In the environmental movement, there are many unsung heroes, people who work to make the world a better, safer and healthier place without any desire for recognition or reward. Still it's a great thing when a big environmental organization like Oceana makes an effort to seek out those local heroes, help fund their efforts and inspire others to get involved through their example.

Right now, Oceana is running the 2011 Ocean Hero nominations through the end of the month. You can nominate individuals or groups in either the youth or adult categories. Last year, the Shark Finatics, a school group from upstate New York, won the youth category for fundraising efforts to ban shark fin hunting. And Jay Holcomb won the Ocean Award for leading efforts by the IBRRC (International Bird Rescue Research Center) to save birds threatened by the Gulf oil spill.

The prizes are pretty small compared to the efforts made by the winners, but the awards do represent an opportunity to bring attention to the causes that these ocean heroes care about so deeply.

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