The Tenth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon 2018

Madison Toonder, from St Augustine, has been named “Blue Hatchling Youth Award” recipient during the 2018 Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Tenth Annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon presented by Manatee Lagoon.

As Florida’s preeminent ocean conservation awards event, the Luncheon brought together ocean heroes from around the world to meet and mingle, congratulate the recipients, and hear from Emmy award-winning television show host, conservationist and keynote speaker, Jeff Corwin. Over 700 conservation-minded notables gathered Friday, October 26 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, where guests were inspired with a message of hope for Florida’s ecosystems.

“When you’re saving sea turtles, you’re not only protecting your regional natural legacy and heritage, it’s a global contribution, and you’re embodying that whole ecosystem,” said Jeff Corwin at the Go Blue Sponsor’s Reception, hosted at the sea turtle hospital’s Juno Beach, Florida campus.

Jeff Corwin

Toonder’s accomplishments have placed her on Historic City News’ radar for some time. As a conservation-related scientific researcher, educator, environmental advocate and youth engagement advisor she has developed multiple research concepts in which she conducts studies in collaboration with Loggerhead Marinelife Center, the University of Florida, and the University of Miami.

Also recognized at the luncheon were the following award recipients including: The Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation (Blue Business), Anja Burns (Blue Ambassador), Jacquelyn Kingston (Blue Friend), and Madison Toonder (Blue Hatchling). The Eleanor Fletcher Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient is Dr. Charles A. Manire.

This year’s sold-out Luncheon was moved to the Kravis Center to accommodate a significant increase in interest and number of attendees.

“Ten years ago, when we formed the Go Blue Awards, we could not have imagined where we would be now,” said Lynne Wells, vice chair of the LMC Board of Directors, Capital Campaign Director, and co-founder of the Go Blue Awards Luncheon. “We have nominations from across the globe, have cultivated an elite independent panel of judges, and have grown to 700 attendees; even though the core mission has not changed — to recognize people who are working to protect and preserve our oceans and marine life.”

Lynne Wells

This is a special year for Loggerhead Marinelife Center, having recently celebrated its 35th birthday this August. The Center aims to break ground on an expansion allowing it to save more sea turtles, educate more guests, conduct more research and advance ocean conservation initiatives next year. They have raised 70% of the goal according to Wells.

“The Luncheon offers LMC a wonderful platform upon which we can recognize the exceptional efforts of ocean heroes from around the world while also taking the time to recognize the significant environmental and economic importance of Florida’s coastal ecosystems. We were humbled to welcome Jeff Corwin to Palm Beach County and thank him for his significant support of LMC,” said Jack E. Lighton, CEO of Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

Jack E. Leighton

The Center is also announcing that Jeff Corwin will be joining the Go Blue Awards distinguished independent panel of judges in 2019.

“Our Luncheon served as the perfect backdrop to celebrate all of LMC’s contributions and the important need we have to expand our impact through our Waves of Progress expansion campaign. Good people make bad decisions when they lack information. Our expansion campaign aims to provide even more world-class education and information, making our center a hub for ocean conservation excellence. Together we can make a difference,” Lighton added.

The Go Blue Awards were created to recognize individuals and businesses that directly or indirectly support LMC’s mission to promote conservation of ocean ecosystems with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles. © 2018 Tracey Benson Photography for Historic City News.

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