Education director Jone Porter receives prestigious annual award

uShaka Sea World education centre 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 in Port Elizabeth.

The symposium was attended by more than 400 marine scientists from around South Africa who share a collaborative commitment to marine science and communication.

Marine educator Zama Shandu and uShaka Sea World CEO Dr Larry Oellermann present Jone Porter with flowers in acknowledgement of her award. (Image: uShaka Sea World)

“Although Jone comes across as unassuming, she is a most worthy recipient of this prestigious award in recognition of 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.

Jone 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.

Not long after taking up a teaching post, Jone was appointed as an environmental education officer at the then Natal Parks Board (today Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife) responsible 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, Jone is responsible for educational activities at uShaka Marine World and ensuring that each learner, teacher and visitor leaves better informed about our precious marine world.

With an average of 800 000 visitors and more than 110 000 learners undertaking educational excursions to uShaka Sea World annually, Jone is constantly looking at new ways of conveying conservation and education messaging.

“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 who I have been fortunate enough to have worked with over the past three decades,” said Jone.

“uShaka Marine World has provided an ideal platform for me to share my passion for 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.” 

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