Local business leaders bring the oceans to Scottsdale schools

Richard Reese of Hensel Phelps had a dream to bring Jean-Michel Cousteau to Arizona to talk to Arizona students about saving our oceans.

A local team of business executives joined Mr. Reese to make that dream a reality: Michelle De Blasi (Gammage & Burnham), Ben Barcon (ADM Group), Don Keuth (Phoenix Community Alliance), Kelly McCullough (Eight, Arizona PBS), Dr. Honora A. Norton (Rotary Club of Scottsdale) and Denise Brittain.

From left, Kelly McCullough, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Richard Reese, Michelle DeBlasi, Dr. Honora Norton, Don Keuth.

From left, Kelly McCullough, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Richard Reese, Michelle DeBlasi, Dr. Honora Norton, Don Keuth.

The local team’s oceans project took shape through generous sponsorships of Core Construction, Gammage & Burnham Attorneys at Law, ADM Group, Stone Cold Masonry, Urban Energy Solutions, Pueblo Mechanical & Controls, Wholesale Floors, Progressive Roofing, Gila River Indian Community, Dick and Bette Reese, Mr. & Mrs. Funderburk and Dr. Honora Norton and Michael Elert.

Jean Michel Cousteau through his family’s Ocean Futures Society, serves as Ocean Future’s spokesman. Jean-Michel is an impassioned diplomat for the environment, reaching out for more than four decades to the public through a variety of media.

Jean-Michel has dedicated himself and his vast experience to communicate to people of all nations and generations his love and concern for our water plan – he is an explorer, diver, environmentalist, educator and film producer.

Jean-Michel Cousteau and Ben Barcon.

Jean-Michel Cousteau and Ben Barcon.

Ocean Futures Society, a nonprofit marine conservation and education organization, serves as a “Voice for the Ocean” by communicating in all media the critical bond between people and the sea and the importance of wise environmental policy.

On Oct. 13, Jean-Michel arrived at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport and made his way to a reception at the Palomar Hotel to meet with the local oceans project team, guests, Arizona school district leaders, various city officials and donors.

The next morning, Jean Michel made his way to the local ASU Channel 8 KAET Arizona PBS Studios. Kelly McCullough and staff facilitated the two-hour filming of Jean-Michel’s talk, “The Sustainable Future: Preserve the Oceans, Protect Ourselves.”

Close to 300 students from varied school districts attended and toward end of program eagerly asked questions. The program will be available on-demand via KAET’s education network, ASSET.

The local team is encouraging Arizona schools to add oceanography/saving our oceans educational modules to its science programs.

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