EPA names ARK ‘Gulf Guardian’
The Ånimal Rehabilitation Keep (ARK) at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas has been awarded a Gulf Guardian Award for 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency has announced.
“ We’re very proud and pleased,” ARK director Tony Amos said of the award. “The award goes not to me, but to the ARK’s staff and volunteer workers.”
The award comes in the civic/nonprofit category. An awards ceremony will be held in conjunction with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance meeting in New Orleans on Aug. 3, according to a news release.
Amos said he was not told of any money attached to the award – unfortunately, he said, since the ARK is a nonprofit organization financed largely through donations.
The Environmental Protection Agency started the Gulf of Mexico Program in 1988 as a way to collaborate in protecting, maintaining and restoring the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico, according to the program’s Web site.
In turn, the Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. First, second and third place awards are given in seven categories: Individual, business, youth environmental education, civic/nonprofit organizations, cultural diversity/ environmental justice, partnership and bi-national efforts.
The ARK’s mission is to rescue, rehabilitate and release injured and sick wildlife in the Coastal Bend. Since the early 1980’s, the ARK has admitted thousands of birds and sea turtles, hundreds of terrestrial turtles, tortoises, and small mammals and dozens of marine mammals. They maintain detailed records of the animals treated as well as those found deceased. ARK is operated largely by volunteers, utilities supplied by the Marine Science Institute and donations from the public. The ARK is the only entity of its kind in the area that rescues animals of all types from baby sparrows to 200-pound sea turtles.