The Central Caribbean Marine Institute is now accepting nominations for its second annual People’s Choice Award, which recognises the efforts of members of the community in maintaining the health of the oceans and coral reefs.

Nominees are chosen and voted on by members of the public in this award initiative, which was launched last year as part of CCMI’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

Carrie Manfrino, president and research director of CCMI, said in a statement, “We love learning about the individuals and companies that are making a difference to our coral reefs and oceans. At CCMI, our aim is to find solutions to declining coral reefs through research, conservation and education, but we do not work alone. Presenting these awards allows us to shine the spotlight on others who value our marine environment and coral reefs.”

This year, the marine institute will recognise two People’s Choice Award winners: an individual and a company or organisation.

According to the CCMI statement, nominees should have made significant positive impacts on the marine environment, whether through a project, programme or event. They should demonstrate leadership and commitment to bringing about a transformative impact on the ocean habitats, especially coral reefs, in the Cayman Islands, from 1 Jan. 2018 to 30 June 2019.

Last year, Claire Hughes was selected in the public vote as the winner for the work she does with Plastic Free Cayman. Manfrino said she is excited to see who is nominated for the award this year.

“The People’s Choice Award is an important opportunity to identify inspired leaders, bold innovators, creative thinkers and those who give generously and tirelessly of their time and talents,” she said. “We are fortunate to live in a place with so many individuals and organisations who push us to think bigger, reach further and strive for greater solutions to protecting and restoring coral reefs, because we can save [the] coral reefs, if we act now.”

The winners of the People’s Choice Award and the Healthy Reefs Challenge will be announced at the annual Festival of Seas Awards and Gala event on 16 Nov. at Grand Old House.

Nomination forms can be found at www.reefresearch.org/peopleschoice2019. Anyone can submit a nomination between 2 July and 14 Aug. After the nomination period has closed, CCMI will contact nominees to confirm their acceptance of the nomination. Voting for the winners will take place online on 16–29 Sept.