The Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences has announced the names of the four 2009 recipients of its prestigious NOGI Award. They are: Michele Hall, filmmaker/photographer/writer; Hillary Hauser, author and founder of Heal the Ocean; Paul Humann author/photographer/publisher; and Michael Lang, Director of the Smithsonian Marine Science Network.
The NOGI Award has been given annually since 1960. Its four categories — The Arts, Distinguished Service, Sports/Education and Science — recognize dive pioneers and leaders who have had a global impact on the exploration, enjoyment, safety and preservation of the underwater world.
Lucite statuettes crafted by underwater artist Wyland will be presented to the newest group of NOGI recipients at a gala held in Las Vegas on Thursday, November 18, 2010, during the Diving Equipment and Marketing Association's (DEMA) annual trade show. The banquet is open to the public.
Michele Hall, recipient of 2009's NOGI for The Arts, was a nurse for 19 years before joining her husband Howard in the "family business" of making underwater films. She is also an underwater photographer whose photos have appeared in numerous publications.
Since joining Howard Hall Productions, Michele has authored a child’s book, The Shark Project Book, and produced or co-produced seven one-hour natural history marine wildlife television documentary films.
In 1994, Michele was location manager for the first IMAX 3D underwater film Into The Deep. In 1998 she produced another IMAX film, Island of the Sharks, which was directed by her husband. In 2001 Michele was location manager and line producer for MacGillivray Freeman’s Coral Reef Adventure, an IMAX film released in 2003. Michele, Howard and their film crew also appeared in the film.
In 2006 Michele co-produced the IMAX feature Deep Sea 3D. It has become one of the five highest grossing 3D films ever produced by IMAX, grossing more than $81 million. In 2009, she co-produced Under the Sea 3D.
Hillary Hauser, recipient of the NOGI for Distinguished Service, has been working in, on, under, around and for the ocean for 40 plus years. She was once an editor of Skin Diver Magazine, has published six books about the sea and written many articles about underwater adventure for a variety of publications.
In August 1998, in response to the closure of local beaches because of pollution, Hillary wrote an editorial for the Santa Barbara News-Press, which resulted in a public demonstration that motivated her to form Heal the Ocean. The 3,000 member organization focuses on wastewater technology as it impacts the ocean, facilitating wastewater treatment plant upgrade and removal of septic tanks from creeks, marshes, bays and beaches. Heal the Ocean’s trailblazing work has helped coastal communities not only in Santa Barbara, but all over the world.
Paul Humann, recipient of the NOGI for Sports/Education, was working as a lawyer in the early 1960s when he took his first underwater pictures. In 1971, he became the owner of the Caribbean’s first dive live-aboard, the MV Cayman Diver. As its captain over the next eight years he was able to photograph, document and study the Caribbean’s coral reefs. His work established visual identification criteria for a variety of marine animals. Many of his pictures were the first ever published of living species in their natural habitat.
In 1988, Paul and Ned DeLoach formed New World Publications. They have published 14 books, including Reef Fish Identification, Reef Creature Identification and Reef Coral Identification - Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas.
In 1990, Paul and Ned co-founded the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, an organization of sport scuba divers that conducts underwater surveys to provide a continual flow of data monitoring marine wildlife populations. For their work with REEF Paul and Ned received the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force’s Outstanding Public Awareness and Education Award in 2006.
Michael A. Lang, recipient of the NOGI for Science, became director of the Smithsonian’s pan-institutional Scientific Diving Program in 1990. He served as Executive Officer for Scientific Programs (2001 – 2002) and has been Director of the Smithsonian Marine Science Network since 1998.
Lang came to the Smithsonian from San Diego State University (B.Sc. Zoology and postgraduate marine ecology) where he was a Staff Marine Biologist and Collections Curator from January 1982 – December 1989.
Lang has published more than 50 papers and received research awards from UC Sea Grant, Woods Hole Sea Grant, USC Sea Grant, NOAA, DEMA, AAUS, DAN, National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs and Division of Ocean Sciences. He has received numerous awards from professional organizations and been featured in Smithsonian Magazine and Smithsonian Channel's Spotlight on Science. He is quinquilingual, an internationally requested speaker, and publishes www.si.edu/marinescience, www.si.edu/dive and www.si.edu/ipy for the Office of the Under Secretary for Science.
The list of the 187 NOGI recipients reads like a Who's Who of Diving. It includes: Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his sons, Jean-Michel and Philippe; filmmakers James Cameron and Howard Hall; Brooks Institute founder, Ernie Brooks II; astronaut Scott Carpenter; actor Lloyd Bridges; scientists Sylvia Earle and Eugenie Clark; and the discoverer of the Titanic, Robert Ballard.
To find out more about them and learn how they earned a place in diving history, visit The Academy of Underwater Arts & Sciences’ website at: www.auas-nogi.org