A revolution is happening at sea — scientists are exploring the deep oceans for the first time and making important discoveries with the use of new technologies. This topic and other important issues impacting our oceans will be discussed by leaders in the field at Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute’s (UCI) 11th Annual Future of the Ocean Symposium and Champion of the Ocean Awards Luncheon on October 29. The symposium, “A Revolution at Sea: Ocean Exploration, Technology & Discovery,” will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Wilson Hall.
Two renowned ocean advocates and explorers will speak at the symposium and receive National Champions of the Ocean Awards at the subsequent luncheon. Sylvia Earle, Ph.D., Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society and a native of Gloucester County, is the founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance/Mission Blue and the Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), the chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute, and a former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Earle has authored more than 200 publications and led more than 100 expeditions with over 7,000 hours underwater. Her life and work were highlighted in the acclaimed 2014 documentary “Mission Blue.”
Terry Garcia, National Geographic Society chief science and exploration officer, handles the organization’s core mission programs. In June 2010, Garcia, a former general counsel and deputy administrator at NOAA, was appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, which investigated the root causes of the incident in the Gulf of Mexico and made recommendations on how to prevent and mitigate the impact of any future spills that result from offshore drilling.
At the luncheon, the UCI will also recognize three Regional Ocean Champions representing organizations that were instrumental in the protection of 38,000 square miles of coral reefs from Long Island to Virginia. Those honorees are: Richard B. Robins, chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Ernie Panacek, president of the Garden State Seafood Association; and Jay Odell, director of the Mid-Atlantic Marine Program at the Nature Conservancy.
“We’re excited to host such an accomplished group of honorees at this year’s symposium and luncheon,” said UCI Director Tony MacDonald. “Over the past 11 years we have brought some of the world’s most respected ocean experts and leaders to campus share their knowledge with the Monmouth University community and the public. The oceans are critical to the quality of life and economy here in New Jersey and connect us to the world.”
The Champion of the Ocean Awards were established in 2005 to honor individuals who have undertaken actions and demonstrated sustained leadership in advancing a future in which coasts and oceans are clean, safe, sustainably managed and preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. Previous honorees include: the Honorable Leon Panetta; Admiral Thad Allen; Schmidt Family Foundation President Wendy Schmidt; environmental scientist and advocate Professor Jesse Ausubel; ocean scientist and advocate Jean-Michael Cousteau; and ocean advocate Dr. Carl Safina, among others.
The symposium is free and open to the public. Tickets to the luncheon are $150, with proceeds to benefit UCI programs and activities.
About the Urban Coast Institute
Now celebrating its 10th year of service, the Urban Coast Institute (UCI) was established in 2005 as one of Monmouth University’s “Centers of Distinction.” The UCI’s mission is to serve Monmouth University and the public interest as a forum for research, education and collaboration in the development and implementation of science-based policies and programs that support stewardship of healthy, productive and resilient coastal ecosystems and communities.