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Oceana begins 3rd Annual call for everyday heroes with the Ocean Heroes Award

Public nominations open to honor and celebrate everyday people who are heroes for the ocean

Washington, DC – Today, Oceana announced the start of its third annual Ocean Heroes Award, a two-month search to identify and celebrate everyday people who go above and beyond to save our oceans. The winners will be announced on June 8, which coincides with World Oceans Day.

Nominations for both the adult and junior division are open to the public at the official contest website, oceana.org/heroes, from March 30 until April 27, 2011. Nominees for Oceana’s Ocean Heroes Award can be youths or adults who are making an impact in ocean conservation, whether fighting pollution, protecting marine life or fundraising for the oceans in creative ways.

“Oceana is focused on winning victories for the oceans. The Ocean Heroes Award has allowed Oceana to honor individuals that make a real difference on their own for the oceans,” said Andrew Sharpless, Chief Executive Officer of Oceana. “Each year Oceana has been able to share the inspiring achievements of these people and it is an effort that we are proud to be undertaking again.”

Ocean Heroes come in all ages and from diverse backgrounds. Last year Jay Holcomb, the Director Emeritus of the International Bird Rescue Research Center (formerly Executive Director), won the adult Ocean Heroes Award for his 24 years rescuing seabirds and wildlife from oil spills.

“Winning Oceana’s Ocean Heroes Award was very meaningful to me, especially since it coincided with International Bird Rescue’s efforts in the Gulf of Mexico following the unprecedented Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” said Holcomb. “I love what the award stands for – that everyone has the potential to be an ocean hero – that idea is very inspiring since our oceans and marine wildlife face some really daunting challenges and we all need to get involved and find a way to be a part of the solution.”

The winner of the junior award in 2010 was a group of students known as the Shark Finatics from the Green Chimneys School in Brewster, New York. They were nominated for their efforts raising money for shark research and their direct advocacy for shark conservation.

“Having my students win this award last year was like a dream come true,” said Robin Culler, the Green Chimneys School teacher who inspired her students to become shark advocates. “Oceana’s award was a signature moment for a lot of these kids – it gave them incredible pride and confidence in their abilities, and not just in advocacy, but in all forms of communication.”

In addition to being lauded on Oceana.org and during associated events, both junior and adult finalists and winners of the Ocean Heroes Award will be recognized with prize packages provided by corporate partners Nautica and Revo.

At the end of the nomination period, finalists for each category will be chosen by a panel of experts from Oceana. The public will vote and ultimately choose the 2011 Ocean Heroes by voting at oceana.org/heroes starting in May. Throughout the voting period their stories will be highlighted on the Oceana blog, the Beacon. The winners will be announced in conjunction with Oceana’s celebration of World’s Ocean Day on June 8.

To nominate an Ocean Hero, learn more about last year’s heroes and read the official contest rules visit the contest page at www.oceana.org/heroes.

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