Oceans in Focus
Honored to have these esteemed individuals in the fields of Art, Science, Conservation, Exploration,
Dive Medicine, and Scuba Diving as our Advisors.
WylandMarine Life Artist
Renowned marine life artist Wyland changed the way people think about our environment whe he started painting life-size whales on the sides of buildings in the 1980’s. Wyland always thought big. And he never stopped. Today, the Wyland name has become synonymous with the new generation of awareness about environmental conservation. His life-like his art-can find him anywhere around the world, at any time, from the Antarctic ice shelf on a photo expedition to document climate change to a grassroots journey down the Mississippi River on a mission of conservation.
The multi-faceted artist, scuba diver, educator, and explorer has hosted several television programs, including “,Wylands Ocean World” series on the Discovery channel’s Animal Planet Network, “Wyland: A Brush With Giants”, and “Wyland’s Art Studio,”a series for national public television. His mission of engaging people through nature-themed art and a more environmentally friendly lifestyle has led to strategic alliances with such notable organizations as the United States Olympic Team, United Nation Environment Programme, and Walt Disney Studios, to name a few.
Since 1993, the non-profit Wyland Foundation has set the standard for environmental outreach. In partnership with the United States Forest Service and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Wyland is actively engaged in teaching millions of students around the world to become caring, informed stewards of our ocean, rivers, lakes, estuaries, and wetlands. Please visit wyland.com to learn and see more.
Amos NachoumWildlife Photographer,
Big Animals Expeditions
Amos Nachoum is a master of photographing big animals and is an Expedition leader to remote locations worldwide. Amos’s photographic vision and expedition leadership is to raise awareness of the ocean giants in their natural habitats. His images and stories reflect respect and compassion for the endangered, threatened animals and wilderness. His photographs strive to dispel the myth of “dangerous”wildlife and his leadership expeditions is to share with other people first hand the joy of harmonious interactions between man and animal. Amos is an explorer. He leads wildlife photography expeditions with his company BigAnimals.com. He and his guests free dive with blue whales off the Eastern Pacific, scuba dive in the Okavango delta with crocodiles, and dives along with the great white shark, leopard seal in Antarctica, and polar bear and orca in the high Arctic. Since 1980, he has explored every significant body of water from the North Pole to Antarctica.
Amos’s photos and essays have appeared in publications including; National Geographic, Time, Life, The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Le Figaro, Terra Sauvage, Airone, Der Spiegel, Unterwasser, Explorer Journal, and Fifty Fathoms. His Photography won the Nikon contest. He is a two-time winner of the animal behavioral category of the BBC Wildlife photographer of the Year Award. In 2012 he placed first in the American Photography Artist competition.
Amos lives in Pacific Grove, CA, USA. He photographs with Nikon cameras, and Seacam housing and strobes
Tova Harel BornovskiPresident of the
Micronesian Shark Foundation
Tova Harel Bornovski is the founder and President of the Micronesian Shark Foundation, and general manager of Fish ‘N Fins and the Ocean Hunter fleet. Having travelled around the world, learned different languages and dived different oceans, she has developed an infinite appreciation of the ocean and its delicate ecosystems. She sailed from Florida to Palau with her husband, Navot, and two toddler children. The family settled in Palau in 1993 and had two more children. Tova has been an active board member of Belau Tourism Association for many years. Tova’s knowledge of six languages has been instrumental in marketing Palau in many countries around the world. She attended numerous trade shows, presentations and initiated many articles in prestigious magazines as well as TV shows.
Tova developed a deep love for the local culture, flora, and fauna. The realization of the mistreatment of sharks both locally and internationally as well as the lack of knowledge about many species led Tova to establish the Micronesian Shark Foundation in 2002. Via MSF, Tova initiated the first shark research in Palau in order to collect, distribute and analyze data that could be used for shark regional protection. Tova created the first shark count in Micronesia, where tour operators and volunteers count sharks and gather other information (species, gender, markings, depth, water temp. etc.), producing results regarding shark data and assisting with shark protection through government organizations. Through the collection of DNA samples, the documentation of illegal shark finning in Palau, and the development of the shark count data procedures, Tova gathered a significant compilation of data. School education in Palau and the Micronesian region has been in process since 2010 as well as pub lishing children shark books and drawing competitions.
Tova was inducted to the Women Scuba Diving Hall of Fame in 2013 in recognition of her shark work in Palau. Tova started her writing career as a journalist for a leading Israeli daily, had a short story published in a short stories collection and a genuine Palau cook book. Tova Partnered in the writing and publishing a recent book, Palau Diving Snorkeling Guide & that was published in December 2012.
Ocean Sciences Educator
Gwen K. Noda has been involved in science education, in both informal and formal settings, since 1998. She has taught marine science to pre-K students through college undergraduates on boats, in forests, in museums, and from inside an aquarium while scuba diving.
In addition to teaching students on a boat, she helped design lessons and train new volunteer teachers for UCLA’s “Cruising Classroom” program. She designed and taught a one week, standards based “World of Water” summer course for elementary students at the University of California’s Valentine Eastern Sierra Reserve. She helped high school teachers develop a Marine Biology course that teaches all the California science education standards so that it may be taught in lieu of the UC required Biology course. With COSEE-West, she planned, researched, designed, and taught at professional development workshops aimed at K-12 and informal educators. She recently finished writing sea level rise curriculum for high school students as part of a Whale Tail Grant.
Ms. Noda has a variety of field and laboratory research experiences in both fresh and marine ecosystems. She has led and participated in projects that have studied aspects of the behavior of tropical slugs, aggregating behavior of sea urchins, water quality of Santa Monica beaches, grunion populations, larval market squid in the California Bight, chlorophyll content and algal biomass of high altitude Sierra Lakes, invasive New Zealand mud snails in California, the distribution and abundance of jellies by utilizing collecting techniques and blue water diving and deep sea organisms as observed by a remotely operated vehicle.
She was trained as a scuba diver in UCLA’s program as a NAUI open water diver and scientific diver in 1997. She (finally) became a NAUI Dive Master in 2012. She has had the opportunity to dive for a variety of scientific projects as well as photographic ones. She recently served a couple of years as a dive technician and an assistant dive safety officer.
In addition to serving on the board of Oceans In Focus, she is serving as a board member for Ocean Sanctuaries and volunteers her time with the Los Angeles Waterkeeper and in a community quilting group.
Currently, she is the Program Manager for FLOW (Follow to Learn about the Ocean and Wetlands) the citizen science monitoring program of Amigos de Bolsa Chica.
Ms. Noda has a B.S. in Marine Biology and an M.A. in Biology, both from UCLA.