NORWALK, Conn. -- The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk paid tribute to two trustees for their commitment to environmental education at the aquarium's annual "Cirque de la Mer" fundraiser.
Charles Hinnant of Norwalk and Basil Mavroleon of Greenwich were both honored with the 15th annual Red Apple Awards for their work with the Maritime Aquarium. The annual event raises funds for the aquarium's Red Apple Fund for Student Enrichment. The theme this year was "Mystical Magical Maritime Masquerade."
Mavroleon is the managing director of WeberSeas (Hellas) SA, a ship finance brokerage based in Greece. He co-chaired the "Cirque de la Mer" in 2010 and 2012, helping to raise nearly $1.4 million for the Red Apple Fund. He also helped the aquarium acquire the new R/V Spirit of the Sound research vessel, which will launch this summer.
"I do what I can for this wonderful, wonderful aquarium, which gives so much to so many and has the most enthusiastic staff that makes this place so great for kids and adults," Mavroleon said. He's a self-described "shark fanatic" and loves seeing the effect exhibits such as "Jiggle A Jelly" has on children.
"When you see a little kid reach his hand into the tank and touch that jellyfish, and to see him smile when it moves, that's the happiest kid in the world," he said.
Hinnant is president and founder of Charkit Chemical Corp. in Norwalk. He has been involved with the aquarium for about six years. He initiated the annual Maritime Golf Classic, which has become one of the aquarium's biggest fundraisers and has raised more than $300,000 in the last three years. He has also been an important contributor to enable fourth- and sixth-graders in Norwalk to take part in marine-science and environmental education programs.
"I'm proud to be honored," Hinnant said. He is an avid fisherman and outdoorsman, and works in an office that overlooks the aquarium. Working with the aquarium is a natural fit, he said.
"The best thing about the aquarium is that it's an educational facility that encourages students to become more involved in science," he said. "Through that science education they can understand all the issues facing Long Island Sound, and can help in keeping the Sound healthy and the environment healthy."
The fundraiser featured silent and live auctions to raise money for the Red Apple Fund, which provides scholarships and buses for underprivileged students to visit the aquarium.