The Ocean Institute, an organization headquartered in Dana Point that encourages study of marine life, began construction on the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center in on Thursday, Oct. 25. A day earlier, a private ceremony brought together Ocean Institute and Maddie James Foundation representatives and donors.
The foundation is named for Maddie James, a five-year-old girl who died of a brain tumor, and works to bring the wonders of the ocean to children around the country. Pat Bates, supervisor for Orange County’s Fifth District and Lara Anderson, Dana Point's mayor were also present at the ceremony.
“Creating a first-class oceanography and marine science educational facility has been a goal of the Ocean Institute for more than 10 years,” said Dan Stetson, President and CEO of the Ocean Institute.
Collie James, Maddie’s father and treasurer of the foundation, was astounded at the support the foundation has received. He continues to hold to their quest to support the Ocean Institute as well as promote oceanic education for children.
“The Ocean Institute was an incredibly meaningful place for Maddie,” said Kajsa James, Maddie’s mother and president of the foundation. “Today’s ceremony is an important milestone in the journey to share Maddie’s love of the ocean with children for generations to come.”
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