Alaska SeaLife Center Announces Alaska Ocean Leadership Award Recipients January 31, 2017
Seward, Alaska (January 31, 2017) – The Alaska SeaLife Center (ASLC) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017 Alaska Ocean Leadership Awards. These awards are given annually to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the awareness and sustainability of the state’s marine resources. The Alaska SeaLife Center appreciates the support provided by the award sponsors and thanks the awards committee members: Betsy Baker, Molly McCammon, Lisa Busch, Ian Dutton, Jason Brune and Michael Castellini for assistance in selecting the awardees.
Following are the 2017 Alaska Ocean Leadership Award winners:
Dorothy Childers will receive the prestigious Walter J. and Ermalee Hickel Lifetime Achievement Award. The late Governor Walter J. Hickel and his wife Ermalee endowed this award for 10 years to recognize an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the management of Alaska’s coastal and ocean resources for more than 20 years. Dorothy Childers’ contributions to the management of Alaska’s coastal and ocean resources have included tireless work of an exceptional quality as program staff, executive director, and as a Pew Marine Fellow with the Alaska Marine Conservation Council. She devoted her career to protecting the long-term health of Alaska’s oceans and to ensuring a voice for those Alaskans whose economy and culture depend on the long-term health of our ocean resources. Dorothy was instrumental in the North Pacific Fishery Management Council’s promulgation of a northern bottom trawl boundary in the Bering Sea, a collaboration with Bering Sea Elders Group on the publication of “The Northern Bering Sea: Our Way of Life” to inform conservation decisions, and production of the “Faces of Climate Change” DVD featuring climate scientists and Alaska Native observers. She has been a quiet catalyst for ongoing efforts to bring together Western science and traditional knowledge for continued understanding of climate change and its consequences for marine life, ocean habitat, communities, and cultures. Special projects supporting Bristol Bay fisheries and engaging coastal Alaskans on ocean acidification are helping to safeguard marine ecosystems. She has served on the North Pacific Research Board since 2004.
ConocoPhillips will receive the Stewardship and Sustainability Award. This award is sponsored by Jason Brune, and honors an industry leader that demonstrates the highest commitment to sustainability of ocean resources. The year 2016 marked the 31st year that ConocoPhillips and its predecessors have funded a collaborative program with local fishers to monitor the fall Qaaqtak (Arctic cisco, Coregonus autumnalis) subsistence fish harvest on the Nigliq Channel of the Colville River, making it one of the longest Arctic subsistence fishery datasets in the world. Qaaqtak are a highly-prized food source for Alaskan Inupiat communities and a particularly important cultural resource for the nearby community of Nuiqsut. The monitoring program incorporates local and traditional knowledge of Nuiqsut fishers and collects data on Qaaktak abundance, the effort required to catch the species throughout the harvest season, as well as age, length, and weight of the catch. The information is used to monitor overall trends in the fishery. The program concept was originally focused on monitoring fish in Prudhoe Bay, but was expanded to include the Colville River Delta based on a request from Nuiqsut residents. ConocoPhillips has continued to voluntarily support the program as a commitment to the sustainability of an important anadromous species for which little was known of its lifecycle before the monitoring program began.
Cade Emory Terada will receive the Hoffman-Greene Ocean Youth Award, which is sponsored by Dale Hoffman.The award honors an individual or team of Alaskan youth ages 12-19 who has displayed a dedication to promoting the understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s oceans. Cade has dedicated the past two years to advocating for our oceans. As the son of a fisherman and an active community member in Unalaska, he has a vested interest in protecting the oceans. Cade has traveled to Washington D.C. and Juneau to meet and speak with politicians about the impacts of ocean acidification on the crabbing and commercial fishing industries. Last year he also became an Arctic Youth Ambassador, and joined in official Arctic Council meetings to talk about his community’s concerns around oceans on an international level. Cade also participated in the Students on Ice program, which last summer brought together youth from across the Arctic to Greenland and Canada to dive deeper into how communities, land, and ocean are connected to ice and warming temperatures. In August of 2016, he took part in the Aleutian Life Forum which discussed ocean acidification and strategies for building more resilient communities. Despite the jet setting lifestyle that Cade has lived for the past two years as he has traveled to advocate for our oceans, he is a committed community member and student. He maintains a high grade point average and participates in school sports and clubs. He also encourages his peers to get involved and recently helped start a chapter of Alaska Youth for Environmental Action to bring Unalaska students together.
Phyllis Shoemaker will receive the Marine Science Outreach Award. This award is given to a person, team or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to ocean literacy via formal or informal education, media or other communications. It is sponsored by the Alaska Ocean Observing System. Phyllis Shoemaker coordinated and quietly led the Alaska Region National Ocean Sciences Bowl – “Tsunami Bowl” – in Seward for over 15 years. Her work make possible the development of hundreds of budding marine science high school students, many of whom have gone on to the university study of marine science and careers in the field. During her time as coordinator for the “Tsunami Bowl” it grew from about ten teams competing each year to the maximum of twenty teams, often with waiting lists, that represent schools from throughout urban and rural parts of the state, from Southeast Alaska to the Arctic. Her leadership and work in getting sponsors for the Bowl, finding housing for teams and volunteers coming from thousands of miles away, organizing a complex competition schedule and set of brackets and bringing the National Ocean Sciences Bowl final competition to Alaska, have been essential to the Bowl’s success.
Dr. Stanley Rice was selected to receive the Marine Research Award, sponsored by Drs. Clarence Pautzke and Maureen McCrea. This honor is given to a scientist, team of scientists, or an institution that is acknowledged by peers to have made an original breakthrough contribution to any field of scientific knowledge about Alaska’s oceans. Following a federal career spanning more than 40 years, Dr. Stanley Rice, known to all as “Jeep,” retired as Program Manager of Habitat and Chemistry at NOAA’s Auke Bay Laboratories in 2012. Jeep and his team’s tireless efforts, including more than 150 publications, have greatly added to our understanding of the long term fate and biological effects of oil in the marine environment whether it be from spills or chronic oil pollution. The discovery of the extent to which very low concentrations of oil in the environment could damage the productivity of marine organisms and compromise their habitats culminated, after a decade of further research, in a publication in Science (2003). These findings were built upon by other scientists to extend to seabirds, marine mammals, and the intertidal biota, resulting in a major paradigm shift in the scientific view of oil spills and chronic pollution. Beyond the arena of catastrophic oil spills, Jeep’s findings have been applied by scientists in the management of very low levels of hydrocarbon pollution and the protection of ecosystems in urban estuaries. For example, Jeep’s team’s findings led to more stringent water quality standards for hydrocarbons in fish spawning habitats. Jeep’s work also had an impact on oil spill contingency planning where proactive measures such as double hulled tankers and altered shipping routes have appeared in plans that once focused solely on cleanup technologies.
About the ASLC
Opened in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center operates as a private, non-profit research institution and public aquarium, with wildlife response and education programs. It generates and shares scientific knowledge to promote understanding and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystems. The ASLC is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. To learn more, visit www.alaskasealife.org.