Best "Running Away to the Circus" Dream Realized - 2013
The director of the Steinhart Aquarium at the California Academy of Sciences was just 6 years old when he became an aquarium hobbyist, and spent his childhood in Chesapeake Bay exploring wild salt marshes and coastal habitats. And as an adult, the focus of Bart Shepherd's days hasn't changed: Now he manages the living collection, develops exhibitions, and cultivates its coral reef programs. He can often be found swimming inside the tank, but his diving duties on the museum's behalf extend to far flung corners of the world. He often accompanies colleagues on research and collecting trips, even braving subaquatic dangers during an expedition to the Philippines — where he helped discover almost 300 species new to science.