After evaluating hundreds of applications Oceana, one of the largest international advocacy groups working to protect the world’s oceans, has narrowed down some of the nation’s most outstanding and innovative ocean stewards to an impressive group of six adults and six junior finalists for the organization’s 5th Annual Ocean Hero Awards. Of the six adult finalists, two are our very own; Connecticut natives.
Our first Connecticut finalist Leah Meth of New Haven, CT is a current masters student at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. She organized and led the Shark Stanley Campaign which advocated for the protection of shark and manta rays at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok. This campaign, along with a book written on the experience, created an international movement of over 50 organizations to support shark and manta ray protection. The movement worked tirelessly to collect almost 10,000 petitions from supporters spanning 135 countries to present to CITES in hopes of passing shark and manta ray protection laws. In the end their work paid off in contributing to the passing of shark and manta ray protections.
Our other Connecticut finalist, Bren Smith of Stony Creek, CT, pioneered the Thimble Island Oyster Company in order to address the increasing destruction of commercial fishing. His restorative ocean farm has over 20 acres in the Long Island Sound and uses a unique 3D model as well as restorative practices to restore the ocean habitat, improve water quality and cycle carbon though the ecosystem.
We are extremely impressed with the Connecticut representation in these groups of finalists and applaud both Leah Meth and Bren Smith’s hard work and dedication to making our oceans a better place. Their efforts are inspirational and have had significant positive impact on our valuable ocean ecosystems. We wish them the best of luck in the competition!