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Conservationist Carl Safina is Finalist for Prestigious Indianapolis Prize


Reflecting Stony Brook University’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Carl Safina, PhD, Founding President of the Safina Center, is a finalist for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation. On April 25, a feature news story about Dr. Safina’s work to protect marine species across the globe will air on Indianapolis’ WTHR-TV. He joins five other leading international animal conservationists who are in the running for the prestigious award, which will be selected in early May.

Carl Safina

Dr. Safina, the inaugural holder of the Carl Safina Endowed Research Chair for Nature and Humanity in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), is a world-renowned advocate for ocean conservation. He has become one of the most prominent international voices for the protection of marine life this century.

“Carl deeply cares about marine lives and the ocean environment,” said Minghua Zhang, PhD, Dean of Stony Brook’s SoMAS. “His research has raised awareness and changed people’s behaviors to protect the natural environment we all share. We are very proud of his work.”

Dr. Safina has pioneered innovative approaches to studying species ranging from reef coral to whales; led campaigns to ban high-seas drift nets; rewritten and overhauled U.S. federal fisheries law; applied international agreement to help restore depleted populations of tuna, swordfish and sharks; established a sustainable food program, bringing science-based criteria to consumers; and helped achieve passage of the United Nations Global Fisheries Treaty and the U.S. Sustainable Fisheries Act.

“Carl and the finalists for the Indianapolis Prize are heroes in many senses of the word,” said Michael Crowther, President and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, which administers the Indianapolis Prize as part of its core mission. “They’ve sacrificed their own self-interests to help others, and they’ve overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Our world is unquestionably better off because of heroes like Dr. Carl Safina, and we hope others will not only take notice of, but also join in his noble work to save wild things and wild places.”

The Society calls Dr. Safina a “crusader for the ocean and its creatures” who “works to effectively connect humans with marine species.” The result of his work and advocacy is “compelling conservation that inspires a wide audience to action.” “It’s a great honor to be in the finalists’ circle for this amazing award,” Dr. Safina said. “All the other finalists are equally deserving, doing crucial work to help make the case for life on earth.”

The five other Indianapolis Prize finalists are leading international conservationists and scientists helping to save the lives of various global marine and land species. 2016 is the 10th year anniversary of the Indianapolis Prize. The prize is awarded every other year. Stony Brook University’s Dr. Patricia Wright became the first woman to receive the prize in 2014. She won the award for her commitment to protecting Madagascar’s lemurs. Dr. Safina was also a finalist in 2010 and 2014. The winner of the Indianapolis Prize will receive an unrestricted $250,000 award.

Watch below as Carl Safina talks with Heidi Hutner, Director of Sustainability Studies at Stony Brook University.

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