Ocean Hero Finalists: Zach Rome - Oceana USA
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May 10, 2011

Ocean Hero Finalists: Zach Rome

This is the first in a series of posts about this year’s Ocean Hero finalists.

Starting today, I’ll be highlighting each of this year’s Ocean Hero finalists on the blog, since their stories deserve more space than what fits in the voting boxes at oceana.org/heroes.

First up we have Zach Rome, whose love for the oceans began at age 11, when his grandfather took him scuba diving in the Florida Keys. He was hooked, and spent subsequent summer vacations scuba diving around the world, climbing the scuba certification ladder.

He went on to study marine biology at the University of Miami, where he learned just how important and fragile the oceans are. He decided that after graduation, he would devote himself to passing on that knowledge.

After spending a few years working as a scuba instructor and middle school science teacher, he founded The Schooba Academy, a nonprofit organization based in Brooklyn, NY that teaches students from low-income communities about science through scuba diving.

The Schooba Academy’s curriculum, which follows national science education standards, provides low-income students with private science tutoring, scuba training, and weekend field trip expeditions. The best part? It’s all free of cost for the students.

Zach wrote via e-mail, “By educating and engaging young people in understanding and appreciating their world, we attack the root problem behind the destruction of the oceans – that people don’t understand them! Our focus on underprivileged youth allows us to reach a population that has little exposure to and investment in taking care of their water.”

Have you voted yet? Check out the other finalists, cast your vote and spread the word! And stay tuned for more spotlighted finalists in the coming days!

Special thanks to the sponsors of the Ocean Heroes Award for making all of this possible: Nautica, Revo and For Cod & Country, the new book by chef and National  Geographic fellow Barton Seaver.