National Wilderness Conference Keynote Speaker: Sylvia Earle, oceanographer

Sylvia Earle is an American oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer. She served as Chief Scientist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) from 1990 to 1992.

Earle was a leader of the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, council chair for the Harte Research Institute for the Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and chair of the Advisory Council for the Ocean in Google Earth. She founded three companies, among them DOER Marine (Deep Ocean Exploration and Research) in Alameda, California.

Her special focus is developing a global network of areas on the land and in the ocean to safeguard living systems that provide the underpinnings of global processes, from maintaining biodiversity and yielding basic life support services, to providing stability and resiliency in response to accelerating climate change. Besides arousing greater public interest in the sea, she is raising public awareness of the damage being done to our aquasphere by pollution and environmental degradation.

Today, Earle is the Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society. More recently, she led the Google Ocean Advisory Council, a team of 30 marine scientists providing content and scientific oversight for the "Ocean in Google Earth." To date, she has led over 70 expeditions, logging more than 6,500 hours underwater. Among the more than 100 national and international honors she has received is the 2009 "TED Prize" for her proposal to establish a global network of marine protected areas. She calls these marine preserves "hope spots...to save and restore...the blue heart of the planet.

Earle will be speaking at the National Wilderness Conference on Thursday, October 16th as part of the following: American Indian Welcome and Blessing from Sandia Pueblo (invited) and Wilderness Today; Wilderness Tomorrow with keynote speakers Jesse DesRosier, Vet Voice Foundation; Chris Barns, Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center; Sylvia Earle, oceanographer