$5,000 Awarded in Support of Marine Animal Rescue Efforts in Hawai'i

Kihei, Hawai'i – The Robert S. and Grayce B. Kerr Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit charitable and education Oklahoma corporation, has generously donated $5,000 to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation to support the rescue program of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Mara Kerr and Mark DiOrio, of Carmel, California, presented the $5,000 donation on behalf of the Kerr Foundation to Marine Mammal Response Manager Ed Lyman and Science and Rescue Coordinator David Mattila of the sanctuary, and Pacific Islands Regional Director Allen Tom of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

The donation will directly benefit the sanctuary’s rescue program, which attempts to free endangered humpback whales and other marine animals from life-threatening entanglements while at the same time gathering valuable information that will help mitigate the issue of entanglements in the future. The 40-ton mammals often drag gear for thousands of miles to Hawai’i and the sanctuary, where more than 10,000 humpback whales migrate every year. Entanglement is one of the primary human-caused sources of serious injury and mortality to whales and dolphins, with an estimated 300,000 dying worldwide every year. The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s Koholā Campaign supports efforts to protect the humpback whales of Hawai’i.

“During difficult budget times, donations like this can ensure that animals in need can still be rescued,” Lyman said.

Kerr and DiOrio, the Capital Campaign Director for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, are also producers of the award-winning documentary film “In the Wake of Giants,” written and directed by Lou Douros. The film highlights the marine animal rescue efforts within Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and recently received an award for the Best National Marine Sanctuary Short at the Blue Ocean Film Festival in Monterey, California.

Photo credit: NOAA
Photo caption: Mara Kerr and Mark DiOrio present sanctuary representatives with a $5,000 check that will benefit the sanctuary’s rescue program. The donation was made from the Kerr Foundation to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

Check1 -- Left to right: Allen Tom, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Pacific Islands Regional Director; Ed Lyman, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Marine Mammal Response Manager; Mara Kerr and Mark DiOrio, The Kerr Foundation

Check2 -- Left to right: David Mattila, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Science and Rescue Coordinator; Ed Lyman, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Marine Mammal Response Manager; Mara Kerr and Mark DiOrio, The Kerr Foundation

About the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation:
The National Marine Sanctuary System represents America's underwater treasures: a network of 14 federally protected areas, encompassing over 150,000 square miles in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Great Lakes. The Foundation was created to help foster conservation-based research, education, and outreach programs designed to connect the American public with these unique marine environments.

Sarah van Schagen
Communications and Outreach Manager
National Marine Sanctuary Foundation
301-608-3040 x5


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