PETER NEILL is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the ocean defined as “an integrated, global, social system,” transcending conventional emphasis on species and habitat to relate the ocean to such issues as fresh water, climate, food, energy, trade, transportation, public health, international finance, policy and governance, economic development, mega-cities, and coastal traditions. World Ocean Observatory provides links and proactive services to aquariums, science centers, educational institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and individuals to build public awareness and a global constituency for the ocean.
Throughout his career, Mr. Neill has contributed to organizations devoted to marine affairs, education, and culture. He was President of the South Street Seaport Museum from 1985-2004. He is a past President of the Council of American Maritime Museums and the International Congress of Maritime Museums He is a co-founder of The Sound School, New Haven, CT., and The Harbor School, New York, NY, two innovative public high schools that use the marine environment as a context for teaching and learning. He has appeared on numerous television documentaries on The History Channel, Discovery, and National Geographic Society productions. His publications include novels (A Time Piece, 1970; Mock Turtle Soup, 1972; Acoma, 1978); non-fiction (Maritime America, 1988; Great Maritime Museums of the World, 1991; On a Painted Ocean, 1998); anthologies (The City: American Experience, 1978; American Sea Writing, 2000); and numerous articles on maritime history and art. In 1972, Mr. Neill founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publisher specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. Mr. Neill has served as founding Chairman, High Mountain Institute, Leadville, CO (1995-2007); founding Chairman, The Apprenticeshop, Rockland, ME (1988-2006); President, Pilobolus Dance Theater, Washington, CT (1995-2004); Trustee, Ocean Classroom Foundation, Damariscotta, ME (2007-2014); Trustee, Penobscot Marine Museum, Searsport, ME (2006-2014); and Founding Trustee of Apogee Arts, a new dance company for Maine (2008-2014.)
Peter is host of World Ocean Radio, a weekly series of 5-minute audio essays on a wide range of ocean topics.