The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has announced that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Capitol Hill Ocean Week policy conference usually held in Washington, DC, will be virtual in 2020. The conference will take place on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020.
The continued spread of the coronavirus challenged the NMSF to find an innovative way to continue the programming expected from CHOW.
According to NMSF President and CEO Kris Sarri:
“Our thoughts are with all those who are sick from the virus and who are experiencing the economic hardship from the pandemic. We are grateful to all the essential workers from doctors and nurses to farmer workers, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers, sanitation workers and many, many more who are keeping us safe and providing critical services to all of us.”
CapitolHillOceanWeek.org will be the online portal into insightful discussions on how to conserve biodiversity and build a sustainable global economy that protects nature, which is critical to people’s health and well-being. The ocean contains a multitude of wonders yet to be discovered, including potentially life-saving cures. The possibilities of new vaccines and medical therapies underscores the importance of conserving and protecting biodiversity in these largely unexplored ecosystems.
Under the new virtual format, CHOW will offer a full day of activities, including plenaries and concurrent breakout sessions on how science and technology are advancing our understanding of the marine environment, the role of protected areas in conserving biodiversity, and how to engage people as stewards. CHOW will showcase the amazing work of ocean and Great Lakes partners through a virtual exhibit hall, and are planning a social gathering through a virtual closing happy hour.
As part of this year’s changes, the Foundation will not hold the Ocean Awards Gala in June as planned. The gala, held in conjunction with CHOW, recognizes champions whose commitment to ocean and Great Lakes stewardship instills optimism in all of us working to protect our blue planet. The Foundation said it will create new ways to engage and celebrate ocean and Great Lakes champions this year with more details to come in the near future.