OTTAWA, April 8, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Wildlife Federation Africa to Americas Expedition reached a dramatic conclusion with the capsizing of the OAR Northwest rowboat 650 kilometres north of Puerto Rico this weekend, but the rowers have been rescued and are safely back on shore hoping to continue their marine conservation efforts on land.
"We took four years to prepare for the worst-case scenario and faced our emergency with courage and teamwork, said Adam Kreek, one of the four rowers and a gold medal Olympian. "Everyone came home safe, which was our first goal. We collected a great amount of valuable scientific data, and educated the next generation, giving kids in Canada, USA and Senegal and around the world an appreciation for the vast wonder of the natural environment and the wildlife it contains. We hope our experience plants some seeds that will help some of these impressionable minds to grow up to be adventurers, scientists, explorers and conservationists, and do all of this safely."
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is extremely grateful to the rowers for their incredible determination and commitment. "We extend a heroes' welcome to our four incredible rowers who have persevered through endless challenges to inspire adventure, conservation and education," said Wade Luzny, CEO Executive Vice President of the Canadian Wildlife Federation. "The expedition may be over, but the legacy lives on."
The two American and two Canadian rowers including Olympic Gold Medalist Adam Kreek left Dakar, Senegal in an 8.8 metre (29 foot) ocean rowboat bound for Miami, Florida on Jan. 23. Research equipment on their vessel collected daily scientific readings on such issues as water temperature, salinity, alkalinity and ocean currents. The rowers also shared their observations on marine life and rowing conditions online through blogs, photography and videography which captivated the attention of school students, teachers and the general public.
At about 4 am on April 6, the ocean rowboat suffered a catastrophic capsize event, and was unable to self-right as designed. The four rowers, including Olympic gold medalist Adam Kreek, were able to safely deploy a life raft and were rescued by a passing commercial vessel and transported to San Juan. They completed 2,700 nautical miles of their 3,500 nautical mile journey.
Sponsored by the Canadian Wildlife Federation, the expedition achieved its goals of drawing attention to the health of marine ecosystems and re-connecting the public with the outdoors, water sports and conservation.
"I am humbled and honoured by the incredible determination of these four young men who put their lives on the line to row where no person has rowed before to ensure a lasting legacy of healthy wildlife and habitat," Luzny said.
About OAR Northwest: Founded in 2005, OAR Northwest is a non-profit organization specializing in Ocean Adventure Rowing and Education. OAR Northwest connects with partners to propel youth, schools, community members and businesses to showcase the outdoors, marine habitat and healthy lifestyles. Face-to-face interactions with expedition crew members, online tracking technology and adventure learning curriculum help achieve these goals. For more information, visit OARnorthwest.org.
About the Canadian Wildlife Federation: The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national, non-profit charitable organization dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, sponsoring research, developing and delivering education programs, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending changes to policy and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.
Image with caption: "Rowers Adam Kreek, Jordan Hanssen, Pat Fleming and Markus Pukonen. (CNW Group/Canadian Wildlife Federation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130408_C3457_PHOTO_EN_25298.jpg
SOURCE: Canadian Wildlife Federation
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