Dr. Kirt Rusenko, Marine Conservationist, City of Boca Raton/Gumbo Limbo; and Debbie Sobel, President, Sea Turtle Conservation League of Singer Island.
The Blue Friend of the Year Award recognizes a person who has made significant contributions in ocean conservation through work-related activities. Award finalists include Marty Baum, Indian Riverkeeper; Jodie Gless, Environmental Services, Florida Power & Light Company; Scott & Karen Lamberson, Founders, “Professor Clark the Science Shark”; Amy Lesh, Dive Instructor, Jupiter Dive Center; Alessandra Medri, Senior Environmental Analyst, ERM Palm Beach County and Carly Mejeur, Art Teacher, Palm Beach Maritime Academy.
The Blue Business of the Year Award recognizes a business that has made outstanding contributions toward promoting and encouraging conservation, restoration, or preservation of marine life and/or marine ecosystems through their business practices, products or technology. Finalists for the award include Coral Restoration Foundation; Ocean Classrooms; Pura Botanica; and Reef Environmental Education Foundation.
For the past thirteen years, Jim Toomey has been creating the daily comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon, which appears in over 150 newspapers in North America. Sherman’s Lagoon is a combination of Toomey’s two lifelong passions: drawing and the sea. Toomey is also active in ocean conservation and serves as the executive director of Mission Blue, a network of non-profits dedicated to creating marine protected areas. He has presented at a variety of venues ranging from the Royal Society in London to a kindergarten class. Toomey has also been featured in many of his client newspapers, as well as Wired magazine and Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.
The 2013 Go Blue Luncheon committee members are Anita Bailey, Linda Barth, Brenna Bertram-Salman, Bob Chlebek, Rebecca Collier, Rosemary Eastman, Janet Edwards, Jerri Engelbrecht, Luisa Frasco, Vicki Gerard, Lynne Gibbons, Kelli Johnson, Brian Johnson, Judy Lamb, Chelsea Lasater, Brittany Miller, Ellen Morley, Betsy Munson, Kay Odom, Beverly Reddington, Barbara Savastano, Carl Stearns, and Pete & Lynne Wells.
The panel of judges that selected this year’s finalists and winners include Dr. Sylvia Earle, Oceanographer, Aquanaut, and Author, National Geographic; Dr. Gary Adkison, Director, U.S. Shark Foundation; James Harvey, Co-Chairman, Guy Harvey Foundation; Greg Marshall, Biologist, Inventor, and Filmmaker, National Geographic; Sally Murray, daughter of Loggerhead Marinelife Center Founder Eleanor Fletcher; Susan Murray, granddaughter of Loggerhead Marinelife Center Founder Eleanor Fletcher, Senior Director, Oceana Pacific; and Dr. Edie Widder, President/CEO, Senior Scientist, Ocean Research and Conservation Association.
Sponsors of the Go Blue Awards Luncheon include Pete & Lynne Wells, The Capital Grille, Robert Chlebek, Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, Florida Power and Light Company, Florida Weekly, Gretchen Scott, Jupiter Magazine, Loggerhead Marina, Palm Beach County, Palm Beach Tourist Development Council, PGA National Resort and Spa, Tiffany & Co. and Whole Foods Market.
The Go Blue Awards program was created to recognize individuals and businesses that directly or indirectly support Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s mission to promote conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. Last year’s Go Blue Award recipients include Hardy Jones, Executive Director of Bluevoice.org; Barbara Brunnick, Director of the Research and Conservation Program at Taras Oceanographic Foundation; Sara Brenes, Shark Advocate at www.sharkwhisperer.org; and Jupiter Dive Center.
To purchase tickets to the Fifth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon, or to learn more about sponsoring the luncheon, visit marinelife.org/bluefriends.
About Loggerhead Marinelife Center:
Loggerhead Marinelife Center, a non-profit organization, is committed to the conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosystems through public education, research and rehabilitation with a focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. The center features an on-site campus hospital, learning exhibits and aquariums. Situated on the world’s most important sea turtle nesting beach, Loggerhead Marinelife Center is open daily and hosts over 215,000 visitors each year. For more information, visit www.marinelife.org or call 561-627-8280.