Seattle Aquarium honors Dr. Sylvia A. Earle with inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award

Where: Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59, Seattle, WA

On January 25, the Seattle Aquarium held its annual Chairman’s Dinner, which honors community and scientific leaders who have worked to preserve and protect marine environments both locally and around the world.

This year’s event held a twist: the bestowal of the Aquarium’s first Lifetime Achievement Award, which was given to Sylvia A. Earle, Ph.D. Recognized by the Library of Congress as a “Living Legend,” Dr. Earle is presently chairman of deep ocean exploration and research and an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. She has led more than 60 research expeditions worldwide, involving in excess of 7,000 hours underwater, and is founder of the Sylvia Earle Alliance (S.E.A.)/Mission Blue, founder of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research Inc. (DOER), chair of the advisory council for the Harte Research Institute and former chief scientist of NOAA.

In 2007, the Aquarium presented Dr. Earle with the Seattle Aquarium Medal, which is presented each year to an individual whose leadership and lifetime accomplishments reflect the mission of the Seattle Aquarium: Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment. Dr. Earle was selected for her pioneering research, writing and exploration that helped increase understanding of the ocean and make its protection an international priority—work that she has continued as the ocean’s most visible proponent.

Upon conferring the Lifetime Achievement Award, Seattle Aquarium President & CEO Robert W. Davidson also announced that the Seattle Aquarium Medal is being renamed and will henceforth be known as the Seattle Aquarium Sylvia Earle Medal.

Megan N. Dethier, Ph.D., a research professor in the biology department at the University of Washington who is in full-time residence at the Friday Harbor Laboratories, received the Seattle Aquarium Conservation Research Award, which honors individuals performing leadership research in the field.

Since the late 1970s, Dr. Dethier has been working on the shoreline ecology of the Pacific Northwest. She designed a marine habitat classification system for Washington state, and has worked with the National Park Service and various Washington agencies designing shoreline mapping and monitoring programs. Her current research efforts are mostly focused in Puget Sound, investigating the linkage between physical features of shoreline habitats and their biota, and the effects of human impacts (such as shoreline armoring) on this linkage. President & CEO Davidson presented longtime board member George Willoughby with the Scott S. Patrick Inspirational Award. 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.

About the Seattle Aquarium

Founded in 1977, the Seattle Aquarium is a conservation organization working to regenerate the health of Earth's one ocean. We work among global leaders to advance animal wellbeing, marine and ecosystem science, public policy, field conservation, education, and species recovery programs that benefit the ocean. Help support the Aquarium's mission of Inspiring Conservation of Our Marine Environment.

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Emily Malone
Public Relations Specialist, Seattle Aquarium