IBRRC executive director Jay Holcomb was named Oceana’s Ocean Hero for 2010. Holcomb is currently leading IBRRC’s bird rescue effort in the Gulf, working alongside Tri-State Bird Rescue to care for wildlife caught in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The Ocean Heroes contest was created in 2009 to recognize individuals making a difference for the ocean, with winners announced on World Oceans Day. This year, Oceana also named a group of Junior Ocean Heroes, honoring The Shark Finatics from Green Chimney High School in New York.
“We are proud to honor these everyday people who are making a difference for the ocean,” says Oceana’s CEO Andrew Sharpless. “In light of the disaster in the Gulf and the state of the oceans worldwide, we need people like the Holcomb and the Finatics to continue their work and inspire others to get involved.”
Oceana’s 2010 Ocean Heroes contest was launched in March, when the general public was invited to submit nominations. Finalists were selected by a panel of experts from Oceana, and the public was invited to vote online to select the winners.
Holcomb is a lifelong California resident who has been passionate about the ocean since his childhood along the coast. He began his career at the Marin Humane Society and then helped found the rehabilitation program at the Marin Wildlife Center. He joined IBRRC in 1986 with 20 years of animal rehabilitation experience, and has responded to over 200 oil spills around the world, including the 1989 Exxon Valdez and the 1979 Gulf spills.
“It is particularly poignant that I have won this award in the midst of the greatest oil spill in U.S. history,” said Holcomb. “My career stems from a passion that has burned in me since I was a child. I have always approached my work as trying to change the world one bird at a time. My hope is that this award reminds people that whatever we can do personally to protect our ocean does make a difference, no matter how overwhelming the task may seem at times.”
Given his busy schedule on the ground in the Gulf, Holcomb has limited availability for interviews.
Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world’s oceans. Its teams of marine scientists, economist, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. More at oceana.org