Milestones & Firsts

(above photo: Bald Eagle, Alaska. © Carl Safina)

Since 2003 we have used the power of scientific research, expeditions, social and traditional media and a television series on PBS to share our message with the world. Here’s a list of key awards, publications, honors and “firsts,” since our founding over a decade ago.


  • Beyond Words is released in paperback on July 12, 2016, and it is commissioned for translation in 11 languages. It hits #8 on The New York Times Best Sellers List in the “Animals” category.
  • “What are animals thinking and feeling,” Carl Safina’s TED Talk based on Beyond Words, is viewed more than 1,770,000 times.
  • The Safina Center welcomes two new Fellows: writer and photographer Hob Osterlund, and DJ and sound artist Ben Mirin.
  • Safina Center Fellow Hob Osterlund releases her first book, a memoir, titled Holy Moli: Albatross and Other Ancestors, on May 5, 2016.
  • Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin earns new titles: National Geographic Expeditions Council Grantee, Natural Sounds Recordist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Artist in Residence at the Wildlife Conservation Society at the Bronx Zoo and Member of The Explorer’s Club.
  • Safina Center Fellow Paul Greenberg is renamed as the Center’s “Writer in Residence.”
  • Paul Greenberg wraps up writing his coming book, The Omega Principle: A Journey to the Bottom of the Food Web, and finishes filming a related Frontline documentary.
  • Safina Center Fellow Shawn Heinrichs helps film and coordinate the first-ever televised public service campaign to reduce the consumption of shark fin soup in China.
  • Safina Center Fellow Ellen Prager ends her fellowship on a high note with the release of the third book in her Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians series, Stingray City, on May 1, 2016.
  • The Safina Center moves to its new home, a historic barn in Setauket, N.Y.


  • Carl Safina’s seventh book, Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel, released to rave reviews July 14, 2015. It is #2 on The New York Times Best Sellers List, “Animals” category, and #1 in Amazon’s Best, “Animals and Cognition” and “Animal Behavior” categories.
  • Excerpts and interviews from Beyond Words appear on PBS, NPR, The New York Times and in dozens of online magazines from TIME to National Geographic.
  • Beyond Words online and social media ad campaign reaches over six million people in the first three months after its release.
  • Safina Center Fellow, John Weller and his partner Shawn Heinrichs complete their film Guardians of Raja Ampat (Indonesia) and show it on a grand outdoor screen in 12 key villages—a huge success.
  • Safina Center Fellow Dr. Ellen Prager’s new book, The Shark Rider, is released on May 1st—the second book in her fiction series for middle grades, Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians. Great reviews and reader reaction.
  • Author and Safina Center Fellow Paul Greenberg’s best-selling book, American Catch: The Fight For Our Local Seafood, released in paperback, June 9, 2015.
  • American Catch is named a finalist for the Investigative Reporters and Editors Book Award.
  • Safina Center Fellows, Dr. Demian Chapman and Debra Abercrombie complete many Shark Fin ID Workshops in countries around the world including Hong Kong, Mainland China, India and South Africa.
  • Carl Safina teaches new course, “Conservation’s Three Rs: Reading, Writing, Raising Money” at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
  • Carl Safina, Senator Edward Markey, offshore drilling experts and scientists hold press conference in Washington DC to address lingering effects of the 2010 BP oil disaster.
  • The Safina Center doubles it’s followers on Facebook and Twitter, expanding our total reach by 90%.
  • Upgrades to both and boost web traffic and exposure.
  • Paul Greenberg’s American Catch Project completed many workshops in fishing communities around the U.S. thanks to funding from the Walton Family Foundation.
  • Carl Safina nominated for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize and Lilly Medal, a biennial prize in global wildlife conservation.
  • The Safina Center is nominated for Edible Long Island’s “Local Hero” Award in the nonprofit/advocate category.
  • Beyond Words is nominated for Carnegie Medal of Excellence, 2016.


  • Blue Ocean Institute changes its name to The Safina Center.
  • Carl Safina announced as a finalist for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize, a biennial prize in global wildlife conservation.
  • Safina Center Fellow, Paul Greenberg publishes his third book American Catch: The Fight For Our Local Seafood, to critical acclaim.
  • The Safina Center and Monterey Bay Aquarium expand their partnership and collaborate on sustainable seafood ratings creating consistency for Whole Foods Markets nationwide.
  • The Safina Center logo is now included in seafood counter signage in 370 Whole Foods Market stores in the US and Canada.
  • Safina Center Fellows, Paul Greenberg and Demian Chapman are both named Pew Fellows in Marine Conservation.
  • The Safina Center welcomes two new Fellows: writer, photographer and filmmaker John Weller, and marine scientist and author Dr. Ellen Prager.
  • Safina Center Fellow, Dr. Ellen Prager publishes The Shark Whisperer, her first book in a new fiction series for middle grades, Tristan Hunt and the Sea Guardians.
  • The Safina Center doubles its followers on Twitter.
  • Safina Center Fellows, Demian Chapman and Debra Abercrombie completed Shark Fin ID Workshops in many countries around the world including Fiji, South Africa and Hong Kong.
  • The Safina Center helps orchestrate Stony Brook University’s first ever Earth Day “Tweet-Up” honoring 3 Indianapolis Prize finalists (and SBU professors) Carl Safina, Russ Mittermeier and Patricia Wright.
  • Safina Center Fellow, John Weller and his partner Shawn Heinrichs complete their film “Guardians of Raja Ampat,” to inspire community-driven conservation in Indonesia.


  • Blue Ocean Institute celebrates its 10th Anniversary.
  • First full series of Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina broadcast on PBS to 90 million households in the U.S. and Canada. All episodes now available free at any time on
  • Carl Safina nominated for the 2014 Indianapolis Prize, a biennial prize in global wildlife conservation.
  • Carl Safina is lead scientist on the GYRE expedition to the southwest coast of Alaska and Aleutian Islands.
  • National Geographic premieres documentary video of GYRE expedition. Now available free at any time on
  • Over a quarter of a million visits to Blue Ocean Institute’s new website this year.
    Stony Brook University establishes the Carl Safina Endowed Research Professorship for Nature and Humanity, Long Island, NY.
  • Carl Safina interviewed by Alan Alda at Stony Brook Southampton. (Safina is co-chair of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science.)
  • Carl Safina receives an Honorary Doctorate from Drexel University.
  • Carl Safina is awarded the Inaugural Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Studies by Colby College.
  • Rutgers University presents Carl Safina with a Distinguished Alumni Award in Biology.
  • Safina wrote the foreword for “The Last Ocean, Antarctica’s Ross Sea Project” by John Weller, published by Rizzoli.
  • Blue Ocean Fellows, Demian Chapman & Debra Abercrombie hold Shark Fin Identification Workshops in Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, USA, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Egypt, Oman, Brazil and Fiji.
  • Blue Ocean Institute is recognized by Intelligent Philanthropy for our commitment to transparency.


  • Blue Ocean’s partnership with Whole Foods Market, plus media attention, help save harbor porpoises in New England waters.
  • Blue Ocean Fellows Program launched in November. First Fellows: author Paul Greenberg and shark experts, Dr. Demian Chapman and Debra Abercrombie.
  • The View from Lazy Point, A Natural Year in an Unnatural World wins 2012 Orion Magazine Book Award.
  • Six new episodes of “Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina” filmed to complete first year of the PBS series. Episodes premiere in October, 2012.
  • “The Sacred Island,” episode of “Saving the Ocean with Carl Safina” PBS series named finalist at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival, “Innovations and Solutions” category.
  • Carl Safina blogs for Huffington Post; begins blogging for National Geographic.
  • Blue Ocean Institute more than doubles its Facebook and Twitter audiences.
  • Blue Ocean Institute moves to Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
  • Blue Ocean Institute launches new and expanded website.
  • Blue Ocean releases comprehensive overview, “MERCURY: Sources in the Environment, Health Effects and Politics,” written by Sharon Guynup; intro and summary by Carl Safina.
  • A Sea in Flames: The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout named to Top Ten List by the Project on Government Oversight.
  • Carl Safina receives Ocean Hero Award from Diver magazine.
  • Research scientists Alan Duckworth and J.I. Peterson’s “Effects of seawater temperature and pH on the boring rates of the sponge Cliona celata in scallop shells” published in September issue of Marine Biology.
  • Carl Safina selected as “Long Island’s Man of the Year in Science” by the Times Beacon Record.


  • Safina’s fifth book –The View from Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World – published in January to rave reviews.
  • Safina profiled in the The New York Times.
  • Safina’s fifth book –The View from Lazy Point; A Natural Year in an Unnatural World – published in January to rave reviews.
  • Safina profiled in the The New York Times.
  • Safina’s sixth book – A Sea in Flames; The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout – published in April to excellent reviews.
  • Both books selected as The New York Times Book Review “Editor’s Choice.”
  • Safina is interviewed on PBS, NPR, in magazines from TIME to Rolling Stone, and on dozens of other stations.
  • FishPhone text messaging reaches its 100,000th query.
  • Safina wins James Beard Award for Journalism – Environment, Food Politics and Policy.
  • Safina and Duckworth invited to write “Fish Conservation” chapter in the Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, 2nd edition.
  • Safina nominated for the 2012 Indianapolis Prize.
  • Safina named among Twenty-Five Visionaries Who Are Changing the World by Utne Reader.
  • Safina writes “The 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Well Blowout: a Little Hindsight” published in PLoS Biology.
  • First 2 episodes of Saving the Ocean air on over 100 PBS TV stations across the U.S.


  • Safina’s first children’s book Nina Delmar and the Great Whale Rescue is published.
  • Safina testifies before Congress regarding the Gulf oil blowout.
  • Safina interviewed on The Colbert Report, MSNBC, CBS TV, PBS’ Need to Know, The Leonard Lopate Show (NPR), Globo News-Brazil, News 12 Long Island, Democracy Now,
  • CNN, and BBC Radio among many others.
  • Safina invited to give a talk at the TEDx Oil Spill Conference. His talk quickly moves to the main home page.
  • Special Oil Spill web section added to
  • FishPhone launches a new iPhone app and receives great media coverage.
  • Blue Ocean establishes partnership with Whole Foods Market to provide seafood rankings in stores.
  • Mercury in Fish Project launched in collaboration with The Gelfond Fund for Mercury Related Research & Outreach at Stony Brook University.
  • Safina becomes co-chair of steering committee for the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. The Center is an innovative collaboration between SBU’s Journalism School and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
  • Safina wins Sylvia Earle Award presented at the Blue Ocean Film Festival.
  • Safina wins Guggenheim Fellowship in Natural Sciences Science Writing.
  • Safina wins Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Wildlife Film Festival.
  • Blue Ocean establishes partnership with Google Ocean.
  • Safina writes “The Moral Climate” chapter in Moore and Nelson’s Moral Ground; Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril.


  • Safina’s “Darwinism Must Die Go So That Darwin May Live” published in The New York Times.
  • Hardt and Safina’s “Threatening Ocean Life from the Inside Out” published in Scientific American.
  • Next Wave’s Ocean Science Literacy Workshops raise awareness of the ocean and Google Earth technology for English Language Learning students.
  • Safina’s “A Future for U.S. Fisheries” published in Issues in Science and Technology. (President Barack Obama’s article was also in this journal.)
  • FishPhone receives a Best in Green award by Ideal Bite, a green-living website.
  • FishPhone receives major media coverage from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times to Bon Appetit, Gourmet, Condé Nast Traveler and Parade magazine (resulting in 4,000 queries in a single day.)
  • Green Chefs/Blue Ocean launched – online sustainable seafood course for chefs and culinary students.


  • Safina and Klinger’s “Collapse of Bluefin Tuna in the Western Atlantic” published in Conservation Biology.
  • Safina’s first book, Song for the Blue Ocean, named One of 12 Most Influential Environmental Books of All Time by Environmental Defense Fund.
  • Blue Ocean invited to establish science office at the School of Marine & Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University.
  • Blue Ocean distributes its 2.5 millionth ocean-friendly seafood guide.
  • Safina’s “Toward a Sea Ethic” published in The American Prospect’s Ocean & Coasts special report. (Candidate Barack Obama also contributed an article.)
  • Hardt and Safina’s “Carbon’s Burden on the World’s Oceans” published online at Yale Environment 360.


  • Blue Ocean forms the Friendship Collaborative with Ken Wilson, Senior Pastor of Vineyard Churches of Ann Arbor, MI, to further dialogue between scientists and evangelical Christian leaders.
  • Blue Ocean launches FishPhone, the nation’s first sustainable seafood text-messaging service, plus a downloadable seafood guide for cell phone and PDA users at
  • Safina’s article, “On the Wings of the Albatross”, with photographs by Frans Lanting featured in National Geographic magazine.
  • New television series, Saving the Ocean, developed for PBS by Safina and producer John Angier. Pilot segments filmed in Belize and Zanzibar.
  • Blue Ocean partners with Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences to collaborate on climate change research and science communication.


  • Safina’s third book, Voyage of the Turtle, is published to critical acclaim.
  • Voyage of the Turtle selected a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice.”
  • Safina gives invited talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos,
  • Switzerland on the status and future of fisheries and the oceans.
  • U.S. poet-laureate Billy Collins helps launch Blue Ocean’s Sea Stories literary project with his poem “Coastline.”
  • Safina awarded George B. Rabb Medal from Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo.
  • Safina addresses a conference convened by the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard and the National Association of Evangelicals to help create a conservation-oriented “Urgent Call to Action.”
  • Safina awarded Bianimale Foundation Fellowship.


  • Blue Ocean’s Hawaii-based Marine Ecology and Fishery Specialist, Eric Gilman, produces “Catch Fish, Not Turtles,” a booklet in several languages created to help fishermen avoid catching sea turtles while fishing.
  • Safina receives an Honorary Doctorate from State University of New York.
  • Safina and four co-authors’ “U.S. Ocean Fish Recovery;Staying the Course” published in Science Magazine.


  • Lee gives an invited talk at the World Bank, bringing global attention to ocean conservation and the importance of seafood sustainability as a food security concern.
  • Safina and Chasis’ “Saving the Oceans” published in Issues in Science and Technology.


  • Blue Ocean Institute launched by MacArthur fellow Dr. Carl Safina, and Mercédès Lee.
  • Brownstein, Lee, and Safina’s first fully transparent methodology for sustainable seafood ranking, “Harnessing Consumer Power for Ocean Conservation” published in Conservation Magazine.
  • Lee wins Renewable Natural Resources Foundation Outstanding Achievement Award for her book Seafood Lovers Almanac.
  • Partnership established between Blue Ocean and Atlantis Marine World Aquarium in Riverhead, Long Island, NY as the basis for a new education program.
  • Safina’s book Eye of the Albatross awarded John Burroughs Writer’s Medal.
  • National Academies of Science, Medicine, and Technology gives Safina its Communications Award for Eye of the Albatross, as Year’s Best Book forCommunicating Science.”
  • Safina writes the Foreword for a new edition of The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson.
  • Brownstein, Lee, and Safina’s “Harnessing Consumer Power for Ocean Conservation” published in Conservation in Practice.
  • Safina receives Rutgers University George H. Cook Distinguished Alumnus Award as Most Distinguished Alumnus in 50-year history of the Ecology and Evolution Graduate Program.