September 12, 2012

Reef Check Honors California’s Unsung Heroes of Marine Conservation at Annual Gala

Jonathan Beach Club

Six of California’s marine conservation heroes were honored at Reef Check’s “Save the Reefs, Save the Oceans” Gala, September 8th at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica.

Mike Ireland, a Reef Check California program diver since 2008, received the Citizen Scientist of the Year Award. Through 2011, he had a completed a total of 92 transects, including an impressive 37 last year alone. This year, Mike became a California EcoDiver Instructor, leading recertification and standard training classes in San Diego this summer.

Receiving Poseidon Awards were Commissioner Richard B. Rogers from the California Fish & Game Commission, William W. Anderson and Gregory F. Schem from the MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force, and Don Benninghoven, MLPA Blue Ribbon Task Force member and former California Fish & Game Commissioner. They were recognized for their leadership and public service in the creation of a statewide network of marine protected areas in California through the Marine Life Protection Act.

Receiving the final award of the evening was California Assemblymember Paul Fong, who received the Reef Stewardship Award for his commitment to the conservation of our seas, demonstrated by his leadership in the authoring and passage of the bill banning the sale or possession of shark fins in California.

Thank you to all who attended, bid, donated, and volunteered- your efforts helped make the gala a success! Special thanks to sponsors Body Glove, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Karma Tequila, Nova Medical Products, and Quiksilver Foundation.

Click here to view more photos from the gala.

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Reef Check Board Member Sue Chen & Asm. Paul Fong Citizen Scientist of the Year Mike Ireland
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Honorees Don Benninghoven, Greg Schem, Asm. Paul Fong, William Anderson, Commissioner Richard Rogers Don Benninghoven, Richard Rogers, Greg Schem & William Anderson
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Mermaid Linden Maria De La Vega and the Wayward Five provided music and entertainment
Auctioneers Russ Lesser & Sue Chen during the live auction