In honor of World Oceans Day, Coastkeeper’s yearly award program hosted at Birch Aquarium honors individuals and organizations for their contributions in the categories of Runoff Rockstar, Water Wise, Find & Fix, Blue Tech, Marine Conservation, Volunteer of the Year, Lighthouse Lifetime Achievement and ASBS Special Recognition.
This year’s Coastal Champions include:
- Christine Hillger, Runoff Rockstar: for the installation and maintenance of biodegradable dog waste bag dispensers in Imperial Beach over the past 14 years. She made a huge impact on beach water quality by reducing toxic runoff.
- City of Chula Vista, Water Wise: for the city’s progressive approach to water conservation efforts that includes public forums, exceptional instruction tools and housing construction requirements that embrace recycled water.
- H2O Trash Patrol, Marine Conservation: for the more than 16,000 pounds of trash collected since 2011 and its efforts to teach children to paddle board while collecting marine debris and learning about the environment.
- Diane Castaneda, Marine Conservation: for developing a successful marine conservation outreach program for Hispanic and underserved children in San Diego County.
- Laura Hunter, Find & Fix: for driving the adoption of one of the most environmentally appropriate development projects in our region, the Chula Vista Bayfront Master Plan that includes over 500 acres of bayfront property.
- Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS), Blue Tech & ASBS: for their development of innovative technology that will fuel data collection about Areas of Special Biological Significance and allow us to better keep these areas free of pollution as mandated by state law.
- Steve Kwik & Kai the dog, Volunteer of the Year: for his reliability, dedication, positive personality and willingness to help. Every month, Steve leads a team of volunteers and trainees out to collect water samples that Coastkeeper uses to monitor pollutants in the Los Peñasquitos watershed.
- Patricia and Mike McCoy, Lighthouse Lifetime Achievement: for their more than 45 years of inspirational environmental stewardship, which includes the establishment of the San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge, the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve and designation of the Tijuana Estuary as a wetland of international importance.
For more information about the winners, please click here. For more information on San Diego Coastkeeper, please visit sdcoastkeeper.org.
—San Diego Coastkeeper