Awarded the Leif Erikson Young Explorer Award for her work on Ocean Missions
Spanish-Icelandic marine biologist and wildlife guide Belén García Ovide is awarded the 2021 Leif Erikson Young Explorer Award for her work in promoting ocean protection through exploration and citizen science. She has explored some of the most remote ocean areas in the world and in 2019 she founded Ocean Missions, a non-profit organization in Husavík, Iceland, where through a combination of research, citizen science, education and traditional sailing, her mission is to inspire the world to take direct actions to protect the oceans.
Belén García Ovide is a marine biologist, wildlife guide and experienced sailor based in Iceland who works in ocean conservation and sustainability in the Arctic regions. Belén received her MRM in Coastal and Marine Management from the University of Westfjords, Iceland where she studied marine acoustics, in particular whale watching boat noise and effects on humpback whales.
Belén has worked on several traditional sailing ships, exploring some of the remotest areas in the world (including both poles), gathering relevant scientific data and leading citizen science programs. In 2017 she started working as a wildlife guide during whale watching tours and sailing expeditions in the Arctic for North Sailing, and more recently also as environmental advisor.
In 2019, she founded Ocean Missions non-profit organization in Husavík, Iceland, where through a combination of research, citizen science, education and traditional sailing, her mission is to inspire the world to take direct actions to protect the oceans. She focuses on the fields of plastic pollution, eco-tourism and sustainable development in Iceland. In 2022 Ocean Missions launched the “OM exhibition room” in Husavík harbour, a space/working area that is open to the public, where people can be informed about the different missions and get involved.