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Nominations for Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon, featuring renowned photojournalist Brian Skerry open July 15

2016 winners: Brooke Welch, Dr. Derek Burkholder, Jennifer Nolan (accepted on Louie Psihoyos’ behalf), Scott Harris, Eric Call (Palm Beach County Parks & Recreation)

Nominations for Florida’s most prestigious ocean conservation awards ceremony, the Ninth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon, will open nationwide on Saturday, July 15.

Hosted by Loggerhead Marinelife Center, the Go Blue Awards Luncheon recognizes and awards four individuals and one business or nonprofit that 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.

To nominate a person or business for this premier award, visit marinelife.org/bluefriends. Nominations close Aug. 25. Finalists will be announced at the Blue Friends Society Cocktail Social at PGA National Resort and Spa on Thursday, September 21 at 5:30 p.m.

An esteemed, independent panel of judges will select final candidates for each award. Winners in each category are announced during the luncheon at PGA National on Friday, Oct. 27. The event will also feature award-winning National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry as special guest and keynote speaker. Mr. Skerry is praised globally for his aesthetic sense and journalistic drive for relevance. His uniquely-creative images tell stories that not only celebrate the mystery and beauty of the sea, but also help bring attention to the large number of issues that endanger our oceans and its inhabitants.

Nominations are based on several criteria. The Eleanor Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a person who exemplifies a lifelong, extraordinary commitment to marine conservation through their work or volunteer activities similar to LMC Founder Eleanor Fletcher. The Blue Ambassador of the Year Award will recognize a person who has made significant contributions in ocean conservation through volunteer-related activities. The Blue Friend of the Year Award recognizes a person who has made significant contributions in ocean conservation through work-related activities. The Blue Hatchling Youth Award recognizes a youth K-12 who has made significant contributions in marine conservation through volunteer-related activities. The Blue Business of the Year Award will recognize a business that has made outstanding contributions toward promoting conservation or restoration of marine life or ecosystems through their practices, products or technology.

This year’s 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; and Jim Toomey, Mission Blue executive director, Sherman’s Lagoon Comic Strip creator. WPTV News Channel 5 Meteorologist Glenn Glazer will once again serve as the introductory host for this year’s luncheon.

For more information about the Go Blue Awards Luncheon, to purchase tickets or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit marinelife.org/bluefriends.