2023 Marine Environmental Awards Luncheon

TITLE SPONSOR  Poarch Band of Creek Indians

Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2023  Contact: Angie Gaillard 251-307-5903

Time: Doors open at 11:00 am                                                 

Program Begins at 11:30 am

Place: Riverview Plaza Hotel – Bon Secour Ballroom

Tickets: $60 per person - $500 Table Sponor (8)

Reservations: Reservations are available by mail from the DISL Foundation office, by calling 251-307-5903, or

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Marine Environmental Awards Luncheon: The Dauphin Island Sea Lab Foundation will host the Eleventh Annual Marine Environmental Awards Luncheon on Wednesday October 25, 2023, from 11:30 am until 1:00 pm at the Riverview Plaza Hotel.  This will be a wonderful luncheon featuring Dr. Charlie Rolsky.  Awards will also be presented to John Shell and Downtown Mobile Alliance who have both made outstanding contributions to marine environmental sustainability in the Alabama Gulf Coast Region. 

Keynote Speaker:  

Our keynote speaker at our luncheon, on October 25, will be Dr. Charles “Charlie” Rolsky, the Executive Director and Senior Research Scientist for the prestigious Shaw Institute in Blue Hill, Maine. In his leadership role there, he continues to build on their strong reputation and legacy of researching links between environmental contamination and human health, which includes plastic pollution, PFAS chemicals, and other contaminants of concern.  

To empower this important research, he has forged partnerships with scientific, environmental, and educational institutions worldwide, including an ongoing collaboration with New York University, Harvard University, and Colby College to measure microplastics in human tissue and explore how these pollutants impact human health. He also has a strong focus on monitoring marine species as sentinels for environmental health, including marine mammals and birds. 

Charlie and his research have been featured on ABC News, BBC News, and PBS; and in the pages of The New York Times, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Forbes, Smithsonian Magazine and many other prestigious media outlets worldwide. He is particularly renowned for his studies that revealed that materials marketed as being biodegradable - such as contact lenses and detergent pods - are, in fact, anything but that. 

He received his master’s and PhD from Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, where he researched plastic pollution in marine and terrestrial ecosystems. As a postdoctoral research scholar in the Biodesign’s Center for Sustainable Macromolecular Materials and Manufacturing, he focused on green chemistry and sustainable materials science. He also serves as the Director of Science for Plastic Oceans International, as a member of the Science Advisory Board of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, and on the State of Maine’s PFAS Fund Scientific Advisory Committee. 

Finally, Charlie and his team are extremely passionate about citizen science and public outreach, with groups ranging from kids to lifelong learners. A teacher for over eight years, he continues his mentorship through a range of internship and educational opportunities at the Shaw Institute.

Gulf Coast Marine Environmental Excellence Award - Recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to marine environmental sustainability in the Alabama Gulf Coast Region is John ShellEagle Reef Project

Gulf Coast Marine Environmental Leadership Award - Recognizes an organization whose efforts have resulted in the improvement of marine environmental sustainability in the Alabama Gulf Coast Region. Downtown Mobile Alliance and Mobile BaykeeperPeace Out, Plastic Initiative 

John Shell

Alabama Aquarium Back Open!

The renovations are complete, and the Dauphin Island Sea Lab reopened the Alabama Aquarium on Monday, July 10, 2023. Doors opened once again after a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m.

The Alabama Aquarium first opened in March 1998. It is a popular attraction for residents and tourists. This renovation delivers an improved visitor experience, a refreshed interior, and a deeper connection to the research led by DISL faculty and students.

“We are thrilled to reopen our doors and welcome visitors back to the Alabama Aquarium,” said DISL Executive Director Dr. John Valentine. “Our goal has always been to provide an unparalleled experience that inspires visitors to care for and protect the ocean and its creatures, and we believe that the improvements we’ve made will help us achieve that goal.”

Visitors can purchase tickets online or at the door. The aquarium will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and visitors are encouraged to book their tickets in advance to avoid waiting in line.

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Fish swim in the Bay. Turtles lumber across the dunes to lay their eggs.  Dolphins jump and cavort as they feed in the gulf. Manatees graze on underwater grasses in the rivers.  The tie that binds all these together is the watershed in Alabama and the scientists that study them and teach at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. 

Marine science research and education is made possible by you.  Your gift supports the marine programs that teach children about the environment.  You are safeguarding the rivers, bays and oceans that we all love and cherish.  Through caring for the waters around us you are also protecting the planet.

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The Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) is Alabama’s marine science education and research laboratory. Located on the eastern tip of Dauphin Island, a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, the DISL is surrounded by Mobile Bay, Mississippi Sound and the waters of the Gulf, making it perfectly situated for a wide range of marine science activity. DISL’s mission encompasses marine science research, coastal zone management policy, K-12 education, professional development for teachers and educating the general public through the Alabama Aquarium, DISL’s public aquarium.

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We Educate

Our communities about its mission


We Fund

Special projects and endowments


Join Us

 Support this unique resource




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