SHAKA Sea World Education Centre's director Jone Porter was presented with the SANCOR Professional Marine and Coastal Communicator of the Year Award
2017 at the 16th Southern African Marine Science Symposium held in early July.
The symposium, held in Port Elizabeth, was attended by more than 400 marine scientists from around South Africa who share a collaborative commitment to marine science and communication.
“Although Porter comes across unassuming, she is a most worthy recipient of this prestigious award in recognition for her outstanding contribution to marine education. She is always willing to assist anyone who shows an interest in making a difference for the oceans,” said colleague Judy Mann-Lang.
Porter graduated from the University of Natal with Honours in Biological Sciences in 1983, completed her Higher Diploma in Education at the same university in 1984 and began her career as a biology teacher. Soon after beginning her career as a teacher she was appointed as an Environmental Education Officer at the then Natal Parks Board (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) and took responsibility for all aspects of environmental education and community conservation projects in what is now known as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
As director of uShaka Sea World Education, a position she has held since 2004, Porter is responsible for the educational activities of uShaka Marine World and ensuring that each learner, teacher and visitor has a wonderful educational experience. With an average of 800 000 visitors and over 110 000 learners a year undertaking educational excursions to uShaka Sea World, each moment in Porter's life counts.
“The honour of receiving this award is most humbling as I feel all my accomplishments are team efforts. I am motivated by the team of passionate marine educators and scientists I have been fortunate enough to have worked with over the past three decades,” said Porter.
She said uShaka Marine World has provided an ideal platform for her to share her passion for the conservation of the ocean and its diversity.
“Coming to work each morning and leading such a dynamic team of marine educators is not only an honour but a joy and a privilege,” she added.