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Third Annual BFC / Peter Benchley Awards

Download the 2010 program.

After a fantastic success in 2010, we continued our efforts to recognize the best and the brightest in marine conservation.  We were thrilled to present awards in May 2011, this time in Washington, DC.  Please read below to get a better understanding of the Awards and their mission.

The 2010 Blue Frontier Campaign / Peter Benchley Awards Recipients

Science –  Jesse Ausubel – Program Director, Decade long Census of Marine Life completing in 2010

Policy –  Dr. Jane Lubchenco – Administrator, NOAA

Media – Louie Psihoyos – Director, The Cove (2010 Academy Award Winner)

Hero of the Seas –  Cynthia Sarthou – Gulf Restoration Network

Foundation Spirit Award –  Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Explorer –  Don Walsh – Lifelong explorer and one of only two people ever to go to bottom of the ocean aboard the Trieste in 1960 (50thanniversary)

Youth - Kyle Thiermann – Surfer, Activist –



VenueAwards Host Committee

Thank you for your continued support.

The Gulf of Mexico is in the midst of the largest environmental disaster since Chernobyl. We now face an unprecedented opportunity to take action, come together and act as one.

The Blue Frontier Campaign hosted the Third Annual Blue Frontier / Peter Benchley Awards at the California Academy of Sciences on June 25, 2010 to recognize top Oil Disaster Responders including Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Cynthia Sarthou and our MC Philippe Cousteau, and  also to celebrate some of the world’s top Ocean Explorers and Marine Conservationists. The Awards are designed to celebrate the legacy of ‘Jaws’ Author, writer, filmmaker and marine conservationist Peter Benchley.

Given Blue Frontier Campaign’s mission to “promote unity, provide tools to and raise awareness of the solution-oriented seaweed (marine grassroots) community,” the Seaweed (marine grassroots) ‘Hero of the Seas’ Award went to Cynthia Sarthou, Executive Director of the New Orleans based ‘Gulf Restoration Network,’ the main regional frontline environmental group dealing with the spill. Her award was presented by California’s Richard Charter who has spent 30 years working on offshore drilling issues and was recipient of last year’s ‘Hero of the Seas’ award. Among the 2010 winners of the Benchley Mantas – a unique statute designed by Marine Artist Wyland – was Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the Administrator of NOAA, The  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Her Policy Award was presented by world-famous ocean explorer and conservationist Dr. Sylvia Earle who recently testified to Congress on the impacts of the BP disaster.

Other winners included life long explorer Don Walsh (USN Ret.), the only person alive who has been to the deepest part of the Ocean (50 years ago this year aboard the Bathysphere Trieste), Louie Psihoyos, Director of the 2010 Academy Award winning documentary, ‘The Cove’, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation whose work on ‘Marine Spatial Planning’ has been promoted by President Obama, Jesse Ausubel, program director for the Census of Marine Life, a decade-long global scientific collaboration, concluding this year and Kyle Thiermann, a 20-year-old surfer and activist based in Santa Cruz, California.

The Blue Frontier/ Peter Benchley awards acknowledge outstanding achievement leading to the protection of our coasts and ocean and the communities that depend on them. They are opportunity to unify, inspire and recognize the varied components that make up the expanding marine conservation community; to celebrate what we’ve accomplished and the wonders of the blue ocean planet we’re all a part of.

Thank you for joining this exclusive group of ocean leaders and supporters, ocean advocates, and the Blue Frontier Campaign.

The first Blue Frontier Awards were given at the 2004 Blue Vision Conference in Washington D.C. where Peter Benchley gave the Keynote speech. After he passed away, his wife Wendy Benchley agreed to let Blue Frontier title the next awards in his honor.  Wendy has been a grass roots environmental activist for many years and she and Peter worked together for most of their 43 years of marriage on ocean conservation issues. In 2010, marine artist Wyland  generously offered to design a unique awards statue specifically for the “Blue Frontier /Peter Benchley Awards.”

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Drive

Golden Gate Park

San Francisco, CA  94118


David Helvarg, Executive Director
510-778-8470 or 202-491-6296