Innovation and Inspiration: Celebrating The Blue in Point Blue
July 19, 2019
By Manuel “Mani” Oliva, CEO
Fifty years ago humans accomplished what previously many thought impossible: landing people on the moon and returning them safely to Earth. Although I was too young to understand the enormity of this moment, I was heavily influenced by its impact and legacy and I decided to pursue a career in science, eventually finding myself as an engineering student at the University of Maryland helping to design the next generation of Mars rovers for NASA. The accomplishments of the Apollo program and the image of that wondrous blue marble in the vastness of space influenced so many young minds to look at our planet with new eyes and consider how they might also push beyond the known.
Today as the new CEO of Point Blue Conservation Science I find myself once again inspired by the Apollo astronauts. Specifically, the images of the blue marble of earth made famous through the Apollo program remind me of the similar looking symbol of our organization, a sphere consisting of a blue ocean separated from green land by a white bird in flight. Both of these images show our earth as this beautiful and fragile combination of land and water, teaming with life. And both of these images are symbolic of a greater sense of purpose and a call to action to meet the enormous challenges we face.
As the Apollo program began its journey over half a century ago, we began ours as the Point Reyes Bird Observatory along the northern coast of California. Although our original mission was focused on developing a deeper understanding of birds and their habitats, the vision was that this knowledge would help address the broader environmental challenges facing both wildlife and people.
Today our 160 scientists across California and in the surrounding ocean waters are building upon the more than 50 years of collected data. Together, we are pushing the boundaries of conservation science to test new solutions to respond to the growing effects of climate change and ensure a healthy planet, a planet where wildlife and people continue to thrive, a planet that continues to shine as a beacon to those that explore beyond its reach. And much like what the astronauts accomplished 50 years ago, we at Point Blue understand the power of inspiration: our educational programs our working with today’s youth–the next generation of scientists–to restore landscapes across the state, helping them make a difference now, and empowering them with the knowledge that they are capable of going beyond what we can imagine today.
Our planet faces enormous challenges from the growing effects of climate change, and we are now being called to match the determined and innovative spirit of the astronauts of the Apollo program. As we remember humans setting foot on the moon half a century ago, we at Point Blue hope you will join our community and help us protect this beautiful blue marble we share today, ensuring a healthy planet for the generations of explorers to come.