Harte Award


                                                      JIM COPELAND
Jim Copeland, owner of Copeland's dive shop in Corpus Christi, has been a pioneer of the Gulf of Mexico by spreading his enthusiasm for scuba diving to others. He not only opened one of the first dive shops in Texas, but he also helped establish the first scuba diving certification programs in the United States. Over the past 15 years, he has supported Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's coral reef education program through financial donations, diver training, and assistance with dive equipment for the Center for Coastal Studies research expeditions to the Mexican Caribbean. After being in operation for 52 years, Copeland's dive shop is Texas' oldest dive shop and Jim Copeland has emerged as one of the dive industry's most successful and experienced instructors.

                                                      HARLEY MOODY
  Harley Moody captured the essence of the coral reefs through his vibrant underwater images. He indulged his passion for underwater photography only after earning degrees in math, physics, biology and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Although he first learned to dive in 1962, he took a
refresher dive course in 1995, which sparked a renewed interest in coral reef ecology. Equipped with a Nikonos underwater camera, he captured many images while assisting with Dr. Wes Tunnell's research trips to the Mexican Caribbean. Many of his photographs are now prominently displayed throughout the University, particularly in the work areas of the Harte Research Institute.

                                                                  By: Mike Price

  To commemorate World Oceans Day on June 8, 2010, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico studies launched "Harte's Heroes" to honor the wisdom, mentoring, and leadership of pioneers who have strived to protect and preserve the richness of the Gulf of Mexico's resources. Jim Copeland and Dr. Harley Moody were chosen as the first recipients of this award, on June 18th, 2010 at Texas State Aquarium.

   Prior to the speeches and awards presentations the reception attendees walked through the Texas State Aquarium, observing everything from a huge amberjack to slipper lobsters. Dr. Larry McKinney, Executive director of Harte Research Institute, welcomed everyone. Oceanographer and Harte Institute Advisory Council Chair, Dr. Sylvia Earle spoke about the importance of understanding and preserving our oceans. Dr. Wes Tunnell, Associate Director of Harte Research Institute then presented the awards to Copeland and Moody.

   After the presentation Sylvia Earle told me that the recreational diving industry is very important because it introduces people to life in the oceans. Jim Copeland has helped many new scuba divers become advocates for healthy oceans. Jim is 72 years old, yet he continues to be an active and enthusiastic dive trip leader and instructor. Just a few days before the presentation, he had returned from leading a dive trip to Bonaire. I spoke to one of his customers while going through the Aquarium and he said that he really enjoyed diving with Jim in Bonaire. The morning after the "Harte's Heroes" presentation my wife and I met Jim and his wife, Saundra, at 6:30 a.m. for a fifty-minute power walk. After the walk, he was off to teach a jetty diving lecture.

   Jim Copeland has made significant contributions to his community by giving his time and money to his church, and deserving institutions like The Harte Research Institute, and by teaching thousands of scuba divers how to safely have fun underwater. People who do business with Copeland's know that they will get the highest quality service with the utmost integrity. Jim Copeland truly deserves to be honored for his contributions to the Gulf of Mexico by the Harte Rersearch Institute. (Mike Price owned Houston Scuba Academy for 32 years. Jim helped Mike many times over the years with scuba business problems)

                                                           WERE YOU THERE?

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