On February 7, the Seattle Aquarium conferred its top awards to Congressman Norm Dicks and oceanographer Richard Feely during its annual Chairman’s Dinner.
“Congressman Dicks and Dr. Feely have worked the front lines of politics and research to preserve our shorelines here in Washington State,” said Bob Davidson, the Aquarium’s president and CEO. “They see the big picture, and understand how small elements affect it.”
Congressman Dicks, who received the 2013 Seattle Aquarium Medal, represented Washington’s 6th District, including the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas, from 1977 January of 2013. He has been a leader in restoring salmon habitat and fought to secure tens of millions of dollars for the cleanup of Puget Sound and Hood Canal. He increased support for research and remediation work on estuaries by the Environmental Protection Agency, and over the course of three decades wrote legislation to preserve wilderness areas and funding for other public lands.
Dr. Feely received the Aquarium’s 2013 Conservation Research Award. As a chemical oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, he’s done substantial research on the effects of carbon dioxide on marine ecosystems. In the summer of 2012, he began testing equipment to measure ocean acidification in the waters outside the Seattle Aquarium. That equipment will eventually be taken thousands of miles into the Pacific to gauge acidification in the open ocean. His work in this arena has garnered international attention.
Aquarium board member Mary L. Bass was also honored at the Chairman’s dinner, with a surprise presentation of the Scott S. Patrick Inspirational Award, named for the late Aquarium board member and Seattle Seahawks executive who served with extraordinary passion. Bass, a vice president with Wells Fargo whose Aquarium leadership helped build its board of directors and sharply expand its fundraising programs, spent her childhood summers on the waters and beaches of Camano Island. She has been a tireless and inspirational proponent of the Aquarium for the past decade as well as a leader for volunteerism in the broader community.