Three California divers with a passion for protecting the oceans were recognized and awarded with the Eco Laureate Award by the Undersea Voyager Project and Luminox Watches. The award was presented to them on Sunday, May 7 at the Scuba Show in Long Beach, California.
Rod and Heidi Roddenberry were recognized and awarded for their outstanding contributions to ocean conservation, their unwavering support of conservationists, and a commitment to put money and resources into the agencies and people who look to protect our oceans.
From the perfectly named “Trashy Diver Contest” of Roddenberry Adventures, all the way up to The Roddenberry Prize, a one million dollar grant program for bold innovators, Rod and Heidi seek to make true the statement “Things are only impossible until they’re not.” The Roddenberry Foundation funds innovative solutions to critical global issues in science and technology, the environment, education and humanitarian advances. In honor of Rod’s father, Eugene Roddenberry, and his vision of a better, more diverse and more optimistic future, they are continually inspiring and supporting others, encouraging them to leverage technology, the spirit of exploration and the power of storytelling in order to ‘boldly’ face humanity’s challenges.
An avid and accomplished scuba diver, Michael Bear took on the responsibility of training as a research diver in order to increase the bank of knowledge we have on the oceans. While a volunteer research diver, he created the citizen science site ‘Sevengill Shark Identification Project” to enable divers of all kinds to participate in a ‘baseline dynamics study’ of this species in the San Diego area. Through this portal, divers can record sightings, or non-sightings, of sevengill sharks.
In 2014, Mike co-founded the non-profit Ocean Sanctuaries which is dedicated to ocean-related citizen science and data sharing as well as species conservation and ocean sustainability. He has worked with National Geographic to help perfect a citizen science collection tool called ‘Fieldscope’ which enables divers to upload photos and document shark sightings on the California coast. Michael knows that as more and more divers and non-divers alike are becoming aware of the critical state of both the oceans and even the planet itself, ‘now is the time for citizen scientists to assist in the collection of scientific data in a scientifically sound manner’. Mike has shown dedication in preserving our oceans and has inspired others with his selfless commitment.
Rod, Heidi and Mike each received an Eco Laureate Award certificate and a new, limited edition UVP 3955 Luminox Watch in recognition of their outstanding contributions to ocean conservation.