Nainoa Thompson to Receive Exploration Award

Nainoa_ThompsonNainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and master of traditional Pacific Island wayfinding, will be recognized for excellence in marine conservation, alongside U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and other distinguished awardees.

Thompson was the first Native Hawaiian since the 14th century to practice long-distance wayfinding, and in 1976 helped to inspire a revival of Hawaiian knowledge and culture with the launch and navigation of Hōkūleʻa, a traditional double-hulled voyaging canoe. For decades, Thompson has dedicated himself to teaching the skills and values of wayfinding to generations of navigators throughout Polynesia. Hōkūleʻa has now sailed over 145,000 nautical miles throughout the Pacific and is currently on a journey around the world to join and grow the movement for a more sustainable future.

The eighth annual Peter Benchley Ocean Awards will take place the evening of Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington D.C.  These are the world’s preeminent ocean awards and the only major awards program dedicated to recognizing excellence in marine conservation solutions across a wide range of expertise including science, policy, media, youth, exploration and citizen activism.

Co-founded by longtime conservationist and policy advocate Wendy Benchley and author and Blue Frontier Executive Director David Helvarg, the awards were established to honor the legacy of Peter Benchley, author of ‘Jaws’ and a lifetime marine conservationist.

Winners are nominated by the ocean conservation community and chosen by the Benchley Awards Selection Committee whose members include: Wendy Benchley; David Helvarg; Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue; Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Smithsonian Institution; Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Marine Ecologist, former NOAA Administrator; Dr. Enric Sala, National Geographic; Dr. Greg Stone, Conservation International; Jim Toomey, creator ‘Sherman’s Lagoon.’

On the evening of May 14th each winner will be presented with a Benchley ‘Mantas Award sculpture’ designed by famed marine artist Wyland.

For background information on the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards and other 2015 recipients visit or

Continue to follow the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage by visiting us online and joining our global movement towards a more sustainable Island Earth.

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