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ConocoPhillips Lower 48 Philanthropic Program Receives Gulf Guardian Award For their Support to the Gulf of Mexico Foundation

Release Date: 09/03/2009
Contact Information: Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced that ConocoPhillips Lower 48 Philanthropic Program of Houston, Texas will receive a first place Gulf Guardian Award for 2009 in the Business Category. The 2009 Gulf Guardians hold a special significance this year as they will be awarded on the 10th Anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico Program’s Gulf Guardian Awards Program! (2000-2009). The ceremony will be held on the evening of October 29, 2009, beginning at approximately 6 p.m in the Magnolia Ballroom at the Beau Rivage Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Awards ceremony is being held in conjunction with the Oceans `09 International Conference.

The Gulf of Mexico Foundation’s (GMF) Down Under Out Yonder (DUOY) program introduces teachers to the ecology of coastal habitats and coral reefs. Teachers from around the U.S. join to explore the coastal and coral reef habitats of the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. In partnership with the NOAA Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary the GMF hosted the coral reef program for the 14th year and with its funding partner, ConocoPhillips Lower 48 Philanthropic Program, initiated the first Teachers' Intracoastal Waterway Expedition. Teachers from 10 different states participated in these live-aboard boat based expeditions in 2009.

The DUOY program has been in effect for 14 years, and for three of them, ConocoPhillips Lower 48 Philanthropic Program has been its primary sponsor. They sponsored the inaugural year of the new Intracoastal Waterway Expedition and taught segments of the curriculum dealing with natural resources and wetlands. In the 14 years of the DUOY program, over 250 educators have gone through the program. The Intracoastal Waterway Expedition was a great success. The cruises were on-board the M/V Fling, a 118-foot live-aboard vessel. The objectives these programs are to leave educators with the means to actively involve their students in the learning process, to expose them to coastal ecology, and to share personal experiences about working and living in coastal communities.

The Gulf of Mexico Program initiated the Gulf Guardian awards in 2000 as a way to recognize and honor the businesses, community groups, individuals, and agencies that are taking positive steps to keep the Gulf healthy, beautiful and productive. A first, second, and third place award are given each year in seven categories individual, business, youth and education, nonprofit organizations, government, partnership and bi-national efforts.

“The Gulf Guardian Awards recognize the positive efforts to protect the important natural resources the Gulf of Mexico holds. The Gulf provides critical habitat for wildlife, recreation and commerce for humans, protection for inland communities, and so much more”, said Acting Regional Administrator Lawrence Starfield, of U.S. EPA Region 6. “By preserving this vital resource, this year's winners are gaining benefits for all Americans.”

The Gulf of Mexico Program began in 1988 to protect, restore, and maintain the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in economically sustainable ways. The Gulf of Mexico Program is underwritten by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is a non-regulatory, inclusive consortium of state and federal government agencies and representatives of the business and agricultural community, fishing industry, scientists, environmentalists, and community leaders from all five Gulf States. The Gulf Program seeks to improve the environmental health of the Gulf in concert with economic development.

Bryon Griffith, Director of the Gulf of Mexico Program said, “The Gulf Guardian Awards Program is in its 10th year of honoring citizens, governments and businesses throughout the 5 State Gulf Region for outstanding environmental achievements. Our 2009 award winners are truly an inspiration and exemplify the high quality of projects being done that generate as much excitement and pride as the award winners did in the beginning. With the addition of the Binational Gulf Guardian award in 2005, we now appropriately pay tribute to the bond we share in protecting this treasured resource with our southern neighbors and friends.”

For a list of all the Gulf Guardian Award winners for 2009, visit the Gulf of Mexico Program web site at and click on the Gulf Guardian Award button.

Editor’s Note: For more information about the Gulf Guardian Awards and the Gulf of Mexico Program, call the Gulf of Mexico Program Office at 228-688-3726 or visit our web site at