Ocean Explorer Dr. Robert D. Ballard Receives 2009 NMSF Lifetime Achievement Award

NMSF Trustee Emerita Dr. Sylvia Earle presents Dr. Ballard with the NMSF 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award.

In recognition of his life-long commitment to the ocean exploration, marine conservation and national marine sanctuaries, Dr. Robert D. Ballard was honored with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (NMSF) at their annual Leadership Awards Dinner held on June 9th in Washington DC.

“Bob Ballard is an American treasure and one of the leading ocean advocates of our generation. He is also one of the founding trustees of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and we are honored to present him with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Joy Williams, acting president and CEO of the NMSF.

Pioneering oceanographer, explorer, scientist, communicator, and teacher, Bob Ballard is a man of many accomplishments. He is best known for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic and has succeeded in tracking down numerous other historically significant shipwrecks, including the German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the American aircraft carrier Yorktown, and John F. Kennedy's PT 109. He was also credited for discovering deep ocean hydrothermal vents and black smokers.

Ballard spent 30 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and has a Ph.D. in marine geology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island, in addition to 21 honorary doctoral degrees.

Ballard also holds the prestigious title of “explorer in residence” with the National Geographic Society and has hosted National Geographic Television's Explorer program. With frequent appearances on television over the years, Ballard most recently received rave reviews from a new generation of fans by appearing on the Comedy Channel’s Colbert Report.

In recent years, Ballard and his Institute for Exploration team have taken thousands of school children on interactive expeditions to discover and explore deep water mysteries within our national marine sanctuary system through the innovative JASON project and the live Immersion Presents telepresence missions. Through these missions, Ballard has encouraged and motivated thousands of young people to become life-long learners of science and technology.

The NMSF Leadership Awards Dinner is held in conjunction with the 2009 Capitol Hill Ocean’s Week, a three-day symposium that features ocean policy experts from government, private industry, nonprofits and academia. Participants seek to raise awareness of the important ocean and coastal issues among our nation’s leaders and to build bridges among various ocean constituencies. Sponsors include: Pacific Life; American Petroleum Institute; Center for Ocean Solutions; Regional Fishery Management Councils; Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Ocean Conservancy.

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