On August 24, 2010, at 4:00 AM, surrounded by a community of supporters, Bruckner Chase embarked on a 25-mile marathon swim to connect Santa Cruz to Monterey while also connecting those on land with the waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Those twenty-five miles developed into an epic fourteen-hour journey during which Bruckner encountered everything from massive jellyfish to blue whales, fog and white-capped swells, the moonset over the sea and the sunrise over the mountains. The swim was a test of physical and emotional fortitude and became a means to forge an emotional tie between the communities surrounding the Sanctuary and the fascinating adventures taking place just beyond the shore.
Bruckner has partnered with National Marine Sanctuaries to call the public’s attention to these special places. But it’s a vast ocean out there, and in an effort to broaden his reach, Bruckner formed Bruckner Chase Ocean Positive, Inc, a non-profit corporation focused on expanding Bruckner’s mission to positively impact how we feel, think and act towards our oceans. Ocean Positive, Inc. utilizes extreme ocean endurance adventures and unique aquatic initiatives to allow us all to discover and embrace a personal connection to our oceans. (501c3 filed and pending)
In the spring of 2011 Bruckner was a named a member of the technical advisory team to Special Olympics International for the inaugural 1,500-meter open water swim at the Special Olympics World Games in Athens, Greece. He is now a special advisor assisting with the global program and coaching development of open water swimming within the Special Olympics sports program.
In May of 2011 Bruckner completed an historic first crossing from Aunu’u Island to Pago Pago Harbor in American Samoa, and as a result of that experience he has formed a long-term relationship with the people of American Samoa. Now an honorary chief, Uila o le Sami, Bruckner, at the Governor’s request, has developed the Bruckner Chase Toa o le Tai youth ocean heroes program to improve the ocean swimming proficiency and conservation awareness of the Territory’s youth. In December the American Samoa Department of Education partnered with Bruckner to also create a class at Samoana High School, Ocean Swimming/Ocean Sciences, based on the design of the Toa o le Tai program.
Bruckner and his wife ended 2011 being awarded a Community Services Block Grant from the American Samoa Department of Commerce to create the Bruckner Chase Toa o le Tai Youth Ocean Heroes program, and in December they received one of the prestigious National Marine Sanctuary Foundation Hollings Grants for a 2012 project, 2 Samoas/1 Ocean which will include swims in both Samoas and the production of a documentary film highlighting the unique historical and cultural connection that American Samoa and Western Samoa share with our oceans.
When not in Ocean City, NJ Bruckner can be found at Utulei Beach in American Samoa or somewhere else in the big blue exploring the connection with the oceans we all share.
Bruckner has swum in open water venues around the world from Alaska to Greece and from Monterey Bay to South Jersey, but no body of water has affected him and his wife Michelle to the degree that American Samoa has. In May of this year Bruckner joined with the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary to help connect the people of American Samoa to the ocean as he experiences it as a marathon swimmer, and the swim from Aunu'u to Utulei became a vehicle to encourage others to discover their own connection to the ocean. Bruckner's drive to positively impact how we all feel, think and act towards the waters around us has now led him to a permanent partnership with the American Samoa Department of Commerce, the Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary and the community of American Samoa. Our global health and well being are intertwined with the health of the oceans, and Bruckner believes that American Samoa is a special place that has the opportunity to show the world how to honor that connection and inspire other communities and cultures to become stewards of the waters around them. Bruckner is the President and Founder of Bruckner Chase Ocean Positive, Inc. In addition to being an accomplished marathon swimmer he is a public speaker and writer. Prior to taking on the full time role as an athlete and ocean ambassador Bruckner was project manager and director of store development for companies such as Abercrombie and Fitch and West Marine.
Dr. Wallace J Nichols, PhD: Bruckner Chase Ocean Positive, Inc. - Board Member/Advisor: Marine Biologist and Ocean Conservationist
Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols is a scientist, activist, community organizer, author and dad. He works to inspire a deeper connection with nature, sometimes simply by walking and talking, other times through writing or images. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But he knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves. J. is a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and founder/co-director of OceanRevolution.org, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEEtheWILD.org, a conservation travel network and LiVBLUE.org, a global campaign to reconnect us to our water planet. He has authored and co-authored more than 50 scientific papers and reports and his work has been broadcast on NPR, BBC, PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet and featured in Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, Fast Company, Scientific American and New Scientist, among others. Nichols earned his MEM in Environmental Policy and Economics from Duke University's Nicholas School and his PhD in Wildlife Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from University of Arizona. He advises a motivated group of international graduate students and serves as an advisor to numerous non-profit boards and committees as part of his commitment to building a stronger, more progressive and connected environmental community. Lately he is working on BLUEMiND: The Mind + Ocean Initiative, merging the fields of cognitive science and ocean exploration.
Paul Elizabeth F. Casey is an attorney with the Briggs Law Office in Marmora, NJ, concentrating in commercial litigation. Liz currently sits on the Boards of the Ocean City C-Cerpants swim team, Upper Township Soccer Association, and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in addition to sitting on the Board of Bruckner Chase Ocean Positive, Inc. Ms Casey is also an open water swimmer who can be found competing in events throughout South Jersey.
Ken Stickivers: Bruckner Chase Ocean Positive, Inc. - Board Member: President, US Consumer Products Division, McCormick & Company, Inc.
Dr. Ken Stickevers is responsible for overall commercial and operational functions for McCormick's US consumer business which includes McCormick, Old Bay, Lawry's and Simply Asia branded items. Prior to joining McCormick in April 2008, Mr Stickevers was the VP-Marketing for Campbell's Soup Company. He has a BS in Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from Wright State University. He is on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Food Bank. Ken is also an active open water and US Masters swimmer swimming both in the pool in North Baltimore and the ocean off Ocean City, NJ with the Ocean City Swim Club.