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March 8, 2010 - The Wege Foundation and Aquinas College are pleased to announce the 14th Annual Wege Foundation speaker, Sylvia Earle, Ph.D., former chief scientist of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association, Earle is an Explorer-in-Residence of the National Geographic Society. Her lecture titled Without Blue There is No Green is on Monday, April 19, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., in the Aquinas College Performing Arts Center, 1703 Robinson Road SE. A reception will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

Earle and her family moved to Dunedin, Florida on the Gulf of Mexico when she was 13 where she began learning all she could about the wildlife of the Gulf, its coast and beyond. In 1970, she led the first all-female research team, Tekite II, Mission 6, sponsored by the Navy, Interior Department and NASA. The women lived 50 feet below the surface in a small structure for two weeks and were given a ticker-tape parade and White House reception when they returned.

Earle has taken scientific missions to the Galapagos, waters off Panama, China and the Bahamas and returned to the Indian Ocean. Along with numerous other expeditions, she made an open ocean JIM suit dive and set the women's depth record of 1250 feet. She walked untethered on the sea floor at a lower depth than any other human being before or after. Earle holds the women's record for a solo dive in a deep submersible (3280 feet, 1000m). These events barely touch on Earle's expeditions and research contributions to the scientific world.

An outspoken advocate of undersea research, Earle continually works to raise public awareness of the damage being done to our aquasphere by pollution and environmental erosion. Earle has led more than 400 expeditions worldwide involving over 7000 hours underwater. She is the author of over 170 publications concerning marine science and technology including adult and children's books as well as participating in numerous television productions, and given scientific, technical and general interest lectures in more than 70 countries. Earle and her husband founded Deep Ocean Engineering working with submergible designer Graham Hawkes. In 1992 Deep Ocean Exploration and Research was founded to further advance marine engineering.

In 1998, Earle was named Time magazine's first "Hero of the Planet." She has received more than 100 national and international honors and was awarded the 2009 TED (technology, entertainment, design) award for her proposal to establish a global network of marine protected areas.

A graduate of St. Petersburg College, Earle earned her master's degree from Florida State University and Ph.D. from Duke University. Along with her other honors, she has received 17 honorary degrees.

For information, call (616) 632-2845.