VOLUNTEER INSPIRED BY CHOW
As the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary Volunteer of the Year for 2010, Jacqui Stanley was invited to participate in Capitol Hill Ocean Week June 8-10, 2010.
Following is a summary of the experience in her own words.
Jacqui Stanley Reports on Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW)
June 11, 2010--Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW), sponsored by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, was a wonderful learning experience!
It was a great
honor to be chosen to represent Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, and to be amongst such great company of volunteers from the other sanctuaries.
We all enjoyed sharing the special characteristics of our sanctuaries with each other, and
it was a privilege to be with such dedicated people who share the same
passions: to inspire people to preserve and protect our sanctuaries.
The theme of CHOW was "Clean Energy and a Healthy Ocean:Navigating the Future," a very timely topic. With
the terrible events of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico,
every discussion and debate was centered around how to make sure this never
From a luncheon briefing: Sanctuaries 2025, where panelists debated how to
perpetuate and increase special places in the world's oceans; to a great
mixer in Silver Springs; to a special breakfast for the volunteers at the
National Aquarium where we were presented with a pin and a plaque; to the
opening session of Capitol Hill Oceans Week with a keynote address by Ken
Salazar; to a fantastical Leadership Awards Dinner, the week grew into an
exciting and inspirational event, filled with valuable information,
insights, and always extraordinary people all dedicated to the protection of
the world's ocean.
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Jacqui Stanley (center, in jacket and skirt) stands with other sanctuary volunteers being recognized for their service.
At the Leadership Awards Dinner, Congresswomen Lois Capps and Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen gave inspiring speeches, and Julie Packard from the Monterey
Bay Aquarium received her Lifetime Achievement Award.
The national Volunteer of the
Year nominees followed those outstanding women onto the stage, and we all
congratulated Steve Kroll for his award as the overall National Marine Sanctuaries Volunteer of the Year.
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Next, Jean-Michel Cousteau and his family came on stage to celebrate the 100th birthday of Jacques Cousteau. You might remember, whenever Jacques was on TV or in the news, he
wore a red watchcap. So, everyone in the room was given red watchcaps, and
we helped Jean-Michel toast his father.
Probably the reason all of us
in that room ever loved the ocean was due to Jacques Cousteau. By the end of the recognition, we all felt that we could accomplish
Making a Difference
This was not my first visit to Washington D.C., but it was my first visit as
an American citizen. This time, I felt that I was a part of important
decisions, my voice truly counted, and I could make a
difference. That was evident during our visit to Congressman Gene Green, who was
approachable and informed and interested in Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.
The week's events were inspiring, educational, serious, sad, entertaining,
and full of new friendships.
terrible tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico unfolding in a more horrific nightmare every day, it also gave us all a real sense of urgency to the call to change our ways!
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For information and highlights from CHOW 2010, visit the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation web site.
Download a copy of this article (56kb pdf).
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