The last few weeks have certainly been busy for the Ocean in Google Earth team. On May 28 in Santa Monica, CA, Heal the Bay held their Bring Back the Beach 2009 fundraiser, supporting work to improve water quality and do beach health monitoring across California. This year, Heal the Bay wanted to celebrate with the theme “A Sea of Possibilities” to recognize those whose thoughts, words, and actions demonstrate the powerful impact of seizing tremendous opportunities for positive change. The Ocean in Google Earth team was honored to be receiving the "Walk the Talk Award" and hope this inspires even more people to use the Ocean in Google Earth to learn about the issues that face this part of our planet. Barry Gribbon, CEO of Homerun Entertainment, produced this great Ocean in Google Earth Awards video - check it out to learn more. You can also have a look at their 19th Annual Beach Report Card, which uses the Google Maps API, to see the most current information about the health of California's coastlines.

Then, this past Saturday, at the Aquarium of the Pacific's Annual Awards Gala in Long Beach, CA, Director Jerry Schubel presented their Ocean Conservation Award to the Ocean in Google Earth. The event honors individuals and organizations that take a leadership role in protecting the environment. In addition, the event raises money to support the Aquarium’s education and conservation initiatives, which include teacher training, environmental education, mobile outreach programs, scholarship funds, and propagation programs.

The entire Ocean in Google Earth team would like to thank our over 100 partners. This includes large media groups like National Geographic and the BBC; researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scripps Institution of Oceanography; non-profits like the Cousteau Society; aquariums; universities; NOAA, the US Navy, the Australian Great Barrier Reef Park Authority, and other government groups. We've also had individual contributors like Ray Hollowell in Hawaii and Sheila McKenna in Bermuda who have added photos, videos and stories to the Ocean content layers in Google Earth. This also wouldn't be possible without the many Googlers who contributed their time. One of our fantastic engineers, Emil Praun, who was instrumental to solving the ocean and land boundary problem, was fortunate to be able to attend the event.

You may remember the story of how Ocean in Google Earth came to be, following a conversation between Sylvia Earle and John Hanke three years ago. And now, as of February of this year, hundreds of millions of Google Earth users can go take a dive and see the oceans for themselves. As a piece of software, Google Earth is only as good as what you do with it. A number of our partners have used this as a way to tell their stories, and now you can go explore and add your own photos and videos, and share what you find with others. We are very excited to continue to work with the ocean community to enrich this canvas and make it an even more powerful educational tool. The Aquarium of the Pacific is rolling out teaching kiosks which will have the embedded Google Earth plug-in featuring some wonderful ocean content.

As Sylvia always says, "With knowing comes caring, and with caring, there's hope."