Voting has closed for the Coastal & Marine Conversation category, but you can still watch the inspiring videos from our extraordinary finalists. Return on September 2, 2021 to find out which nonprofit won the new Defender. In the meantime, listen to their stories, visit their websites and support their worthwhile causes.
FORCE BLUE, INC. (MOUNT PLEASANT, SC)
One team. One Fight. Established as a nonprofit organization in 2016, FORCE BLUE seeks to address two seemingly unrelated problems—the rapidly declining health of our planet’s marine resources and the difficulty returning combat veterans have in adjusting to civilian life—through one, mission-focused program. By uniting the community of Special Operations veterans with the world of marine science and conservation, FORCE BLUE has created a transpartisan model of caring, cooperation and positive change with the power to restore lives and restore the planet.
LOVE THE SEA (MAUI, HI)
Love The Sea is a nonprofit organization co-founded in 2015 by Campbell Farrell, a passionate waterman who decided to make a change for the well-being of our ocean and its inhabitants. The Love The Sea team has a vision of living in a world where the ocean is plastic free, healthy and abundant with life. The team has started by focusing on where they live in Hawai'i nei. Unifying is what gives us the power to be effective and efficient to protect what we love. Love The Sea is on a mission with coalition partners to monitor and clean every oceanfront mile within the Hawaiian Islands and beyond.
NATIONAL MARINE MAMMAL FOUNDATION (SAN DIEGO, CA)
The National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve and protect life for marine mammals, humans and our shared oceans through science, service and education. The NMMF strives to create a sea of change in our global approach to scientific exploration, ocean conservation and public education, with a strong emphasis on developing partnerships that maximize impact. The NMMF’s team of forward-thinking aquatic veterinarians, scientists and conservationists is answering critical questions about the health of marine mammals and conserving species worldwide.
NEW YORK MARINE RESCUE CENTER (RIVERHEAD, NY)
Founded in 1996, New York Marine Rescue Center’s mission is to provide sustainable response efforts for marine mammal and sea turtle strandings throughout New York, operating the only facility in the state permitted to rehabilitate marine mammals and sea turtles. They collect sound science to help identify stranding trends, highlight viruses and continue to protect endangered and threatened species, and encourage conservation and stewardship of the marine environments through scientific research and public educational programs.
THE OUTSIDE FOUNDATION (HILTON HEAD, SC)
Founded in 2014, The Outside Foundation’s mission is to get kids outside and to preserve and protect the local environment. Each year the Foundation provides opportunities for over 1,000 local kids to connect to nature through the “Kids in Kayaks” program. In 2018, The Foundation established a community-based Oyster Shell Recycling and Reef Building Initiative. A shell recycling route and drop-off location were created, capturing over 68 tons of oyster shell. The Foundation hosts regular beach, park, and waterway clean-ups, and an annual “Keep the Broad Creek Clean” water festival.
Due to an overwhelming response to the Defender Above & Beyond Service Awards, five exemplary semi-finalists were selected for their commitment to accomplishing great things in their communities. Visit their websites and support their efforts today.
Clearwater Marine Aquarium
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