Southern right whale by Brian Skerry from the Ocean Soul exhibition.
New Zealand (2007).
The North Atlantic right whale, the most endangered whale in U.S. waters, journeys south during winter to calve off Georgia and Florida from December through March. The area designated as critical habitat for them during this journey includes four major shipping ports, creating a high level of risk for ship/whale conflicts every day. Dr. James “Buddy” Powell will offer insight into the conservation challenges and solutions developed to reduce the likelihood of interactions and help conserve the species.
This special program is being offered to highlight the exhibition Ocean Soul, currently presented in the South Florida Museum’s East Gallery, which showcases the work of National Geographic underwater photographer Brian Skerry. The exhibition features images of the ocean environment and follows four key creatures whose gripping stories illustrate the health of the world’s oceans: sharks, right whales, leatherback turtles and harp seals. Creating an additional tie, Brian Skerry serves on the Board of Directors of Sea to Shore Alliance. Ocean Soul will be presented at the South Florida Museum through June 7.
Sea to Shore Alliance, through research, education, and conservation, works to improve the health and productivity of coastal environments for the endangered species and human livelihoods that depend on them.
Dr. James “Buddy” Powell
For more than 40 years Buddy has worked to conserve manatees and other endangered species around the world and his efforts have resulted in coastal protected areas in Florida, West Africa, Central America, and now Cuba. His approach integrates science and education to unlock solutions to conservation issues. In the 1970s Buddy worked for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a biologist and manatee specialist. In 1986, he moved to West Africa where he studied manatees and forest elephants for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and was pivotal in establishing several coastal protected areas. He and his wife, Maureen, moved to Belize in the 1990s where they managed WCS’s Glover’s Reef Marine Research Station. They then returned to Florida where Buddy administered Florida’s research program on marine mammals and sea turtles for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. In 2001, he became Vice President for Aquatic Programs at Wildlife Trust.
In 2008, Buddy co-founded Sea to Shore Alliance (Sea2Shore.org). The organization was created to form a partnership of scientists and citizen volunteers with the expertise, passion, and vision to help reverse the degradation of our aquatic coastal environment and loss of species and diversity. Buddy received his BSc. from the University of Florida, his MMA from the University of Washington, and his PhD from the University of Cambridge in England. He was the recipient of the prestigious Pew Award in Marine Conservation in 2000, has been featured on “Champions of the Wild” and National Geographic’s “Wild Chronicles” documentaries, and has been honored with multiple awards and certificates. Buddy has authored two books, numerous scientific publications, and popular articles.