Wyland and Halls Receive Coveted Ocean Conservation Awards

The world’s largest marine conservation organization, the Reef Check Foundation presented this year’s prestigious “Ocean Conservation Awards” to marine artist Wyland and underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall at the “Save the Reefs, Save the Oceans” charity Gala held on September 16, 2011, at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica, California.

Reef Check supporters include Cameron Diaz and Honorary Board Chair Leonardo DiCaprio, and previous honorees have included Jean-Michel Cousteau, Daryl Hannah and Dr. Sylvia Earle. The charity gala raised $100,000 to continue Reef Check’s work of saving reefs in California and in countries such as Haiti.

Wyland receives the Reef Stewardship Award

The Reef Stewardship award was presented to the marine artist Wyland who has communicated a conservation message to over 1 billion people using paintings and sculpture of underwater themes from whales to coral reefs. Wyland worked with Reef Check to raise ocean awareness in American Samoa during the International Year of the Reef.

Reef Check Board Chair Sue Chen, Honoree Wyland, Honoree Michele Hall, Honoree Howard Hall, Reef Check Executive Director Dr. Gregor Hodgson

The Poseidon Award was presented to underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall for their work in films about reefs and the ocean such as Coral Reef Adventure that have been seen by millions of people throughout the world. In 1994 Howard directed the first underwater IMAX 3D feature, Into the Deep. In 1998 Michele produced and Howard directed the IMAX feature, Island of the Sharks, which was an enterprise of Howard Hall Productions. Prior to the presentation, the Halls showed never-before-seen footage from their films.    

Actress Kelly Hu introduces Reef Check divers (Photos by Eric Cheng)

Founded in 1996 by marine ecologist Dr. Gregor Hodgson, the Reef Check Foundation is an international non-profit organization dedicated to conservation of two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs. With headquarters in Los Angeles and volunteer teams in more than 90 countries and territories, Reef Check works to create partnerships among community volunteers, government agencies, businesses, universities and other non-profits to achieve reef conservation. Reef Check has earned international recognition for its citizen-science reef monitoring program involving students, recreational divers, and local people in preserving reef ecosystems. www.reefcheck.org

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