The Pryor Times

February 28, 2013

Famous oceanographer raises funds

The Pryor Times

PRYOR, OK — “An Evening with Dr. Ballard: Exploring the Depths,” was held Feb. 21 at St. Marks Catholic Church hall and proceeds benefited the Boys & Girls Club of Green Country.

A live auction followed Dr. Robert Ballard’s presentation. Auction items included opportunities for two people to experience exploration live on board The Nautilus, Ballard’s research ship, as well as artifacts and signed copies of Ballard’s book

Ballard is best known for his discovery of the RMS Titanic in 1985. He has succeeded in finding numerous other significant shipwrecks including: The German battleship Bismarck, the lost fleet of Guadalcanal, the US aircraft carrier Yorktown, and John F. Kennedy’s boat, PT-109.

During this visit to Pryor he spoke about his career and his finds, as well as the value of education.

“You must go out and proactively recruit kids to learn,” said Ballard. “I think that exploration is a wonderful recruiting too.”

Ballard aims to engage all students in the process of learning, and his program has a multitude of ways to accomplish this.

There are three Exploration Command Centers in Pryor: Rogers State University, Pryor Public Schools and Boys & Girls Club of Green Country, which provide live 24/7 coverage of ongoing exploration. Six ships will go live in May, with coverage of undersea exploration. Never before has this live coverage been brought into the classroom.

Ballard was born in Kansas, but moved to California at a young age. He has a Ph.D. in Marine Biology and geophysics from the University of Rhode Island.

In 2001, he returned to the University of Rhode Island graduate school of Oceanography where he is presently a tenured Professor of Oceanography and Director for the Ocean Exploration and Archaeological Oceanography.

“I grew up wanting to be Captain Nemo from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” said Ballard.