Jean-Michel CousteauPhoto by T. Ordway, 2005
Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI) hosted the 7th Annual Future of the Ocean Symposium and Champions of the Ocean Awards Luncheon on Friday, October 21 2011. The symposium, featuring keynote speaker Jean-Michel Cousteau, was held in the Great Hall of Woodrow Wilson Hall and was free and open to the public. Proceeds from the event support the Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Student Summer Research grants and operations of the UCI.
In addition to speaking at the symposium, renowned ocean scientist and advocate Jean-Michael Cousteau was honored at the awards luncheon as a National Champion of the Ocean. The son of ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, Jean-Michel Cousteau has investigated the world’s oceans aboard Calypso and Alcyone for much of his life. Honoring his father’s heritage, Cousteau founded the Ocean Futures Society in 1999 to carry on this pioneering work. The Ocean Futures Society, a non-profit marine conservation and educational organization, serves as a “Voice for the Ocean” by communicating in all media the critical bond between people and the sea and the importance of wise environmental policy. Cousteau has produced over 80 films, received the Emmy, the Peabody Award, the 7 d’Or, and the Cable Ace Award.
Previous winners of the National Ocean Champion Award include: ocean advocate Dr. Carl Safina, former president of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Dr. Robert Gagosian; and former heads of the Pew Ocean Commission and U.S. Ocean Commission, the Honorable Leon Panetta and Admiral James Watkins.
The UCI presented the State Coastal and Ocean Leadership Award to Kenneth E. Pringle, former Mayor of Belmar and founding partner of the law firm of Pringle-Quinn-Anzano. Pringle served as the mayor of the Borough of Belmar from 1990 to 2010. During his tenure, Belmar established a natural beach area, which serves as a piping plover nesting area, and instituted an annual cleanup of the Shark River. In addition, Belmar was the first community in the state to label its storm drains with an environmental address, place Mutt Mitt Dispensers in its parks and waterfronts, and ban smoking on borough beaches. Pringle led the effort to have Belmar’s Shark River receive the first in state of New Jersey designation as a “Federal No Discharge Zone.” Pringle is an advocate for federal beach replenishment funding and in 1997, Belmar was part of the largest beach nourishment project in U.S. history. In 1998, Pringle was invited to testify before the Committee on Environment and Public Works of the United States Senate in support of the Water Resources Development Act of 1998, which contained important elements regarding federal funding for shore protection. He has received many awards and honors including the Elected Leadership Award from the Jersey Shore Partnership in 2009. He also serves as a member of the UCI Advisory Committee.
The State Ocean Leadership award was given last year to NJ State Senator Joseph M. Kyrillos Jr. Previous winners include: Mrs. Lillian Borrone, former assistant executive director at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; and Dr. Fred Grassle, founding director of the Rutgers Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences.
The symposium lecture by Cousteau was supported as part of the Diane Gooch New Jersey Distinguished Lectures. Other sponsors of the day’s events included PSEG Services Corp., New Jersey Natural Gas, Meridian Health, New York Shipping Association, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., Najarian Associates, Law Offices of Bradley M. Campbell LLC., American Association of Port Authorities, Peter and Nancy Byrne Reinhart, and Ansell, Grimm, Aaron.