The Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises Ocean Fund awarded $796,000 on March 30 in 15 new grants to marine conservation and environmental organizations, including a $100,000 grant to The Conservation Fund for its Alaska land preservation program and a $100,000 grant to Conservation International for its campaign to conserve Caribbean biodiversity.
Almost $9 million has been awarded to 64 non-profit organizations working to protect the marine environment since the fund's inception in 1996. The mission of the Ocean Fund is to support efforts to restore and maintain a healthy marine environment, minimize the impact of human activity on this environment, and promote awareness of ocean and coastal issues and respect for marine life.
There are so many fascinating and vital marine conservation efforts under way by our grant applicants,said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. We applaud our 2007 Ocean Fund grant recipients for their efforts in research, education and developing innovative technologies that help preserve the world's oceans.
The complete list of 2007 Ocean Fund grant recipients is as follows:
Audubon of Florida: $30,000 to continue satellite telemetry tracking of migration patterns of roseate spoonbills in the Florida Bay Ecosystem.
Blue Ocean Institute: $50,000 to support Safe Seas, a program that works with communities in the Pacific to keep albatrosses and sea turtles from drowning in longline and gillnet fishing gear, and to reduce hunting of sea turtles in Latin America.
Caribbean Conservation Corp.: $40,000 to produce a video series, Ocean Fund Eco-Explorations, in partnership with Open Water Media. The videos will be used in the new Barrier Island Sanctuary Management and Education Center in Melbourne Beach, and for distribution to schools and museums.
Conservation International: $100,000 for continued support for its Campaign to Conserve Caribbean Biodiversity: in the Saba Bank/Netherlands Antilles. The Straits of Florida, The Dominican Republic, and the Southern Caribbean World Heritage Site.
Earthwatch Institute: $25,000 for creating an Ocean Fund Marine Science Educators fellowship program for high school teachers from Florida and Texas to participate in field research expeditions.
Harvard Medical School, Center for Health & Global Environment: $50,000 to create exhibits for its Healthy Ocean, Healthy Humans project to accompany a related film, which will be shown at aquariums and museums.
Island Dolphin Care: $25,000 to fund developing educational materials and to maintain the facility's touch tank, seven aquariums, and exterior tidal pool to serve critically ill and special-needs children in Key Largo, Fla.
The Nature Conservancy: $50,000 for its program to promote conservation of coastal habitats in southeast Alaska; and $50,000 to design coral reef management strategies in Florida.
Oregon Institute of Marine Biology of the University of Oregon: $45,000 to buy a scanning electron microscope to help identify and determine growth rates of small organisms related to toxic algal blooms, invasive species, and fisheries management.
Perry Institute for Marine Science: $30,000 to evaluate marine-protected areas in the Bahamas, both existing and proposed, and to improve protection of coral reefs through adaptive management.
Shake-A-Leg Foundation Miami: $75,000 for continued support for $3.95-million eco-island project to provide educational, recreational, and island restoration activities for students with disabilities and at-risk youth.
South Florida National Parks Trust: $25,000 to hire a second full-time ranger to lead environmental education programs for 4th- through 8th-grade students at Biscayne National Park.
University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science: $51,000 for to continue the Royal Caribbean Fellowship Program to support two incoming graduate students.
World Wildlife Fund: $50,000 in support of its Smart Gear initiative, to reduce the bycatch of endangered marine species by encouraging the development of innovative, practical and cost-effective fishing technologies.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Pullmantur. The company has a combined total of 34 ships in service and six under construction. It also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Additional information can be found on www.royalcaribbean.com, www.celebrity.com, www.pullmantur.es or www.rclinvestor.com.