Loggerhead Marinelife Center shines spotlight on ocean conservation influencers at 2017 Go Blue Awards Luncheon

At Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon – presented by Manatee Lagoon, an FPL Eco-Discovery Center on Friday, Oct. 27, over 550 conservation-minded notables gathered at PGA National Resort & Spa for the announcement of the 2017 Go Blue Awards winners: Ted Turner, The Scuba Club, Olivia and Carter Ries, Linda Cabot and Dr. Mikki McComb-Kobza.

The Go Blue Awards Luncheon recognizes businesses, non-profits and individuals who have promoted, implemented or contributed to a “Blue” lifestyle of marine conservation and have made significant contributions to improve and protect our oceans, beaches and wildlife.

  • Ted Turner, Turner Foundation chairman and lifelong environmental activist, received the Eleanor Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award for accelerating marine, land and species conservation, drawing early attention to climate change and supporting research to shape environmental policy and practice. As a business leader, Turner is best known as founder of Cable News Network (CNN), the first 24-hour cable news channel that transformed the way the world gets its news. Over the past 30 years, Turner has been a bold leader in conservation, environmental education and global philanthropy. Turner also buys land to preserve it, placing him as the second largest individual land holder in North America.
  • The Scuba Club in West Palm Beach, Fla. received the Blue Business of the Year Award for educating divers and conservationists of and setting an example through sustainable and conservation-minded dive practices.
  • Olivia and Carter Ries, founders of One More Generation in Atlanta, received the Blue Hatchling Youth Award for creating a plastic and recycling awareness curriculum that educated over 75,000 students, the “One Less Straw” campaign and their TED X youth and U.N. addresses.
  • Linda Cabot, founder of Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs in Boston, received the Blue Ambassador of the Year Award for her organization, which combines the arts and sciences to educate youth and create a new generation of conservation advocates.
  • Mikki McComb-Kobza, founder of the Ocean First Institute in Boulder, Colo., received the Blue Friend of the Year Award for her organization, which works to strengthen the next generation’s connection with the ocean.

As Florida’s preeminent ocean conservation awards event, the luncheon brought together ocean heroes from around the world to meet and mingle, congratulate the winners and hear from National Geographic photographer and keynote speaker, Brian Skerry, who is praised worldwide for his awe-inspiring photography and deeply personal message regarding the importance of ocean conservation. The luncheon raised over $75,000 for LMC’s mission of ocean and sea turtle conservation.

Winners were determined by an esteemed panel of judges: 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.

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; Samuel J. and Connie M. Frankino Foundation; AW Property Co.; 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; In Memory of F. Ross Johnson, Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa; Deluge Biotechnologies; Tommy Bahama Restaurant Bar & Store; Nason, Yeager, Gerson, White & Lioce, P.A.; Jensen – Johnson, LLC; The Capital Grille; Tiffany & Co.; Gretchen Scott; Florida Weekly; PGA National Resort & Spa and Jupiter Magazine.

For more information on the event, including finalist and winner bios, please visit www.marinelife.org/goblue.