Saving the Sound

Old batteries. Plastic. Paint cans. These are all things you’d expect to find at a landfill—not at the bottom of Washington State’s Puget Sound. But scuba diver Laura James will tell you the ugly truth: beneath the glassy blue surface, Puget Sound is troubled by trash.

As the newest recipient of the Cox Conserves Heroes-Seattle award, Laura has long recognized the dangers of underwater toxins to the Sound’s marine life and delicate ecosystem. After noticing a deluge of old marine batteries and other pollutants while diving, she decided to take action. Laura spends her free time now removing hazardous materials from her favorite waterway and encouraging others to do the same.

“The goal is to build awareness of not just the beautiful but the horrible,” says Laura. “My motivation is to give people a common goal and that common goal is to clean up Puget Sound.”

Launched in 2008 by The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, Cox Conserves Heroes honors individuals who work to create, preserve, and improve the shared outdoor spaces in our communities. In honor of Laura’s selfless vision for a healthier Puget Sound, $10,000 will be donated to the environmental nonprofit of her choice, Sustainable West Seattle.

Learn more about Cox Conserves Heroes and how you can nominate, or vote for, the next Hero.