The Safina Center
(formerly Blue Ocean Institute) 80 North Country Road Setauket, NY 11733 631-675-1984
(above photo: John Weller and Shawn Heinrichs filming in Raja Ampat. © Shawn Heinrichs)
John Weller is an acclaimed writer, photographer and filmmaker, and works to drive marine conservation around the world.
An impassioned observer of nature, he followed a path through the Colorado desert to the waters of the Antarctic. He started The Last Ocean Project with Antarctic ecologist David Ainley in 2004, and began working towards conservation of the Ross Sea, Antarctica – the last intact large marine ecosystem on Earth. After four trips to Antarctica, including three months of diving under the ice as a guest of the United States Antarctic Program, Weller compiled a library of Ross Sea photographs that has become the face of Antarctic conservation efforts worldwide.
John has worked closely with scientists, policy-makers, and conservation organizations invested in the Ross Sea, and he helped solidify the coalition of NGO’s fighting for Ross Sea protection. He also co-founded The Last Ocean Charitable Trust with David Ainley and New Zealand filmmaker Peter Young in 2007. John’s latest book, The Last Ocean, has received top reviews from The New York Times, Scientific American, and other publications. After more than a decade of work on this issue in collaboration with NGOs, national delegations from many nations, and scientists from around the globe, a Ross Sea marine protected area – the ultimate goal of The Last Ocean – is finally on the horizon.
Weller has also partnered with acclaimed cinematographer Shawn Heinrichs and an array of environmental organizations to conceive, create and deliver national-level media campaigns in support of marine conservation initiatives in many other crucially important regions of the world’s ocean. These campaigns have resulted in new shark and manta ray sanctuaries in the Bahamas and Micronesia, new marine protected areas in Indonesia, and new international law protecting manta rays. Weller’s upcoming film is the culmination of more than a dozen years of work on ocean conservation around the world.
Weller was named a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation in 2009, and has served as a Safina Center Fellow for the last three years. He continues to work in defense of the Ross Sea and for other important marine conservation measures alongside a team of close collaborators and his wife Cassandra Brooks.
Shawn Heinrichs is an Emmy Award winning cinematographer, photographer, and marine conservationist.
Shawn has worked with leading journalist and film teams including CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Yann Arthus Bertrand, and National Geographic, and delivered projects for many of the top marine conservation organizations including WildAid, Shark Savers, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and Pew Environment Group. His award-winning work has been featured with National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Huffington Post, Washington Post, WIRED and numerous other print and online publications. Shawn serves on the International Board of WildAid, is an Associate Director of Manta Trust, and an Associate Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP).
Key areas of Shawn’s conservation focus include ending the global slaughter of sharks, protecting manta and mobula rays, and establishing marine protected areas. He is a key member of team that has been creating marine protected areas in Raja Ampat, the heart of the Coral Triangle. As part of a special coalition, he is working to establish shark sanctuaries and shark fin legislation across the Pacific. Recent wins in Hawaii, Saipan, Guam and Micronesia attest to the importance of this endeavor. And as Project Lead for Manta Ray of Hope, the team executed a global campaign that played a decisive role in the inclusion of manta rays under CITES Appendix 2 and is now addressing manta protection in key range states.