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Greg Stunz named Professional Conservationist of the Year

Dr. Greg Stunz challenged listeners’ perceptions of sharks and their conservation status during a talk at TEDxSanAntonio Main Event in 2016. That talk was recorded and is available on the TEDxSanAntonio YouTube page. Courtesy photo

The Rotary Club of Corpus Christi’s Professional Conservationist of the Year award will be given to Port Aransas resident Greg Stunz this year at the Harvey Weil Sportsman Conservationist Award Dinner. The annual dinner and silent auction are set for Saturday, March 30, at the Welder Wildlife Refuge in Sinton. Proceeds support a variety of nonprofit organizations that promote conservation in marine and wildlife resources.

The award honors internationally known leaders in marine or wildlife conservation. A professor of marine biology at the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, Stunz is a regular on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” productions and a supporter of Texas’s artificial reef program. He has also been called to testify before Congress about using oil rigs to build artificial reefs.

“Rigs-to-Reefs structures act as recruitment habitat for juvenile fish and are important to a variety of species at different life stages,” Stunz said before Congress in 2017. “We have documented an array of economically important species residing at Rigs-to-Reefs habitat, highlighting the economic value of these structures to enhance fisheries.”

Stunz was named to a team of university and government scientists to study the red snapper population in the Gulf of Mexico. In one of several shows during “Shark Week,” he caught and tagged mako sharks in the waters off Port Aransas.

The dinner was established by the Rotary Club to honor the life and achievements of Harvey Weil, a South Texas sportsman, attorney, conservationist, and Rotarian. Weil dedicated his life to the preservation of nature and sportsmanship.

The Rotary Club of Corpus Christi includes more than 2,650 members in six clubs. Members are leaders in civic, religious, and vocational organizations across the area. The local Rotary Clubs are committed to supporting the community with at least one project or event per month.

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