Oceanographer, author, and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle describes herself, on her Facebook page, as “lover of all things deep and blue”.
Time Magazine has named her the first “Hero for the Planet”, while the Library of Congress describes her as a “Living Legend”.
And at the Aquarium of the Pacific recently, a middle-school student may have given her one of the best accolades of all.
Wide-eyed, the young girl asked a friend, “Are you serious? She’s coming here?”
Dr. Earle, former Chief Scientist of NOAA, National Geographic “Explorer in Residence” and founder of the global initiative Mission Blue, certainly was.
At the Aquarium for the kickoff of the nonprofit Wyland Foundation’s 2014 National “Water is Life” Mural and Art Challenge, Dr. Earle spoke to an assembly of local students about conservation and her goals for the future, through Mission Blue.
“We need to go to the deepest part of the ocean,” she said. “No one’s been there. We need to study the ocean, so we can take care of it.”
After her presentation, as the students prepared to paint ocean murals with environmental artist Wyland, Dr. Earle talked about her background, her experiences living undersea for two weeks as a pioneering female scientist in 1970 and her vision for Mission Blue.