Marisa Miller, Jack Johnson to Receive Inaugural Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award

The public knew Paul Walker best for his roles as an actor. We knew him as an aspiring marine biologist and a lifelong friend of the ocean

In collaboration with his family, we’ll honor his memory and continue his legacy through the Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award – recognizing individuals who are using their public stature to advance ocean causes and support philanthropic ventures.

Our first recipients – actress and supermodel Marisa Miller, and singer Jack Johnson – will receive their awards in June.

Marisa Miller will be honored in a public presentation on Saturday, June 7 during our World Oceans Day weekend celebration. Jack Johnson will receive his award on Saturday, June 14 during a special 30th anniversary event supporting our Children’s Education Fund. 

Paul Walker’s daughter and brothers will participate in the presentations.

Both events are open to the public: World Oceans Day to all Aquarium visitors; the 30th anniversary evening event to ticket-holders.

Two ocean advocates

“The ocean plays a central role in the lives of both Marisa Miller and Jack Johnson – as it did for Paul Walker,” Executive Director Julie Packard said. “Like Paul, they recognize how important it is to work for a future with healthy oceans, and to inspire others to do their part. We’re proud to honor them in this way.”

Walker helped us celebrate World Oceans Day in 2005, and told visitors that day about about his personal commitment to ocean conservation – urging them to step up their own involvement.

“I was fortunate to have visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium with my father on several occasions,” said his daughter, Meadow Walker. “It held a special place in his heart, as it now does in mine. I am proud of him, and this award that honors his commitment to ocean conservation.”

Marisa Miller: actress, supermodel, surfer and mom

Marisa Miller is an actress, supermodel, a surfer and Monterey Bay area resident who has been inspired by the Aquarium’s work since she was a schoolgirl. Today, as a young mother, she actively promotes an ocean-friendly lifestyle – one that eliminates single-use plastic water bottles, and incorporates sustainable seafood choices, as well as organic foods and natural personal care products that keep pollutants out of the ocean. In addition to her philanthropic work with the American Cancer Society and the USO, she has been associated with Surfrider Foundation, which works on behalf of healthy oceans.

“I’m honored to be receiving the Paul Walker Ocean Leadership Award,” Marisa said. “The Monterey Bay Aquarium has been a part of my life since I was six years old. Its programs for education and ocean awareness are still impacting me today. I look forward to celebrating World Oceans Day with the communities that support all the work that the Monterey Bay Aquarium does.”

Jack Johnson: Singer-songwriter and philanthropist

Jack Johnson is an acclaimed singer-songwriter, surfer and filmmaker. The Hawaii native and his wife, Kim, have been effecting change worldwide by leading the music industry in greening practices and using their success to support many social and environmental issues. Their Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation supports environmental initiatives, art and music education worldwide – including the Aquarium’s Ocean Plastic Pollution Summit, where teachers find new ways to engage their students around the issue of plastics and ocean health. A graduate of the University of California-Santa Barbara, Johnson has released multiple platinum-selling albums on Brushfire Records, including Brushfire Fairytales, Sleep Through the Static and To the Sea.

“The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a special place for our family,” Jack said. “I appreciate the energy they put into educating the public on sustainable seafood, marine debris, and the overall health of our oceans. I’m honored to be working with them and to be receiving the Paul Walker Award.”

Youth award recipient

At the World Oceans Day celebration, we’ll also present a youth award to 17-year-old high school student Ailis Dooner of Carmel, who took second in the world at the International Science Fair for researching a way to prevent lung cancer using substances found in sea anemones and seaweed. Ailis is one of our Teen Conservation Leaders.

Photos: Marisa Miller by David Gruber. Jack Johnson by Emmett Malloy. Paul Walker by Randy Wilder.