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Céline Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau's granddaughter, named to National Aquarium board

Céline Cousteau, the granddaughter of pioneering oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and a prominent filmmaker and environmentalist in her own right, has been named to the board of directors of Baltimore’s National Aquarium.

"Céline is a compelling storyteller — equal parts social activist, environmental filmmaker and indomitable adventurer," John Racanelli, the aquarium's chief executive officer, said in a news release. "Her voice as one of our ocean planet's most eloquent advocates fits perfectly with our expanding national and global conservation initiatives."

A native of California, Celine Cousteau, 45, is an ambassador for the TreadRight Foundation and a former member of the World Economic Forum Council on Oceans. She has also created coral-inspired jewelry for a sustainable luxury fashion collection by London-based designer Deborah Milner.

Joining the aquarium’s board, Celine Cousteau said in the release, “is about aligning with a future-thinking organization that pushes ideas and boundaries to enhance their conservation initiatives."

As a filmmaker, she wrote and directed the 2012 documentary short “Scars of Freedom,” centering on a humpback whale ensnared in a 500-pound fishing net and nearly dead. Her second documentary, the feature-length “Tribes on the Edge,” is part of a campaign to focus attention on the plight on indigenous tribes in the Brazilian Amazon.

She is also the co-founder of the Celine Cousteau Film Fellowship, a nonprofit aimed at helping and inspiring young filmmakers.

Few names are more revered in the field of oceanography than Cousteau. Jacques Cousteau was long one of the world’s foremost oceanographers, as well as the author of numerous books. He was also an accomplished documentary filmmaker — his “The Silent World” won the grand prize, the Palme d’Or, at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.

Jacques Cousteau’s greatest fame, however, probably came as the host of a series of TV specials in the 1960s and 1970s, which enthralled audiences with his and his crew’s oceanic adventures aboard their research ship, the Calypso. Thirty-six episodes of “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” aired between 1966 and 1976. The series was nominated for six Emmys, winning two.

His son (and Celine’s father), Jean-Michel Cousteau, also became an oceanographer and filmmaker in a career dating back to the 1960s. His efforts as an executive producer included the TV documentary series “Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures."

ckaltenbach@baltsun.com

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