NOAA 2001-046
Contact: David Miller


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be celebrating Earth Day 2001 by participating in community based activities across the country and recognizing environmental heroes with an agency award.

"As the nation's leading agency for oceans and atmosphere, NOAA is proud to participate in a wide variety of events commemorating Earth Day 2001," said Scott Gudes, acting NOAA administrator.

During the last week of April, NOAA will join its community partners in the following activities:

  • NOAA fisheries personnel in Florida will staff a booth during Environmental Awareness Week at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, April 19 and Patrick Air Force Base, April 20. Information about dolphin feeding, marine mammal and sea turtle viewing guidelines, ethical angling, the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program, fish tagging programs, and careers in marine science, marine and environmental science Web sites will be available.
  • At NOAA's North Inlet-Winya Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in South Carolina the Baruch Marine Lab will conduct an Open House on Friday, April 20 from 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. Guests will be able to visit with scientists at the Belle W. Baruch Marine Field Laboratory and learn about exciting studies underway in the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Exhibits and live animals will be displayed in this world-renowned marine laboratory. Participants will also explore the beautiful North Inlet marsh from a boardwalk.
  • Personnel from NOAA's National Weather Service forecast office in Monterey, Calif., are participating in a Community Open House sponsored by the Fleet Numerical Meteorlogical and Oceanographic Center on April 21. It will be held at the Naval Postgraduate School annex in Monterey.
  • NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary education staff will join its Nature Conservancy partners in activities at the annual Cheeca Lodge Earth Day Celebration on April 21 in Islamorada, Fla.
  • NOAA's Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maine will host a variety of community activities including nature and bird walks, and a children's field trip on April 22.
  • NOAA's Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, in New Brunswick, N.J., is celebrating Earth Day the week of April 23 with educational programs for local 6th grade classes which will include several tree planting projects and a coastal clean-up.
  • Personnel from NOAA's Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary in Savannah, Ga., will participate in Ocean Fest on April 28. The event features exhibits by coastal area marine science organizations, a working model of the one person submersible DeepWorker 2000, and the NOAA ship Ferrel will be open for tours.
  • NOAA's Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary in American Samoa will host an underwater cleanup for certified divers; a stream cleanup for schools and special groups; and beach cleanups for communities groups on April 28.
  • At NOAA's Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in Washington state about three hundred volunteers are expected to participate in this year's Coastal Cleanup on April 28. Volunteers will comb 60 miles of the Olympic National Park coast from Shi Shi Beach on the north to south Kalaloch Beach. Marine debris will be collected from remote wilderness beaches and brought to trailheads or cache sites for later removal. Volunteers will also participate in monitoring the type and amount of marine debris encountered. A series of educational events are also planned for April 27 at area campsites.

Since 1996, NOAA has presented its Environmental Heroes Award to individuals and organizations throughout the United States for their efforts to preserve and protect the nation's environment. Several awards will be presented in conjunction with Earth Day.

"On behalf of the 12,500 men and women working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, I am pleased to present the 2001 Environmental Hero Awards," said Gudes. "This award recognizes their dedicated efforts and outstanding accomplishments to benefit the environment and make our nation a better place for all Americans."

Environmental Hero Awards will be presented to:

  • Richie Moretti of Marathon, Fla. Mr. Moretti will receive his award on April 21 in Islamorada, Fla. He is the founder of the Turtle Hospital in Marathon, which opened in 1986. He has recruited many volunteers to assist with sea turtle surgery, care and feeding, and public outreach to ensure the continued health of these threatened species within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
  • The Florida Beach Patrol Chiefs Association will receive their award on April 22 for their assistance in dramatically reducing rip current drownings in southeast Florida by publicizing the danger from rip currents through the FBPCA network of lifeguards.
  • Jerry Roberson of Oil Trough, Ark. Mr. Roberson will receive his Environmental Hero Award on April 23. Mr. Roberson has been an expert storm spotter in an area where tornadoes frequently develop. His timely report of a spotted tornado helped NOAA's National Weather Service forecast office in Little Rock issue an immediate tornado warning.
  • Theodore H. Below from Naples, Fla. Mr. Below won the Environmental Hero Award for his work as an avid bird watcher. Below has studied the birds in the mangrove islands on the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida for more than 25 years. He has spent much of his life trying to understand habitats, species and natural phenomenon. Mr. Below will receive his award on April 23 in a private reception at Rookery Bay.

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