Oceanographer Earle to Receive Mystic Seaport Award

(inset) Dr. Sylvia Earle (main) Dr. Earl displays samples to aquanaut inside TEKTITE (Feb 2009). Photos courtesy Wikepedia.

World-renowned oceanographer, marine biologist, deep-sea explorer and author Sylvia A. Earle will be honored with Mystic Seaport’s America and the Sea Award at a gala held in her honor at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City on Wednesday, November 3. The award honors and celebrates those who embrace the scholarship, exploration, adventure, aesthetics, competition and freedom the sea inspires. Previous winners include pre-eminent yacht designer Olin J. Stephens II, author and historian David McCullough, President and CEO of Crowley Maritime Corporation Thomas B. Crowley, Jr. and philanthropist William I. Koch.

Earle has been at the forefront of deep ocean exploration for 4 decades. She was the first woman to walk freely on the ocean floor, and currently is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Her marine preservation quest has most recently been featured in Time magazine (“Saving Our Oceans: One Woman’s Dream to Create National Parks in the Sea”) and National Geographic (“My Blue Wilderness”). Earle was honored with the TED Prize in 2009 for her tireless advocacy of the world’s oceans, and has also received more than 100 national and international awards and honors.

Earle has led more than 70 expeditions, including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970.

Earle is the former chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and founder of 3 marine technology companies, including Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, a company that designs, builds, supports and consults on piloted and robotic subsea systems and implements solutions for even the most challenging underwater tasks.

Earle is also the founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (SEA), a nonprofit foundation committed to the creation and expansion of marine protected areas, which she calls “Hope Spots.” SEA seeks to raise public awareness about the urgent need for ocean protection and brings together partnerships that foster protection for Hope Spots in the form of policy-based solutions, local conservation programs and public outreach. SEA is a founding partner of Mission Blue, a multi-year, global partnership initiative aimed at restoring health and productivity to the ocean.

Earle has led more than 70 expeditions, including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970, and has logged more than 7,000 hours underwater. In addition, she has broken several deep-diving records, including solo diving to a depth of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).

As author of more than 175 scientific, technical and popular publications, Earle has contributed a prolific and distinguished body of work to the field of maritime studies. Her research focuses on marine ecosystems with special reference to exploration and the development and use of new technologies for access and effective operations in the deep sea and other remote environments.

Additionally, Earle is chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies and sits on numerous boards for corporate and nonprofit organizations within the marine biology field. She earned her B.S. from Florida State University, an M.S. and a Ph.D. from Duke University and has received 15 honorary degrees.

For more information:

Mystic Seaport Website

Video: Saving Our Oceans