Ocean Conservation Honors awardees

The Seattle Aquarium hosted its annual Ocean Conservation Honors dinner on January 30. We were honored to present Former Secretary of the Interior, the Honorable Sally Jewell with the Seattle Aquarium Sylvia Earle Medal; Dr. Drew Harvell with the Conservation Research Award and longtime board member Gary T. Smith with the Scott S. Patrick Inspirational Award.

Presented to an individual whose leadership and lifetime accomplishments reflect the Seattle Aquarium’s mission

“Whether it’s through paddling my kayak in the South Sound, sailing the Salish Sea or hiking high in the glaciers of the Cascades, nature has fueled my soul and nurtured my curiosity,” says Sally Jewell. Her commitment to conservation of the natural world she treasures has been the hallmark of her career, which has included helping to found the Mountains to Sound Greenway trust, a stint as the president and CEO of REI, her current role as interim CEO of The Nature Conservancy—and tenure as the 51st Secretary of the Interior under President Obama.

“For years we have taken our marine environment for granted and in over six decades, I have witnessed life in tide pools decline, sea stars disappear, eelgrass and kelp beds harder to find, salmon scarce, and orcas in steep decline,” says Ms. Jewell. “We can all do our part to reverse these trends—like reducing carbon emissions, keeping shorelines natural, removing plastics from marine environments and advocating for sensible policies that align community needs with improving environmental health,” she adds.

During her years as Secretary of the Interior, Ms. Jewell led the Department to secure healthy watersheds and initiate data-driven solutions to the impacts of climate change. In 2016, with encouragement from Secretary Jewell, President Obama quadrupled the size of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, making it the largest contiguous fully protected conservation area under the U.S. flag, and one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.

Ms. Jewell’s leadership, actions and commitment have been recognized with the Audubon Society’s Rachel Carson Award, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Award for Public Service and the University of Washington’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award.

Honoring individuals who are leaders and innovators in conservation research

Dr. Drew Harvell’s research stems from a central question: “How can we bolster ocean health and biodiversity in the face of a changing climate?” A marine ecologist, she is confronting disease as a powerful force that has been restructuring marine ecosystems, from extremely climate-sensitive coral reefs to rocky intertidal shores to temperate seagrasses.

Dr. Harvell has published over 170 articles in scholarly journals and has also broken into the world of popular writing. She’s the author of Ocean Outbreak, which investigates four major marine disease outbreaks, as well as A Sea of Glass, which received a National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature, a Rachel Carson Environmental Literature Award, and much additional recognition.

Named for the late Aquarium board member and Seattle Seahawks executive who served with extraordinary passion, the award annually recognizes the Seattle Aquarium board member whose service best exemplifies the passion, leadership and enthusiasm which characterized Scott Patrick’s life and board service.

Gary has been a member of the Seattle Aquarium board of directors since 2000 and currently serves on the executive committee. In 2017 Gary began co-chairing the new advancement committee. Gary chaired the public partnerships committee from its inception until 2011 and continues to reside on the committee as a member. Gary served as one of three U.S. delegates to the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission from 2006 to 2018 and served on the board of Long Live the Kings, a salmon conservation group, from 2000 to 2019.

Subscribe to the Seattle Aquarium Blog

Get news and updates from the blog delivered to your inbox