By Angel Braestrup — Chair, TOF Board of Advisors

In early March 2012, The Ocean Foundation Board of Directors held its spring meeting. As President Mark Spalding presented his summary of TOF’s recent activities, I found myself marveling at the willingness of our Board of Advisors to play a role in ensuring that this organization is as robust and helpful to the ocean conservation community as it can be.

The Board approved a significant expansion of the Board of Advisors at its meeting last fall.   Recently, we introduced the first 10 new members.  Today we are introducing an additional five dedicated individuals who have agreed to formally join The Ocean Foundation in this special way.  Members of the Board of Advisors agree to share their expertise on an as needed basis.  They also agree to read The Ocean Foundation’s blogs and visit the website to help us ensure that we remain accurate and timely in our sharing of information.  They join the committed donors, project and program leaders, volunteers, and grantees who make up the community that is The Ocean Foundation.

Our advisors are a widely traveled, experienced, and deeply thoughtful group of people.  We cannot be grateful enough to them, for their contributions to the well-being of our planet and its people, as well as to The Ocean Foundation.

Carlos de Paco, Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC. Carlos de Paco has over 20 years experience in resources mobilization, strategic partnerships, environmental policy and natural resources management. Prior to joining the IADB, he had been based in San Jose, Costa Rica and Mallorca, Spain working for the AVINA Foundation-VIVA Group on leadership initiatives for sustainable development and was the Regional Representative for Latin America and the Mediterranean on coastal, marine and freshwater initiatives. Earlier in his career, Mr. de Paco worked for the Spanish Institute of Oceanography in fisheries management and aquaculture.  In 1992, he left the National Parks Foundation in Costa Rica to become the Regional Director for the IUCN’s Mesoamerican Marine Program. He later joined The Nature Conservancy as Country Director for Costa Rica and Panama and as advisor to the international marine and coastal program.

Hiromi Matsubara

Hiromi Matsubara, Surfrider Japan

Hiromi Matsubara, Surfrider Japan, Chiba, Japan would tell you she is just an ordinary surfer who has the passion for the ocean.  Her first engagement with the ocean started when she got her diver’s license at age 16. She then moved on to Sophia University in Tokyo, where she began surfing and competed in windsurfing races at the national level.  After graduation, she joined GE Capital, where she held various positions in commercial financing sales, marketing, public relations and community programs. After 5 years in the competitive, goal-driven business world, she came across the concept and philosophy of permaculture and was intrigued by such sustainable living practices. Hiromi left her job and in 2006 co-created “”, a web-zine based in Tokyo dedicated to designing a sustainable society with optimism and creativity with its unique editorial perspective. After four years, she decided to pursue a more down-to-earth lifestyle (and more surfing!) and moved to a beach town in Chiba to live a simple life. Hiromi currently serves as CEO of Surfrider Foundation Japan to protect and promote the enjoyment of our oceans, waves and beaches.

Craig Quirolo

Craig Quirolo, Founder, REEF RELIEF

Craig Quirolo, Independent Consultant, Florida. An accomplished blue water sailor, Craig is the retired co-founder of REEF RELIEF, which he led for 22 years until his retirement in 2009. Craig was the Director of Marine Projects and International Programs for the organization.  He led the effort to create REEF RELIEF’s Reef Mooring Buoy Program patterned after the design by Harold Hudson and John Halas.  The 116 buoys were placed at seven Key West-area coral reefs, eventually becoming the largest private mooring field in the world. It is now part of the federal Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Craig trained local teams to install reef mooring buoys to protect the coral reefs of Negril, Jamaica, Guanaja, Bay Islands, Honduras, the Dry Tortugas and Green Turtle Cay in the Bahamas. Each installation became the first step in the creation of a comprehensive grassroots coral reef conservation program including educational programs, scientific monitoring and support for the creation of marine-protected areas.  Craig’s pioneering work has underpinned the gaps in scientific knowledge and practical solutions that need to be filled wherever we strive to protect our ocean resources.

DeeVon Quirolo

DeeVon Quirolo, Immediate Past Executive Director, REEF RELIEF

DeeVon Quirolo, Independent Consultant, Florida.  DeeVon Quirolois the retired co-founder and immediate past Executive Director of REEF RELIEF, a Key West-based non-profit grassroots membership organization dedicated to “Preserve and Protect Coral Reef Ecosystems through local, regional and global efforts.”   In 1986, DeeVon, her husband Craig, and a group of local boaters founded REEF RELIEF to install mooring buoys to protect the Florida Keys coral reefs from anchor damage.  DeeVon has been a dedicated educator, and a relentless advocate on behalf of healthy coastal waters, especially in the Keys.  From promoting better and safer boating practices to establishing the Keys marine protected area, DeeVon has traveled to Tallahassee, Washington, and anywhere she needed to go to pursue her vision for protecting and restoring the fourth largest reef system in the world.  DeeVon’s expertise continues to inform, and her legacy will benefit future generations of Keys residents and visitors—under the water and on shore.

Sergio de Mello e Souza (Left) with Hiromi Matsubara, Surfrider Japan (Center) and Mark J. Spalding, The Ocean Foundation (Right)

Sergio de Mello e Souza, Brasil1 (Left) with Hiromi Matsubara, Surfrider Japan (Center) and Mark J. Spalding, The Ocean Foundation (Right)

Sergio de Mello e Souza, BRASIL1, Rio de Janeiro Brazil. Sergio Mello is an entrepreneur who uses his leadership skills to promote sustainability. He is the founder and COO of BRASIL1, a company based in Rio de Janeiro that organizes special events in the areas of sports and entertainment.   Prior to founding BRASIL1, he was the Operations Director for Clear Channel Entertainment in Brazil. Early in his career, Sergio worked for the State Tourism Commission and helped develop an ecologically friendly approach for the industry.  Since 1988, Sergio has participated in many non-profit organization projects, including a research program for the Atlantic Rainforest and later an educational campaign in the northeast of Brazil to stop the slaughter of dolphins and to protect manatees. He also organized campaigns and special events for the Rio 92 Eco-Conference. He joined the Surfrider Foundation Board of Directors in 2008, and has been an active supporter of the organization since 2002 in Brazil. He is also a member of the The Climate Reality Project.  He has, since an early age, been consistently involved in initiatives and projects to protect the environment.  Sergio lives with his wife Natalia in beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.