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UNCW Alum Joe Oliver, Coral Vita Team Win Earthshot Award

Friday, November 05, 2021

UNCW alum Joe Oliver ’06 and his teammates at Coral Vita have received a $1.3 million Earthshot Prize for their work to revitalize coral reefs. The prestigious global environment award was presented by the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in October. 

Coral Vita restores reefs by growing and transplanting resilient corals. Oliver, a former UNCW MarineQuest staff member who also earned his bachelor’s degree in marine biology, serves as the director of restoration operations at its coral farm in the Grand Bahamas.

The Earthshot Prize is designed to incentivize change and help repair the planet over the next decade. Winners were announced during an inaugural awards ceremony in London on Oct. 17 and were selected for their innovative solutions to environmental challenges in the categories of “Protect and Restore Nature,” “Clean Our Air,” Revive Our Oceans,” “Build a Waste-Free World,” and “Fix Our Climate.”

In a recent WECT story, UNCW alum’s work to revitalize coral reefs earns him prestigious Earthshot Prize, Oliver discussed the impact UNCW’s MarineQuest program had on his choice of a career path.

“I went to UNCW’s Marine Quest when I was a kid, when I was 10 to 12,” he said. “I knew I wanted to go into marine biology before that but that sort of sealed the deal and then I went to UNCW as a student.”

“The entire MarineQuest family was immensely proud to learn that Joe, as part of the Cora Vita team, had won this award,” said Youth Programs Director Sue Kezios. “Joe epitomizes MarineQuest’s mission to provide young people with opportunities to explore, discover and value our marine habitats, while encouraging them to develop into environmentally responsible adults. Joe was a camper, a sea scout, a volunteer, a camp counselor and eventually, a lead instructor. Now, he’ll be an inspiration to a whole new generation of MarineQuester!”

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