Awards and Honorees
Since 1996 NOAA has recognized individuals and organizations throughout the United States for their tireless efforts to preserve and protect the nation's environment. Periodically MBNMS nominates Environmental Heroes. Below is a list of award recipients:
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories was presented an Environmental Hero Award by the Clinton Administration at the National Ocean Conference in Monterey in 1998. Calif. Katie McGinty, chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, presented plaques and recognition letters from Vice President Gore to Moss Landing Marine Laboratories faculty, staff and graduate students for their extensive work with Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary programs including the mapping of habitats.
Rachel Saunders was a leader in the citizen movement to designate NOAA's Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in the early 1990s. As the local representative for CMC, she established a highly effective volunteer, interpretive docent program for the Sanctuary in the Monterey Bay region and the Cambria area. She has chaired the Sanctuary's Conservation Working Group for the past four years. She now is organizing an education program called SEA Camp Monterey Bay, a coastal and ocean science program for high school aged students. She continues to be an effective and active supporter for the local and national sanctuary program.
Brian Baird, who is in charge of producing California's statewide strategy for protecting and managing the state's ocean resources, regularly cites the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and its advisory council process as a model of integrated coastal zone management. Baird works in partnership with Sanctuary management to promote resource protection. He was instrumental in the state's accepting a $650,000 donation to develop a joint state-federal enforcement program for the Sanctuary.
Mark Silberstein, director of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, was presented with NOAA's prestigious Environmental Hero award at a ceremony at Elkhorn Slough. In a letter of congratulations, Vice President Al Gore thanked Silberstein for his "steadfast dedication to preserving our nation's environment…With your help, we have repeatedly and successfully demonstrated that economic growth can go hand-in-hand with efforts to sustain and protect the environment." Silberstein has been a community leader on local coastal and estuarine issues for more than 20 years. As director of the Elkhorn Slough Foundation, he has focused on finding solutions to minimize the impacts of land uses on downstream water quality in the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Over many years, Silberstein has developed highly successful watershed education, research and volunteer programs, and helped restore critical estuarine and streamside habitats. More recently, he has been a tireless leader in land conservation and acquisition within the watershed, steering the Foundation into the role of land trust and land steward.
Monterey Bay Kayaks
Monterey Bay Kayaks has been instrumental in the NOAA Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Calif., achieving its mission through programs such as Team OCEAN Kayak Naturalists (Team OCEAN) and MERITO (Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans). Team OCEAN is a sanctuary program providing on-the-water outreach aimed at decreasing wildlife disturbance and educating kayakers about the NOAA sanctuary.ate-federal enforcement program for the sanctuary.
Hannah Nevins, a masters of science candidate at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), received the NOAA 2004 Environmental Hero Award for the volunteer work she has done since 2001 to coordinate Monterey Bay Sanctuary's Beach COMBERS monitoring program. Beach COMBERS (Coastal Ocean Mammal/Bird Education and Research Surveys) is a collaborative effort between the sanctuary and MLML where trained volunteers survey beaches monthly and collect data on beachcast birds and mammals. These data have been used to assess causes of bird and mammal die-offs, and monitor the health of the sanctuary.