Dr. John Nightingale, CEO and president of Ocean Wise, was awarded the prestigious Humane Hero Award by American Humane, the United States’ first national humane organization, during a ceremony on Sept. 29 at the Beverly Hilton attended by leading animal advocates and animal-loving Hollywood stars. Nightingale received the award in recognition of his leadership in global ocean conservation efforts dedicated to creating a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing.

John Nightingale greets the AquaVan 150 team upon their arrival at Vancouver Aquarium.

As a professional biologist and public communicator with a background in marine biology, nonprofit management, education and ocean conservation, Dr. Nightingale helps millions of people to become aware, interested and active in preserving the world’s oceans.

John Nightingale (L) receives award from Michael Smith, Mayor of West Vancouver. Photo credit: Sarah Moldenhauer.

Throughout his 25-year career at the Vancouver Aquarium, and prior to that at the New York Wildlife Conservation Society/New York Aquarium, the Seattle Aquarium, the Maui Ocean Centre, and Bios Inc., Dr. Nightingale has spearheaded the development and delivery of some of the world’s most effective aquatic ecosystem science, interpretation and public engagement programs. He inspires children to become marine scientists, citizens to become volunteers, businesses to improve their sustainability practices, and governments to enact polices protecting marine mammals, fisheries, and marine ecosystems.

CEO John Nightingale in 2000 with Visitor Experience Director Karen Howe and long-time Aquarium volunteer Nikki Clouthier.

On World Oceans Day in 2017, he spearheaded the launch of Ocean Wise as a global conservation organization with diverse initiatives that include the Vancouver Aquarium, the first Canadian zoological institution to receive certification through the American Humane Conservation program; Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood Program; Plastic Wise; The Coastal Ocean Research Institute; The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup; and partner/operator of Europe’s largest Aquarium, Oceanogràfic in Valencia, Spain. For more than two decades he has guided the expansion of the organization’s leadership in conservation, education and research while focusing operations on sustainability and solid fiscal performance. As a result, the Vancouver Aquarium is perhaps the “greenest” cultural public institution in Canada.

“It is my great pleasure and honour to receive the American Humane Hero Award,” said Dr. Nightingale. “Having dedicated my life to conserving our natural world, I am heartened by the growing number of people and organizations who care enough about our planet to make positive daily changes. From protecting species at risk and developing marine protected areas to bringing awareness to the global ocean plastics issue, supporting choices towards sustainable seafood and influencing long-term policy to support a natural world where oceans are healthy and flourishing — I could not have asked for a greater calling. We have an enormous opportunity to be even better stewards of the environment, particularly at a time when our planet is being challenged in unprecedented ways. I am hopeful that we will continue to see progress as millions of people worldwide take bold steps to take action. Please join our movement and get involved at Ocean.org.”

CEO John Nightingale with Vancouver Aquarium officials and supporters cut the ribbon in front of the Aquarium’s new entrance on June 13, 2014 to unveil the most significant expansion in the organization’s 58-year history.

Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane, made note of Dr. Nightingale’s unwavering dedication to the conservation of aquatic life at a time when the world’s species are facing what scientists are terming a Sixth Mass Extinction. “For his outstanding work in helping protect and preserve the very cradle of life itself with all its vitally important creatures, American Humane, which has worked on behalf of the world’s animals for more than 140 years, is honored to recognize him with our Humane Hero Award.”

American Humane is the United State’s first national humane organization, founded in 1877. To learn more, please visit www.americanhumane.org.

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