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Sylvia Earle--Guardian of the Sea

“Do you find it difficult to find well-written, inspiring biographies for students to read? If so, take a look at the biography of Sylvia Earle by Beth Baker, one in a series of 30 Lerner Biographies. Through the book, the reader is able to follow Earle’s dream, her experiences growing up on the Gulf of Mexico, her education as a marine biologist, and her commitment to explore and protect the oceans. From walking in the surf when she was three on a family vacation to being appointed chief scientist at NOAA, this biography chronicles Earle’s life and 6000 hours underwater as she broke barriers to advance ocean research and technology.

“According to the book, the more time Earle spent underwater, the more she became ’one of the foremost defenders of the sea and its creatures.’ The more research she did to find out about the ocean habitat, the more honors she received, including having species named after her such as the sea urchin Diademia sylvie and the red alga Pilina earli. Earle has said that it is difficult for people to care about things that are unknown to them and that only by exploring the sea will they understand why the marine world must be preserved. The author also describes some of Earle’s presentations featuring questions from children.

“In the book, Baker describes how Earle was asked to go to the Persian Gulf after the war to see if life could recover. She found a depressing scene. Although Earle claims that she didn’t start out to be an environmentalist, ‘If you see things that you care about irreversibly destroyed it is impossible not to do everything you can.’ Following Sylvia Earle’s life in this book will help inspire students to help ‘guard the sea’ so that our planet can be sustained. This is an excellent book!”

--Marilyn Cook, grades K-5 teacher, from NSTA Recommends, website of the National Science Teachers Association (