For Immediate Release
Julie Pareles Blue Ocean Institute (516) 922-9500 x201 [email protected]
Jennifer Gregoire Lindblad Expeditions (212) 261-9008 [email protected]
(New York, NY – July 8, 2009) – A 17-year-old student who emigrated from Vietnam to California and actively supports conservation through volunteering at a non-profit coastal environmental education facility and a 16 year-old New Jersey student who started the first recycling program in her county were named recipients of the second annual Kalpana Chawla Ocean Journey Scholarship from Blue Ocean Institute and Lindblad Expeditions.
Khanh Nguyen of Lawndale, CA and Delphine Slotten of Mendham, NJ will embark on a Lindblad Expeditions’ voyage to the Galápagos Islands in July. Accompanied by skilled scientists, naturalists, and researchers, the Scholarship winners will explore the unique ecosystem of the Galápagos archipelago, observing and studying the distinct wildlife that calls it home.
The Kalpana Chawla Ocean Journey Scholarship was established by Blue Ocean Institute in conjunction with Lindblad Expeditions in 2007. It is named in honor of Kalpana Chawla, an astronaut who perished aboard the Columbia Space Shuttle in 2003. Her abiding love of the ocean and her interest in the work of Blue Ocean President and Co-Founder, Dr. Carl Safina, led her to bring Safina’s acclaimed book, Song for the Blue Ocean, on her final mission.
A year after her death, her family and friends established the Kalpana Chawla Spirit of Columbia Fund at Blue Ocean, which supports the Ocean Journey Scholarship. In honor of Chawla’s profound connection with the ocean and concern for its conservation, the scholarship is designed to introduce students who are passionate about the oceans to wonderful marine habitats they would otherwise not have the opportunity to visit.
“You can’t really become an expert unless you experience what you’re studying,” said Dr. Carl Safina, Co-Founder of Blue Ocean Institute. “For young people with dreams of entering the world of science, being in it for real is vital. With this scholarship, we are happy to give them this chance and to honor Kalpana’s adventurous, courageous spirit.”
“It’s a great pleasure to introduce young people to the world and the notion of exploration,” said Sven Lindblad, President and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions. “My own life was strongly influenced by a mentor who introduced me to the importance of conservation and I look forward to learning how this experience shapes the winners’ lives.”
Nguyen and Slotten will journey to the Galápagos island chain, which is located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in mid-July. In addition to observing the island’s famous inhabitants – blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, marine iguanas, tortoise, penguins and sea lions - they’ll also have an opportunity to swim, snorkel and hike through the land of Darwin.
Nguyen will begin her senior year at the California Academy of Mathematics and Science this fall. A nature lover who lives in urban Los Angeles, Nguyen volunteers at the SEA Lab, a small marine center in the area where she takes care of the marine life and gives tours of the facilities. In addition, Nguyen runs an environmental club on her school’s campus. Nguyen knows that the expedition to Galápagos will enable her to “reconnect with nature.” But, she is more excited because she believes this experience will “spark creative ideas to bring nature back to her community and to her city.”
Slotten recently completed 10th grade at the Newark Academy in Livingston, New Jersey. With an active interest in conservation, Slotten is actively involved in community service at a local nature preserve where she contributes to visitor education, cares for animals and conducts research on areas of the preserve. Slotten views the expedition as an opportunity to immerse herself in “a new facet of the natural world; interact with those who share similar interests and with naturalist who have made these subjects their profession and their passion.”
Throughout the voyage, Nguyen and Slotten will keep journals to record their daily observations, experiences, and personal thoughts. Samples of their writing will be posted on the Blue Ocean Institute website (www.blueocean.org) later this year.
About Kalpana Chawla
Kalpana Chawla was deeply committed to stewardship of the environment. She enjoyed hiking and bird- watching - enjoying the world’s natural wonders. In lieu of birthday gifts, she asked that family and friends donate to environmental organizations. She chose Carl Safina’s book as one of the few personal belongings to accompany her in space. While on that mission, in a personal email, she asserted that upon her return, she would meet Carl Safina and devote herself to conservation. The charred remains of Kalpana’s copy of Song for the Blue Ocean, supplied by NASA, are enshrined in the Blue Ocean Institute’s headquarters - a reminder that the power of passionate words can quite literally encircle Earth.
About Blue Ocean Institute
Founded in 2003 by MacArthur Fellow Dr. Carl Safina (www.carlsafina.org , www.carlsafina.wordpress.com) and Mercédès Lee, Blue Ocean Institute (www.blueocean.org) developed the first sustainable seafood guide (and made it scientifically transparent) as well as FishPhone (the nation’s only sustainable seafood text messaging service) and forged a significant, rapidly expanding sustainable seafood movement. Blue Ocean develops conservation solutions that enlighten personal choices, instill hope and inspire people to take action in a growing effort to restore living abundance in the ocean. Blue Ocean’s programs include From Sea to Table, Green Chefs, Blue Ocean, Beyond Warming, the Friendship Collaborative and scientific research. Blue Ocean’s youth education program, Next Wave, teaches students about the ocean in hands-on classroom workshops and boat tours with partner Atlantis Marine World in Riverhead. Safina is author of the award-winning Song for the Blue Ocean, Eye of the Albatross, and Voyage of the Turtle.
About Lindblad Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions is an expedition travel company providing voyages in the Galápagos, Antarctica, Baja California, Alaska, the Arctic, and beyond. Sven Lindblad has received international recognition, including the 2008 National Wildlife Federation’s Corporate Achievement Award, 2007 Global Tourism Business Award, 2007 Seafood Champion Award, U.N. Programme Global 500 Award, and recognition from HRH, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg for his dedication to the conservation and environmental stewardship of the Galápagos archipelago. He is also a member of the National Geographic Council of Advisors.Lindblad Expeditions has been named #1 Small-Ship Cruise Line (Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Value Awards 2006); “The Best Ships in the World” and “The Best Itineraries” (Condé Nast Traveler: Truth in Travel Awards 2008 and 2006).