Finalists named for Florida’s Largest Ocean Conservation Awards Event

Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards recognize ocean heroes from around the globe

Go Blue Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Lynne and Pete Wells

Nearly 100 distinguished guests gathered at PGA National Resort & Spa on Sept. 21 for the exciting announcement of Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s (LMC) Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards finalists. Guests rubbed shoulders with respected ocean conservationists and enjoyed cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prior to the announcement of the finalists and honorees.  LMC’s Go Blue Awards Luncheon is Florida’s premier ocean conservation awards event and is judged by an independent panel of globally-renowned conservation experts.

With the exception of the Eleanor Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award, winners in each category will be revealed at the Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon on Friday, Oct. 27 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

This year’s luncheon will feature National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry as special guest and keynote speaker. Skerry is a globally-acclaimed photographer who is praised worldwide for his awe inspiring photography and deeply personal message regarding the importance of ocean conservation. Skerry’s stunning images tell stories that celebrate the mystery and beauty of the sea, and help to increase awareness to the many issues that endanger our oceans and its inhabitants.

The Eleanor Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award, named for the founder of LMC, recognizes an individual who has exemplified a lifelong, extraordinary commitment to ocean conservation through their work or volunteer activities.

  • Ted Turner, chairman and founder, Turner Foundation (Raton, N.M.) – 2017 award recipient
  • Wallace J. Nichols, Blue Mind Life (Davenport, Calif.) – honoree
  • James A. “Buddy” Powell, Ph.D., Sea to Shore Alliance, Inc. (Sarasota, Fla.) – honoree
  • John Reynolds, Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, Fla.) – honoree

The 2017 Go Blue Awards finalists are as follows:

The Blue Ambassador of the Year Award
recognizes a person who has made significant contributions in ocean conservation in south Florida through volunteer-related activities.

  • Linda Cabot, Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Program (Boston)
  • Jolyn Landrie, Waterway Clean up Project (Juno Beach, Fla.)
  • Carl Stearns, Loggerhead Marinelife Center and Friends of Jupiter Beach (Juno Beach, Fla.)

The Blue Friend of the Year Award
recognizes a person who has made significant contributions in ocean conservation through work-related activities:

  • Teal Kawana, Miami-Dade County Sea Turtle Conservation Program (Miami)
  • Mikki McComb-Kobza, Ocean First Institute (Boulder, Colo.)
  • Jeff Pantukhoff, The Whaleman Foundation (Maui, Hawaii)
  • Ken Simmons, Healthy Aquatics Marine Institute (Boynton Beach, Fla.)
  • Richard Wallesky, former director, Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management (Wellington, Fla.)

The Blue Hatchling Youth Award
recognizes a person under age 17 who has made significant contributions in marine conservation through volunteer-related activities:

  • Sophie Allen, Junior Friend of MacArthur Beach State Park (Lake Worth, Fla.)
  • Skylar Mandell, Florida Sea Turtle Company (Boca Raton, Fla.)
  • Shelby O’Neil, Jr Ocean Guardians (San Juan Bautista, Calif.)
  • Olivia and Carter Ries, One More Generation (Atlanta)
  • Madison Toonder, Stanford University Online High School (St. Augustine, Fla.)
  • Melati and Isabel Wijsen, Bye Bye Plastic Bags (Bali, Indonesia)

Blue Business of the Year Award recognizes a business or nonprofit that has made outstanding contributions toward promoting and encouraging conservation, restoration, or preservation of marine life and/or marine ecosystems through their business practices, products or technology:

  • Engel Coolers
  • MG Surfline
  • The Scuba Club
  • Women of the Wild

Diana Wilkin and Karen Marcus (LMC board members)

This year’s distinguished independent panel of judges includes Gary Adkison, U.S. Shark Foundation director; Fabien Cousteau, aquanaut, oceanographic explorer, conservationist and documentary filmmaker; Greg Marshall, inventor and scientist, National Geographic Society; Sally Murray, daughter of LMC Founder Eleanor Fletcher; Susan Murray, Oceana U.S. Pacific deputy vice president, granddaughter of LMC Founder Eleanor Fletcher; Paul Nicklen; photographer and marine biologist, National Geographic; Joel Sartore, photographer, speaker, author, teacher and 20-year National Geographic Magazine contributor; Jim Toomey, Mission Blue executive director and Sherman’s Lagoon Comic Strip creator; and Dr. Edith Widder, CEO & senior scientist, Ocean Research & Conservation Association, Inc. WPTV News Channel 5 Meteorologist Glenn Glazer will again serve as the luncheon’s introductory host.

Special thanks to Go Blue Awards Luncheon Co-Chairs Pete and Lynne Wells, as well as sponsors: Presenting Sponsor Manatee Lagoon – an FPL Eco-Discovery Center; Pete and Lynne Wells; The Gardens Mall; Pratt & Whitney; Douglas Elliman Real Estate; Bart and Julie Livolsi; Seven Kings Holdings, Inc.; Tire Kingdom; Barbara Savastano; Ann Miller; Sam Forrest; Bob Chlebek and Sandy Humbert; WLS Vitamins/Dr. and Mrs. Jefferson Vaughan; Betsy Munson; Chip Block and Leanna Landsmann; EDS Air Conditioning; PNC; North American Veterinary Heart Center; Holtec International; Sustainable Palm Beach County; Gunster; Tommy Bahama Restaurant Bar & Store; Nason, Yeager, Gerson, White & Lioce, P.A.; Jensen – Johnson, LLC; The Capital Grille; Tiffany & Co.; Gretchen Scott; Florida Weekly and Jupiter Magazine.

The Go Blue Awards was created to recognize individuals and businesses that directly or indirectly support Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s mission to promote conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.

To purchase tickets to the Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon, or to learn more about sponsoring the luncheon, visit