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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOAA 04 - R437
April 22, 2004

CONTACT:

Rachel Saunders/MBNMS
(831) 647-4237

MONTEREY BAY KAYAKS AND HANNAH NEVINS OF MOSS LANDING MARINE LABORATORIES TO RECEIVE NOAA ENVIRONMENTAL HERO AWARD

One Monterey Bay area business and one local citizen are among a distinguished group of individuals and organizations chosen to receive the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) 2004 Environmental Hero Award.

Monterey Bay Kayaks (MBK) will receive the NOAA 2004 Environmental Hero Award for their continuing support of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s MERITO program (Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans) and Team OCEAN Kayak Outreach Program. MBK has donated kayak rentals to the MERITO program in order to host Spanish-bilingual “kayak day” events involving Latino adults and families. Monterey Bay Kayaks has also donated training, kayak rentals, storage space and funds to the Team OCEAN program, which reaches thousands of kayakers during the summer months.

Hannah Nevins, a masters of science candidate at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML), will receive 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.

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary will present the awards to Monterey Bay Kayaks and Ms. Nevins at 1:00 p.m. Sunday, April 25, 2004 as part of the “Earth Day/Day of the Child” Celebration at Ramsay Park in Watsonville.

“NOAA and the nation are fortunate to have such dedicated people volunteer so much of their time,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “They set a fine example for others to follow in their communities. America needs more environmental heroes like them.”

Established in 1995 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day, the Environmental Hero award is presented to individuals and organizations that volunteer their time and energy to help NOAA carry out its mission. Held in conjunction with Earth Day celebrations, the award honors NOAA volunteers for their “tireless efforts to preserve and protect our nation's environment.”

There are a total of 33 winners—30 individuals and three organizations. Visit the NOAA Earth Day Web site at http://www.noaa.gov/earthday to read more about this year’s award winners.

“On behalf of the 12,500 men and women working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, I am pleased to present you with this 2004 Environmental Hero Award,” Lautenbacher wrote in a letter to the recipients. “Your dedicated efforts and outstanding accomplishments greatly benefit the environment and make our nation a better place for all Americans.”

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary stretches along 276 miles of central California coast and encompasses more than 5,300 square miles of ocean area. Renowned for its scenic beauty and remarkable productivity, the sanctuary supports one of the world’s most diverse marine ecosystems, including 33 species of marine mammals, 94 species of seabirds, 345 species of fishes and thousands of marine invertebrates and plants.

NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program (NMSP) seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs. Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

NOAA’s National Ocean Service manages the NMSP and is dedicated to exploring, understanding, conserving and restoring the nation’s coasts and oceans. The National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources.


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National Ocean Service - http://oceanservice.noaa.gov
National Marine Sanctuary Program - http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary - http://montereybay.noaa.gov

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