Inspiring the next generation of conservationists has always been a priority for the heroic men and women of the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation.
One of this year’s Finalists is legendary oceanographer, Dr. Sylvia Earle. A trailblazer for marine habitats and species, she and her team at Mission Blue have united a global coalition to influence an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a network of protected areas known as “Hope Spots.”
Her love of the ocean began at a young age, much like 16-year-old Brooke Huben, who has found inspiration in Sylvia’s story.
“My parents tell me ever since I could imagine a future for myself it has always included the ocean,” said Brooke, whose first experience of the ocean was California’s coastline, complete with sea lions on the shore, a friendly sea turtle under her kayak and a pod of dolphins.
From that moment, her passion for the ocean only grew, and with it, her knowledge of Sylvia’s work.
“Sylvia Earle’s name was on so many headlines,” Brooke said. “I first truly found out about her through a project at school about the Aquarius, an underwater lab. I was amazed that she spent days submerged under the water just looking out at the world that was holding so many secrets. After that I couldn’t stop reading about the amazing things she has done.”
The Wisconsin native saved funds from her summer job to have the chance to meet her hero at the Indianapolis Prize Gala and related events.
“Even just being in the same room as her overflowed me with awe; I can’t even put into words how I felt and feel.” Brooke said. “She has inspired me to follow my dream and to do everything in my power to change this world and inspire others to do the same.”
With a dream to explore the ocean and spread awareness to those who don’t know the challenges ecosystems are facing, Brooke hopes to be a leader for those her age. She has been in the process of creating an environmental club at her school and said the Prize events not only gave her ideas, but inspired a name — Team Earth.