October 30, 2015

Reef Check Recognizes Marine Conservation Heroes at Annual Gala

Russ and Charlotte Lesser receive the Reef Stewardship Award

On October 1st, Reef Check held our annual \”Save the Reefs, Save the Oceans\” gala on the sand at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica. With over two hundred guests in attendance, we honored this year’s conservation heroes for their outstanding environmental dedication and commitment, while also recognizing the 10th anniversary of the Reef Check California program.

Russ Lesser, the President of Body Glove and a long-standing member of Reef Check’s Board of Directors, and his wife of 50 years, Charlotte Lesser, accepted the Reef Stewardship Award for their roles as ocean advocates and steadfast supporters of Reef Check, and for their devotion to marine conservation as upstanding members of the South Bay community. The Lessers also received a number of proclamations from local government as Fourth District Senior Deputy Steve Napolitano was on hand to present them with a special commendation from the County of Los Angeles. Following the ceremony, Russ Lesser remained on stage to close the night with his band Thin Ice, accompanied by two of his granddaughters.

In celebration of ten years of the Reef Check California program, nine citizen scientist divers- Avrey Parsons-Field, Bill Field, Bryan & Dana Murray, Claudette Dorsey, John Manos, Peter Ottersbach, Rob Matteri and Ted Sharshan- were recognized with Citizen Scientist of the Decade awards for their participation in ten years of California rocky reef surveys. Reef Check California Founding Director Dr. Craig Shuman, along with former director Cyndi Dawson, joined current director Dr. Jan Freiwald on stage to present the divers with their awards.

Citizen Scientists of the Decade honorees

Coming back for a second year, auctioneer Tyler Durman once again entertained the crowd while raising critical funds for Reef Check programs during the live auction and fund-a-need.

We’d like to thank those who attended, bid, donated, and volunteered to make this event a success! Special thanks to our sponsors: Body Glove, Houlihan Lokey, Akanthos Capital Management LLC, Edison International, Beach Cities Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Jennifer & Dave Caskey, Gary L. Justice, Mermaid Linden, and Pura Vida Tequila. Thank you also to FRYER and Thin Ice for providing music for the evening.

Click here for more photos from the gala

George Fryer of FRYER Auctioneer Tyler Durman Thin Ice
LA County Fourth District Senior Deputy Steve Napolitano Charlotte Lesser with the Reef Stewardship Award and Commendation from LA County Reef Check Volunteer Kyle McGanty with Mermaid Linden