Where Are They Now?: Ocean Hero Jay Holcomb - Oceana USA
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April 7, 2011

Where Are They Now?: Ocean Hero Jay Holcomb

We are now accepting nominations for our third annual Ocean Heroes Contest! Throughout the nomination period, which ends April 27, I’ll be featuring a few of the past winners and finalists to get you inspired. Last week I updated you on last year’s Junior Ocean Heroes, the Shark Finatics. Today we’re catching up with the 2010 Adult Ocean Hero, Jay Holcomb.

Jay Holcomb garnered the most votes in the Adult category last year for his quarter-century of work rehabilitating oiled seabirds around the world with the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC). In fact, when we announced his big win, Jay was on the Gulf Coast leading the effort to clean up oiled birds from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Since then, the organization has re-grouped. They are still rescuing birds on a daily basis from their home base in California, but Jay’s role has changed. He has stepped down as executive director and colleague Paul Kelway has stepped up. Jay is now the Director Emeritus, which gives him more time to focus on his passion: saving birds.

This month also marks a lot of milestones for Jay and his team. April 20, in addition to being the one-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, is also the organization’s 40th birthday. The group, which was incorporated in 1971 during an oil spill in the San Francisco Bay, is using the anniversary as an opportunity to refocus and re-brand — the organization is transitioning to a new, snappier name: International Bird Rescue.

And there’s more: an HBO documentary is also coming out this month featuring Jay’s work. “Saving Pelican 895” tells the story of the rescue of a Brown Pelican “LA 895,” one of the many oiled bird victims of the 2010 BP Gulf oil spill, cared for by IBRRC. The film features interviews with IBRRC staff and follows the pelican from capture to treatment to its relase back to the wild.

Plus, Jay is celebrating his 60th birthday this month. A very happy birthday to IBRRC and Jay, And here’s to many more!

Inspired? Now tell us about the ocean heroes you know – we are hungry for your stories!

You can follow IBRRC on twitter at http://twitter.com//ibrrc and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ibrrc