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Heal the Bay Blog

Tracy Quinn CEO of Heal the Bay poses for the camera and touches a shark at Heal the Bay Aquarium

Photos by Nicola Buck

What does “Heal the Bay” mean to you?

To me, Heal the Bay is about protecting what you love. I find it inspiring that Dorothy Green chose the name Heal the Bay because it conveys hope. Fighting to change policies that don’t adequately protect people and wildlife is challenging—at times heartbreakingand I love that this group was founded on the optimistic idea that we can make things better and that this organization has made things better for the Santa Monica Bay over the last three decades. I’m grateful for Dorothy and Heal the Bay every time I feel that cold, crisp water of the Pacific Ocean on my toes, and I am honored to continue her legacy by leading Heal the Bay in its next chapter.

What about Heal the Bay excites you the most?

I grew up in Southern California (Anaheim to be exact) and the beach has always been a special place for me. I look forward to leading Heal the Bay because our mission, “to make our coastal waters and watersheds safe, healthy, and clean – using science, education, community action, and advocacy” inspires me and aligns with the experiences that first interested me in an environmental advocacy career. I have dedicated my professional life to ensuring safe, reliable, and affordable water for Californians. Education is also very important to me and I have volunteered with local groups in LA, tutoring math and science with Educating Young Minds and serving on the board of Wildwoods Foundation. And, in my free time you can often find me at the beach or paddling on the water. I am excited that our organization brings my passions together seamlessly. 

Tell us more about those early experiences that prompted you to get involved in an environmental advocacy career.

My decision to become an environmental advocate is actually pretty similar to Dorothy Green’s. In high school, I started to notice the beach closures after storms and saw my friends and teachers getting sick from surfing in polluted waters. I was horrified that we were allowing this beautiful place, and the marine animals that call our ocean home, to be harmed. I wanted to do something about it, so I went to college to study engineering and immediately moved back to Southern California to join the fight.

At the helm at Heal the Bay, what are some of your top priorities?

As CEO, I am going to continue the incredible legacies of Dorothy Green, Felicia Marcus, Mark Gold, Shelley Luce, and others who have led this organization. The area where I can be most effective is helping Heal the Bay build campaigns and partnerships to address emerging challenges and opportunities facing our region. Heal the Bay’s deep water-quality expertise makes us uniquely suited to drive local and state policy. Working closely with our dedicated Board, staff, and community partners, some of the key areas I’d like to focus on are:

  • Helping Southern California communities combat the impacts of climate change while improving water quality in our rivers and ocean. Given Heal the Bay’s incredible science expertise, we have the opportunity to dive into critical issues like ensuring impacts to surface and coastal water quality are considered when making investments in drinking water reliability, mitigating the impacts of sea level rise, and highlighting the multi-benefits of stormwater projects on climate-related stresses like drought, flood, and heat exposure. And using our advocacy, education, and communication chops to build campaigns and drive policy solutions. 
  • Bringing more attention to our incredible Heal the Bay Aquarium as a top destination in LA for learning and community connection, and shining a light on our amazing Aquarium team who care for the animals and develop educational programming that inspires the next generation of planet protectors.
  • Building on Heal the Bay’s core value of inclusion, our “JEDI” committee work (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion), and our policies to recruit and retain staff that reflect the diverse communities in Greater LA, we are committed to incorporating environmental justice, social justice, and accessibility into our work by collaborating more with local organizations leading on the issues, and implementing a process to evaluate the equity impacts of our programs, projects, and campaigns.

Before you joined Heal the Bay, what were you up to?

I started my career as a scientist and engineer here in Southern California over 20-years ago, working on a variety of projects like modeling the transport of pollutants in groundwater, designing water infrastructure, and working with industrial facilities to prevent pollution from entering our rivers and ocean.

Prior to joining Heal the Bay as CEO, I served as the Director of California Urban Water Policy for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and as the Interim Director of NRDC’s national Urban Water Program. My team at NRDC included lawyers and policy experts and our mission was to ensure safe, reliable, and affordable water for all across the country. In my 11-years at NRDC I led efforts to pass transformational climate adaptation legislation, assisted the state in setting the strictest standards in the country for water-using products, and helped the state develop emergency regulations as we navigated the worst drought in 1200 years. I also worked with NRDC’s incredible team of public health scientists to develop recommendations for the regulation of PFAS “forever chemicals”, which led to the successful adoption of drinking water standards in states across the country.

I also serve on the Board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD), the largest water utility in the country. On the MWD Board, I’ve had the opportunity to focus more of my time on local water policy and collaborate with community groups, like Heal the Bay, doing exciting work here in the Greater Los Angeles area. Being able to build partnerships within your community and see the positive impact of your collective work on people and neighborhoods is one of the more exciting and fulfilling things I have experienced in my career.

I am overjoyed to bring everything I have learned as an engineer, advocate, utility Board Member, and water enthusiast to Heal the Bay, an organization that is focused on the things I’m most passionate about—protecting our beautiful ocean and rivers and inspiring and educating the next generation of environmental stewards.

When did you know that water was your happy place?

I’ve had a deep connection to water since I was a child. I never feel more at home than when I am on a paddle board or rafting down a river. I fell in love with the ocean the first time I felt the power of the waves off of Newport Beach, California. As a kid, my favorite thing to do at the beach was charge into the water and stand underneath the first breaking wave, and as it curled over me, I would jump, letting the water carry me into a backflip. It was magical and the beach has been my happy place ever since.

You’ve been Heal the Bay CEO for a couple weeks now, what’s a memorable moment so far?

Feeding the baby sharks at Heal the Bay Aquarium. I mean, come on! How fun and meaningful is that?! I’ve also loved getting to know our team–they are so unique, full of energy, and good at what they do. I can’t wait to see what we do together.

 



AS THE YEAR CONTINUES on through May, the weather begins to warm, melting away the worries of the winter and bringing us into the joys of the spring! The level of sunshine spikes, encouraging us to go out and play, and what better way to ring in the rising heat than by going to the beach? Los Angeles has many beautiful beaches to visit, so it’s important you pick the one that’s right for you! Read below to see which one aligns most harmoniously with your zodiac sign: 

Aries

Aries, your best beach is the Leo Carrillo Beach on the west side of Malibu. This beautiful beach is connected to a gorgeous state park where there are trails, sea caves, and reefs all available to enjoy. You’ll never get bored!


Taurus

Taurus, you love a lowkey beach where you can just relax and unwind. Your most aligned beach is Long Beach! Not only is this beach’s vibe laid-back and easygoing, it’s surrounded by tons of amazing restaurants. We all know Taurus loves good food.


Gemini

Gemini, the best beach for you is Santa Monica Beach. The Santa Monica Pier is what makes this beach your best bet to visit. Complete with rides and a Ferris wheel, this beach has no shortage of fun activities, which pairs perfectly with Gemini’s need to stay stimulated!


Cancer

Cancer, you love to be in places that are comfortable and sweet. Hermosa Beach is the beach for you. It’s close to LA, so you don’t have to travel too far away from your treasured home to get here. This beautiful shore will have you feeling happy and healed!


Leo

Leo, you have a knack for gathering attention with your looks and aura, so why not show them off the way you deserve? Bring your beautiful self to Venice Beach, where you can enjoy the gorgeous waves and also connect with gorgeous people!


Virgo

Virgo, a trip to the beach can’t have too much fuss or too many people, that’s why your best beach in Los Angeles is the Will Rogers State Beach! With ample parking and space, this beach isn’t as busy as the bigger beaches, and that’s why it fits right in with your vibe.


Libra

Libra, you need a beach that’s beautiful and allows you to be social. Your most aligned beach is Redondo Beach. With a buzzing pier, highly Instagrammable oceanfront restaurants, and even nightlife, you’ll get all the connection your little Libra heart needs at Redondo Beach!


Scorpio

Scorpio, you appreciate a little privacy when you go out, so you prefer places that are more intimate and serene. You’ll find just what you’re looking for at Puerco State Beach! This beach is quiet and low-profile. Make it your next beach day destination.


Sagittarius

Sagittarius, you need a beach that piques your interest, with multiple things to do and sights to see. That’s why your best beach is Escondido Beach, which is also part of a state park. You can lay out on the sand after hiking, climbing, or seeing the Escondido Falls waterfall!


Capricorn

Capricorn, you have an appreciation for the finer things in life, so you deserve a beach that has a bit of luxury. Manhattan Beach is the place for you. It’s beautiful, but not too bustling, with ample luxury shopping and dining. Give it a visit!


Aquarius

Aquarius, you need a beach that’s just as interesting as you are, but still gives you plenty of room to do more than just lay out. Look no further than Torrance Beach! You can surf, swim, bike, walk, or even fly kites at this beach. The versatility will make you feel right at home.


Pisces

Pisces, your big, beautiful beach is none other than Zuma Beach! There is nothing Pisces values more than ease and flow, and Zuma Beach offers both of those in abundance. With plenty of parking, space, nature, and water, Zuma Beach is definitely made for Pisces.


It’s time to have fun, so get out and go play! And remember to do a little cleanup as you catch your rays and admire the waves. All zodiac signs can do their part to protect our planet!

The Best Los Angeles Beach for Your Zodiac Sign

Amber Jay is an astrologer with over 10 years of astrological research under her belt. She utilizes astrology as a practical tool that is enlightening and freeing, focusing on pulling out the inherent wisdom that lies within all of us. You can find her for regular spiritual and astrological guidance at @AmberJayLightsTheWay on Instagram.

Images include altered photographs from Wikimedia Commons. Support public image libraries.



Nick Gabaldón Day will take place on Saturday, June 18, 2022 from 9AM – 4:30PM.

Nick Gabaldón (1927-1951) was a pioneering surfer of African American and Mexican American descent. He was the first documented surfer of color in the Santa Monica Bay. Gabaldón’s passion, athleticism, discipline, love, and respect for the ocean live on as the quintessential qualities of the California surfer.

In 2013, with the help of African American historian Alison Rose Jefferson, Heal the Bay joined forces with the Black Surfers Collective to amplify and expand their prior Nick Gabaldón efforts. Nick Gabaldón Day, in its current form, is now in its 10th year and will be held on June 18, 2022. This innovative celebration provides an amazing opportunity for broadening outreach, action, and education to connect Angelenos with their cultural, historical, and natural heritage.

RSVP FOR NICK GABALDÓN DAY 2022

The shoreline and waters at Bay Street in Santa Monica were an active hub of African American beach life during the Jim Crow era. This beach was popular from the 1900s to early 1960s among African American people, who sought to avoid hostile and racial discrimination they might experience at other southland beaches. Racial discrimination and restrictive covenants prevented African Americans from buying property throughout the Los Angeles region, but their community’s presence and agency sustained their oceanfront usage in Santa Monica.

In 2008, the City of Santa Monica officially recognized the “Inkwell” and Nick Gabaldón with a landmark monument at Bay Street and the Oceanfront Walk. In 2019, this same beach was listed as the Bay Street Beach Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in the African American experience and American history.

Nick Gabaldón Day introduces young and old from inland communities to the magic of the coast through free surf and ocean safety lessons, beach ecology exploration, and a history lesson about a man who followed his passion and a community who challenged anti-Black discrimination to enjoy the beach.

The Black Surfers Collective, Heal the Bay, Surf Bus Foundation, and the Santa Monica Conservancy collaborate for Nick Gabaldón Day to reach families in resource-challenged communities and connect them to meaningful educational programming. Together, we are helping build personal experiences with cultural, historical, natural heritage, and civic engagement that make up the foundation of stewardship, and the development of the next generation of heritage conservation and environmental leaders.

Heal the Bay Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier will be free for all visitors in honor of Nick on Saturday, June 18 thanks to a grant from Northrop Grumman. A celebrity guest reader will pop in for story time and special art activities will be offered, as well as screenings of documentaries exploring issues of race, coastal access, and following your passion against all odds.

Tentative Agenda: June 18, 2022

  • 9 am Welcome Ceremony and Memorial Paddle Out for Nick at Bay Street Beach
  • 10 am – 1 pm Free surf lessons, beach and local history exploration, and cleanup at Bay Street Beach. Surfers must register in advance.
  • 1 pm – 4 pm Celebration continues at Heal the Bay Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier; admission to the Aquarium is free today in honor of Nick.
    • 1 pm Documentary screening
    • 2 pm Children’s story time with special guest reader
    • 3 pm Documentary screening

Nick Gabaldón Day 2022 Partners
Black Surfers Collective
Heal the Bay
Surf Bus Foundation
Santa Monica Conservancy
Color the Water

Sponsors
Stüssy
Northrop Grumman

For more information about partnership and sponsorship opportunities please contact: Jeff Williams, Black Surfers Collective, ghettosurfn@gmail.com or Meredith McCarthy, Heal the Bay 310.451.1500 ext. 116 or mmccarthy@healthebay.org.

 



PRESS RELEASE

Upholding its dedication to science-based advocacy, the environmental group Heal the Bay today announced Tracy Quinn as its new CEO. Quinn joins the Santa Monica-based nonprofit from the Natural Resources Defense Council, where she served as the Director of California Urban Water Policy.

During her tenure, Quinn was a widely respected voice on how communities and industries across California must respond to unprecedented drought by improving water efficiency and investing in climate resilient supplies through stormwater capture and recycled water. Her strong technical background and commitment to environmental equity are clear in her leadership in addressing emerging contaminants like PFAS, advocating for cost-effective strategies to improve water reliability, and partnering with frontline groups to protect low-income households from water shutoffs.

“I am honored and humbled to lead Heal the Bay into its next chapter as we tackle increasingly challenging environmental issues and work to ensure equitable outcomes for the communities in our watersheds,” Quinn said. “As California continues to adapt to a changing climate, Heal the Bay’s legacy of science-based activism makes it well suited to address the challenges in our region.”

As a Board Member of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Quinn pushes for bold actions to conserve and protect drinking water supplies for millions of people. She also served on the boards of The Wildwoods Foundation and the California Urban Water Conservation Council.

An extensive nationwide search culminated in the hiring of Quinn, who has been tasked with amplifying Heal the Bay’s science, advocacy, education, and community action programs. While focused on the organization’s core mission of clean water and healthy watersheds, she will implement strategies to deepen Heal the Bay’s engagement in solving the most critical environmental challenges in Greater Los Angeles.

Formed more than three decades ago as a local grassroots organization, Heal the Bay successfully led the fight to require Hyperion Plant to thoroughly treat sewage before releasing into the Santa Monica Bay, thereby protecting Southern California’s coast for the many people who rely on it. The region now has even bigger threats, from climate change to an uncertain water supply to an increasing amount of toxic legacy pollutants and plastics.

“Heal the Bay will always pursue protection of our public waters and fight against pollution. We have also transformed in recent years with inclusion-focused programs,” said Sharon Lawrence, chairperson of the organization’s Board of Directors. “Clean water is essential for our communities to survive and thrive, and Tracy is perfectly equipped to continue our important work.”

Quinn, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from Cornell University and is a registered civil engineer in California, began her water-centric career in Los Angeles at Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, an engineering firm that delivers innovative water solutions in the US.

Quinn plans to lead Heal the Bay in forming smart strategic alliances and growing public participation across the diverse region of Greater Los Angeles. In the coming months, Heal the Bay will extend its impact with these key initiatives:

Upgrade River Report Card. Heal the Bay is protecting public health by increasing access to science-based water quality information for ocean, river, and stream water users. The nonprofit is going through a rigorous process to enhance its River Report Card by aligning the freshwater grading methodology with scientific standards and the well-known Beach Report Card’s “A through F” grading system.

Build Inell Woods Park. The nonprofit group is addressing water quality and supply issues for the communities most impacted by climate change. For the first time ever, Heal the Bay is building a stormwater park in collaboration with LA City Councilman Curren Price Jr. and community members! The groundbreaking for the new community-designed, multi-benefit green space Inell Woods Park is planned in South LA this year.

Ban plastic pollution. Heal the Bay is launching an advocacy campaign, targeted at Southern California voters, in support of the statewide 2022 ballot measure (California Plastic Pollution Reduction and Recycling Act), to reduce plastic pollution in communities and aquatic environments. The passionate science and policy experts are also pushing the City of LA and LA County to greenlight comprehensive ordinances that address single-use plastic waste.

Quinn formally joins Heal the Bay on May 2, taking the leadership reins from Dr. Shelley Luce, who has served as president and CEO since April 2017.

“I am so proud to leave Heal the Bay in Tracy’s hands,” says Dr. Shelley Luce. “Her focus on strong, equitable water policy will take Heal the Bay’s environmental advocacy work to the next level.”

You can read a letter from Shelley Luce about the leadership transition at Heal the Bay.

“Shelley Luce began at Heal the Bay as a PhD student, grew as a scientific expert, and then led our organization as a trusted authority, coalition builder, role model, and mentor,” shares Sharon Lawrence. “Through the global pandemic she maintained operations and steered us through environmental and public health crises while keeping the public informed and engaged. The Santa Monica Bay and communities who use it are healthier and safer because of Shelley’s years at Heal the Bay.”



Leading Heal the Bay has been one of the most wonderful and toughest experiences of my life. I am so fortunate to have worked alongside this team for the last five years. We play a critical role in protecting precious water and open space, and it is an honor to be part of it.

Heal the Bay is powerful. It is an institution, a force for good, a generator of ideas, a creator of solutions, a welcoming space to teach and learn, a place to work hard, and a space to find courage and speak the truth.

From the Beach Report Card to Measure W, from trash cleanups and plastic litter bans to stormwater permit advocacy, Heal the Bay has brought the energy and know-how to make real and lasting change.

During my tenure, our volunteers stepped up for Coastal Cleanup Month even during the height of the pandemic. Our Board Members mentored, guided, and supported our efforts through the most uncertain of times. Our staff adapted and innovated, learning new technologies and ways of working. And, they demanded more of Heal the Bay, pushing for a deeper understanding of environmental injustices and how to become more inclusive and equitable.

I am very excited to welcome Tracy Quinn as the new CEO of Heal the Bay. She steps in at a time when Heal the Bay is building. A new advocacy tool: the River Report Card, to serve millions of Californians who swim, fish, and kayak in our rivers and streams. A new park: Inell Woods Park in South LA will clean and conserve stormwater while providing green space and a cool refuge designed by the local community. A new Aquarium: larger and updated to educate millions of students and visitors to our coast. This is a great time to join the team and Tracy is the ideal person to lead Heal the Bay in all of our exciting endeavors.

I am proud of Heal the Bay because it continues to evolve. We recognize our shortfalls and make ourselves vulnerable so we can learn and grow. We know the outcome that is needed and we take risks to get there. We survive setbacks. We pull together. We invite people in. We are constant. We are joyful. We are here for good.

Thank you to the entire Heal the Bay community!

 



Earth Month is here and Heal the Bay is excited to celebrate all April long with in-person volunteer activities and hands-on training events, plus live virtual discussions and educational opportunities. Let’s learn and grow, go outside to do some good, and celebrate our amazing blue planet together because every day is Earth Day.

Individuals, households, schools, businesses, and community organizations are all invited to attend Heal the Bay’s Earth Month events. No special training or experience is required for any of our activities. Heal the Bay’s goal is to create that spark of inspiration so we can Spring Into Action for our coastal waters, rivers, creeks, and beaches in Los Angeles County. 

Spring into the Climate Challenge – Virtual

ALL MONTH LONG Action

Take a deep dive into the climate impacts on our local coastal and marine ecosystems in our Spring Into Climate Action blog. We’ll discuss the coastal impacts of the climate crisis, the main sources of the pollution that is accelerating climate change, and what you can do about it. We are not powerless in this climate crisis. Small changes at home do add up, and individual action can also take the form of supporting the systemic changes we need. Together, our actions can make huge waves!

Act Now


Scroll down for our full calendar and event details on how to get involved.

Heal the Bay Earth Month 2022 Calendar of Special Events

Anti-Plastic Advocacy Happy Hour – Virtual

Thursday, April 7, 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM PST

Heal the Bay’s Plastics Initiative team is hosting an advocacy event to provide information about current state bills and local policies that address the enormous plastic pollution issue. Attendees can participate in reducing plastic pollution in LA County and California by completing specific actions! Registration in advance is required.

RSVP For Happy Hour


Volunteer Orientation Meetup – Virtual

Monday, April 11, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM PST 

Get an introduction to Heal the Bay, our current issues, and how you can take part in our exciting volunteer programs. Founded on the principle that one person can make a difference, Heal the Bay has empowered thousands of volunteers to improve their environment, and now you can make a difference too. Our Orientation is ideal for those who want to learn more about how to take part in our beach, community science, and Aquarium programs. Registration in advance is required.

Register for Orientation


BioBlitz the Bay – In-person

Saturday, April 16, 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM PST

Heal the Bay’s MPA Watch team is adventuring out to a Marine Protected Area for an early morning tidepool tour and bioblitz. Experts will instruct guests on how to safely observe and document wildlife while discovering more about local marine ecosystems. This event is an introduction to one of Heal the Bay’s most popular community science programs where volunteers take long walks on the beach to collect data and protect precious marine habitats. Registration in advance is required.

 Register for the Bioblitz


Earth Month Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanup – In-person

Saturday, April 16, 10 AM – Noon PST

Our big Earth Month cleanup helps to ensure safe, clean, and healthy local beaches. This Nothin’ But Sand beach cleanup is a meaningful opportunity for volunteers to directly improve the condition of our beaches while enjoying the outdoors. Cleanup supplies are provided and speakers will share ocean pollution facts and safety talks for people of all ages. 

This is our first Earth Month cleanup since 2019 – at that time, 1,072 volunteers picked up 271 pounds of trash and debris that would have otherwise entered our ocean. This year we are restricting capacity due to health and safety concerns from the pandemic. Please note: April’s cleanup location will be provided in a CONFIRMATION EMAIL after you complete the registration at Eventbrite.

If the event says it is SOLD OUT, you can still come! Please bring your own gloves and buckets to participate in the cleanup. For those of you who can’t register because it is sold out, we will announce the location on the Eventbrite page a few days before the cleanup, so check back then to find out where we will be.

Special perks for volunteers: Stay energized at our Earth Month Nothin’ But Sand cleanup in April with FREE coffee provided by Don Francisco’s coffee truck. Just by participating in the cleanup, 3 lucky volunteers will win free coffee for a year from Don Francisco.

Sign Up for Nothin’ But Sand

A BIG thank you to our April Nothin’ But Sand Sponsors 

Don Francisos 

Amalfi Estates 

Interactive Brokers

ARES Management

EarthDay.org


FREE Beach Wheelchair Rentals & Beach Exploration with Heal the Bay Aquarium – In-person

Saturday, April 16, 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM PST 

Need a Beach Wheelchair to enjoy some fun in the sun? Everyone should be able to enjoy a day at the beach, so come to Heal the Bay Aquarium to access our manual, beach wheelchairs, available for FREE public rentals.

Once you’re on the shore, take part in the Earth Month Nothin’ But Sand Cleanup or join Heal the Bay Aquarium staff for a guided beach exploration to learn more about the California coast and the thriving ecosystems we strive to protect.

Pick Up Location Details

Heal the Bay’s Beach Wheelchair rental program helps provide accessibility to one of nature’s most inspiring and critically important resources, and was made possible thanks to funding from The Coastal Conservancy. Learn more about our Beach Wheelchair Rental Program: https://healthebay.org/beach-wheelchairs-santa-monica-pier/


Heal the Bay Aquarium Earth Month Celebration – In-person 

Saturday, April 16, Noon – 4 PM PST 

The award-winning Heal the Bay Aquarium located at the Santa Monica Pier has programmed an afternoon filled with fun Earth Month activities. Featuring exciting exhibits and demonstrations, it’s a great way for the entire family to experience the Santa Monica Bay and observe the local animals that call it home.

Our Aquarium’s Earth Day schedule includes:

  • “Who Pollutes?” Dorothy Green Room Special Presentation –  12:30 PM and 2:30 PM
  • Saturday Sea Star Feedings –  1:00 PM and 3:00 PM
  • Earth Day Story Time – 2:00 PM

Crafts, pollution displays, and short films will round out our afternoon of activities. 

Visit Heal the Bay Aquarium


Heal the Bay Stream Team Live on Instagram – Virtual

Wednesday, April 20, 3:30 PM – 4 PM PST

Immerse yourself in the science of water quality without getting your feet wet. Dive into a live discussion on @healthebay Instagram with Heal the Bay’s Stream Team and learn about how to start your impactful journey into the world of environmental careers.

Follow HTB on Instagram


Heal the Bay Aquarium Live on Instagram – Virtual

Friday, April 22, at 1 PM PST

Sunshine shining through underwater kelp forest in Channel Islands California

On Earth Day, Heal the Bay Aquarium will host an Instagram Live featuring our Under the Pier Exhibit. Virtual visitors can learn all about local animal species that live in the Santa Monica Bay, including the critically endangered giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas), and view live feeding demonstrations. Swim by @healthebayaquarium on Friday, April 22 at 1:00 PM PST, and “shell-ebrate” Earth Day with us.

Follow AQ on Instagram


Earth Day Beach Cleanup with Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi

Saturday, April 23, at 9 AM – 10:30 AM PST

Join Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi at Miramar Park for a Cleanup of Torrance Beach. Community members will have the chance to discuss environmental policy with the Assemblymember as well as meet with our local partners. Please check the weather in advance and dress appropriately. This event is supported by local partners including Heal the Bay, Grades of Green and the Sierra Club Palos Verdes-South Bay.

Get More Information


Community Educational Resource Fair at MacArthur Park Lakeside

Saturday, April 23, at 9 AM – 10:30 AM PST

LA Sanitation and partners are hosting an educational feria, or fair, full of fun activities for the whole family to enjoy while learning about the MacArthur Park’s upcoming improvements. Join in on Saturday, April 23rd for the latest updates on the MacArthur Lake Stormwater Capture Project and learn how this awesome initiative will benefit both the community and the environment. You’ll also have an opportunity to share your input regarding the in-progress project’s above-ground features. No registration is required for this public event on the park’s West side.

Learn More about the Project


Place, Power & Justice: Land Rematriation Now Panel – Virtual

Wednesday, April 27, 6:30pm – 7:30 pm PST

Jointly hosted and co-moderated by Sacred Places Institute for Indigenous Peoples and Heal the Bay in honor of Earth Month, the panel includes experts and activists in the Land/Water Back and Rematriation Movement. The panel will be held via Zoom and streamed to Facebook Live.  And, follow us on Facebook for the latest updates. Registration for the Zoom is required in advance.

Attend the Panel 

Follow Us on Facebook 


Gear Up for Earth Day with Heal the Bay 

All Month Long

Nothing says Earth Day like swag from Heal the Bay. Use promo code EARTHLOVE for 10% off everything in the Heal the Bay online store from April 1 – April 30, 2022.

Shop the Bay 


Make waves for a sustainable future in Greater Los Angeles, by making your Earth Month donation to Heal the Bay.

  • Inspire Local Youth: Your $25 gift can provide 1 student with a marine science education experience.
  • Tackle Toxic Plastics: Your $50 gift can train 2 volunteers to fight plastic pollution with strong advocacy.
  • Restore Our Rivers: Your $100 gift can underwrite 1 week of water quality monitoring in local freshwater spots
  • Protect Clean Water: Your $500 gift can fund campaigns to hold polluters accountable for pollutants in the Bay

DONATE 



THE CALIFORNIA COASTLINE consists of various habitats including kelp forests, estuaries, wetlands, rocky reefs, and rocky intertidal zones (also known as tide pools). All of these habitats are vital natural resources that support thriving ecosystems, which in turn support healthy communities; provide economic and recreational value; and offer a natural form of climate resilience by dampening effects of sea level rise as well as absorbing the majority of our fossil fuel emissions and the extra heat as global temperatures rise.  

“… to promote the public safety, health, and welfare, and to protect public and private property, wildlife, marine fisheries, and other ocean resources, and the natural environment, it is necessary to protect the ecological balance of the coastal zone and prevent its deterioration and destruction.” – CA Coastal Act 

Oceans have served as a climate buffer for decades, but this has come at great cost because the climate crisis, accelerated by human activities, has altered the oceans’ natural processes. We see increasing ocean acidification, higher water temperatures, more frequent harmful algal blooms, disruption of ocean circulation, and rising sea levels that physically alter coastal habitats. In addition to these impacts from the climate crisis, stormwater pollution, plastic, and other contaminants affect our rivers, lakes, and ocean every day. Even now, in the 50th year of the Clean Water Act, half of US waters remain too polluted to serve their intended beneficial uses, such as water supply, recreation, habitat, and more.  

For more information about local impacts, check out Heal the Bay’s 2021 Climate Change Aquarium Tour where our Senior Education Manager, Kelly Kelly, explains the climate impacts on the coastal and intertidal habitats of the Santa Monica Bay.  

 

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A post shared by Heal the Bay (@healthebay)

@healthebay – Climate Change Aquarium Tour

In spite of all of these destructive impacts, our coastal and marine ecosystems persist. Without even having to get into the water, we can observe this incredible resilience within intertidal ecosystems. Tide pool habitat conditions shift throughout the day as the tides rise and fall, from exposure to dry air and UV radiation, to complete submergence in ocean water. The organisms that live in these habitats have evolved to thrive under constantly changing conditions – dry vs. wet, hot vs. cold, exposed to land-based predators vs. not, and fluctuations in salinity as well. They may even survive as sea level rises, but only if they are given enough time to adapt, and enough room to move up shore. That part is up to us. If we drastically reduce our fossil fuel emissions, and even work to draw carbon back out of the atmosphere with nature-based solutions, we can slow climate change enough to allow for adaptation within these coastal ecosystems, as well as in our own human communities through practices such as managed retreat and protection through living shorelines. Slowing the rate of climate change will take immense and immediate action.  

Take the Climate Challenge 

We know that that majority of fossil fuel emissions (71%, in fact!) are from big corporations and extraction operations. But we are not powerless in this climate crisis. Individual action adds up and provides us with a daily reminder of why this fight matters. Beyond that, individual action can also take the form of supporting the systemic change and resilient policies that we need to tackle the biggest sources of emissions. Whether you have money, time, creativity, passion, or something else entirely your own, we all have a unique role that we can play. You can start with small changes at home, or do your part for critical systemic change by signing petitions or calling political representatives. Together, our actions can make huge waves. 

Get involved this weekend by joining Heal the Bay’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) Watch team for an early morning tide pool tour and bioblitz – a biological survey recording the species living within a designated area — to document the current state of this critical intertidal ecosystem.  

Want to do more? Consider the skills, experiences, and resources you have to offer and create a personal list of climate actions. Spring into Action today by doing one thing on this list, and then use that momentum to do what you can, when you can, with what you have all year long.  

Here are some ideas to choose from to get you started with your personalized climate challenge… 

Where We Live 

  • Pick up trash around your neighborhood 
  • Ditch single-use plastic and switch to reusables at home
  • Refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle our waste – yes the order matters!
  • Remove any hardscape or lawn on your property and replace it with a vegetable garden or drought tolerant native vegetation
  • Start or join a community garden
  • Sign up for Green Power if you live in the City of LA, or opt into 100% renewable energy if your city is part of the Clean Power Alliance
  • Reduce your energy needs
    • Turn off lights, unplug unused electronics, and swap out old lights with LEDs (once the bulbs burn out)
    • Bring in a professional to insulate your home, or find simple swaps around the house like adding thick curtains around your windows
    • Set your thermostat for maximum energy (and cost) savings, or regulate temperature without a thermostat by opening/closing windows and using those thick curtains
    • Wash clothes in cold water, and hang dry rather than using the dryer
  • Decrease your water usage

How We Commute 

  • Telecommute if it is an option 
  • Choose public transportation 
  • Walk or skateboard for shorter distances 
  • Ride a bicycle 
  • Support projects that improve access to alternative and active transportation  
  • If you must drive… 
    • Carpool 
    • Invest in a hybrid or electric vehicle 
    • Use car sharing services with electric vehicles 
    • Make sure your vehicle is in tiptop shape for optimal efficiency (secure gas cap, inflate tires, etc.) 

What We Eat 

What We Learn 

How We Vote 

  • Vote in local, statewide and national elections! 
  • Support just and equitable environmental policies in support of:   
    • Climate resiliency 
    • A tax on carbon 
    • The end of fossil fuels 
    • Regenerative agriculture 
    • Renewable energy 
    • A reduction in plastic waste 
  • Be an advocate 
    • Attend and give public comments at local Agency, City Council, or County Board of Supervisor meetings  
    • Send a letter to your representatives so they know climate action is important to you, because they may represent you on the global stage (COP26) 
    • Participate in public demonstrations and rallies with groups like Youth Climate Strike Los Angeles 
    • Sign petitions 
    • Create climate inspired art and share it with the world 

Questions about any of these possible actions?  Contact Annelisa Moe here at Heal the Bay for more information or support in your advocacy work! 



At Heal the Bay we love our volunteers to the moon and back! After a two-year pandemic hiatus, we could not wait to celebrate those individuals that give so much to Heal the Bay with an out-of-this-world party at the Heal the Bay Aquarium.

The Heal the Bay 32nd Annual Volunteer Appreciation Party

Our volunteers are the rocket fuel that allows Heal the Bay to shoot for the stars when it comes to educating the public, local outreach, aquarium care, making an environmental impact, and everything in between. Amid a global pandemic, their dedication, passion, and love for our environment are the heart that kept and keep us going. We are only able to celebrate so many successes because of the time, dedication, and support our volunteers so graciously donate.

Our 2021 Volunteer Accomplishments include:

· Over 1793 hours of Aquarium volunteers hours contributed in 2021 as they interpreted at touch tanks, supported field trips, and assisted in caring for our animals.

· Our MPA Watch volunteers conducted dozens of surveys in 2021 to monitor use in the Palos Verdes and Malibu MPA sites.

· Heal the Bay continued our legacy of community commitment by enriching the lives of thousands of LA County residents through our Speakers Bureau program.

· Thousands of volunteers helped picked up trash from the greater L.A’s shorelines and neighborhoods last year. On Coastal Cleanup Day, we had 2,735 volunteers remove more than 5,051 lbs of trash from our waterways and neighborhoods.

Thank you again Heal the Bay Volunteers!

Our star-studded party sponsors

We’d also like to take a moment to acknowledge our party Sponsors who supplied the raffle prizes and amazing refreshments that kept the party going.

Our stellar snacks, wraps, and sandwiches were provided by our lunch caterer Good Heart Catering.
The out-of-this-world donuts were donated by DKs Donuts, while Starbucks and Pacific Park donated some space-tacular raffle prizes.

Taking A Moment to Honor our Superstars

And of course, where would we be without our stellar 2021 Super Healers? These are our most dedicated volunteers, who continually go above and beyond the call of duty.

Their commitment is commendable, their dedication and passion for protecting water quality and the environment undeniable.

We’re proud to honor the following outstanding individuals with the prestigious 2021 Super Healer Award:

Justin Green -2021 Super Healer

Justin is a Santa Monica local who grew up coming to the aquarium for field trips. He’s always loved the Ocean and volunteering has only strengthened that bond. Justin even aspires to be a future aquarist! He has been volunteering at the aquarium for two years with both the Public Programs team and Aquarist Operations. His dedication and fearless drive to dive in headfirst wherever he is needed make so many programs possible and we are very honored he is part of our Heal the Bay Aquarium family.

 

 

 

 


 

Ian Brown -2021 Super Healer

Ian has grown up visiting the Aquarium (even hosting one of his childhood birthday parties here), and has been volunteering at the Aquarium for the past two years starting with our Public Programs, and later joining our Aquarist Operations. Ian’s dedication to education is truly inspiring and he is always researching new marine science facts to share with the public. The Aquarium team is always learning something new every time Ian volunteers. We are so thankful to Ian for all of his dedicated service, and for inspiring our visitors to get as excited and passionate as he is about the marine environment, and protecting what we all love.

 

 


 

 

Crystal Sandoval -2021 Super Healer

Crystal has been volunteering/interning within the Education Department for many years now. We’ve seen her learn and grow both within her capacities within our department, and also personally. She is constantly growing and is more than willing to go above and beyond for us. We cannot wait to see what else she will accomplish!

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

John Wells – 2021 Super Healer

Our MPA Watch program, which collects data on the human use of our local marine protected areas, would not be where it is today with out John Wells. Over the past two years, John has dedicated hundreds of hours to conducting MPA Watch surveys and in 2020, he was responsible for over HALF of all our surveys. John single-handedly kept our program charging forward, providing us with feedback whenever we asked and even befriending a local Fish and Game warden. We are deeply grateful for his rock star accomplishments!

John Wells has lived in four states, two of which are located near the ocean: Arizona, California, New York, and Colorado. When everyone else was moving in the opposite direction, John moved back to Los Angeles from Colorado Springs upon retirement in 2018. He earned degrees in Biochemistry from Cal State LA and UCLA, and ever the environmentalist, he worked as a chemical analyst measuring EPA Priority Pollutants in the 1980s. More recently he explored careers in grounds and building maintenance and instruction in school bus driving. Our 2021 MPA program was extremely successful because of his tireless dedication.

 

 


 

 

Oralia Michel -2021 Board Member Super Healer

Oralia Michel has been on our Board for 10 years. She takes her role very seriously, attending nearly every meeting and providing helpful ideas and feedback while always pushing us to do better. Oralia was on our Marketing Committee for many years where she applied her expertise in corporate partnerships and branding, putting in many hours to help Heal the Bay craft messaging and win over the hearts and minds of Angelinos. As Secretary of the Board since early 2021, she has been a voice for equity and inclusion on the Board and staff: she never hesitates to speak up and support transformative work to address inequities in our environment and our work for clean water. Oralia also served on our Search Committee a 6-month process to which she contributed enormous time and thoughtful input. Oralia’s creativity, constant support, and true friendship with our organization make her invaluable and a true Super Healer.

 

 


 

 

John Reyes -The Jean Howell Award


The Jean Howell Award recognizes the outstanding achievement in volunteer service of someone who has won a Super Healer Award in the past and this year the vote for our winner was unanimous. John Reyes is a LA native who has been involved with Heal the Bay since 2016, initially involved with HTB’s Nothin’ But Sand beach program and California Coastal Commission’s Adopt-A-Beach partnership with his family and friends. In addition, John has committed to being a Storm Response Team member, a California Coastal Cleanup Day captain, and a major component of the Suits on the Sand program. His dedication has included hundreds of hours of beach program involvement and has permitted him to average double-digit beach cleanups year after year! John’s passion for marine debris removal is only rivaled by his enthusiasm for native habitat restoration, especially within sensitive island ecosystems. He has been recognized for his outstanding contribution to restoring native habitats within California Channel Islands and is proud member #126 of the California Channel Islands’ exclusive “All 8 Club.” John’s outstanding contributions to Heal the Bay’s work earned him the Super Healer award in 2018, and he played a major role in the success of Heal the Bay’s in-person programming throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

 


 

 

Dave Weeshoff-Bob Hertz Award

The Bob Hertz award is Heal the Bay’s lifetime award recognizing volunteers who have given us a lifetime of extraordinary volunteer service and there is no one who deserves the recognition more than Dave. This Award is for volunteers who show up day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year. Dave has done so much for Heal the Bay, it’s almost impossible to capture it all, but his work on the 2021 advocacy for the Regional MS4 (Stormwater) Permit stands out among his many contributions. This single permit covers 99 permittees across the Los Angeles Region, and addresses the primary source of pollution to our surface water: stormwater. It was a massive undertaking. Dave not only provided written comments on the draft permit back in 2020 urging the Regional Board to make changes to the draft and adopt a strong permit, but he also did extra work to get others to sign  his letter, making an even greater impact. He also attended multiple MS4 Workshop events and provided oral comments during at least three of these events. On top of all of that, Dave even joined me for two strategy meetings to parse through the trash prohibition language of the permit and find ways to improve it. We did not end up getting exactly what we wanted in this new permit, but we did get commitments for more accountability that we are finally starting to see. I am so pleased to nominate Dave for his outstanding advocacy work to help reduce stormwater pollution in Los Angeles.



Cigarette filters made from single-use plastic are a huge environmental problem, butt (pun intended), upcoming California legislation offers the first steps toward a solution.

Cigarette Butts are the #1 thing we find at our Nothin’ But Sand Beach Cleanups.

Heal the Bay cleanup volunteers have removed a total of 953,756 cigarette butts from beaches in Los Angeles since 2008. Although we are proud of this impact, the pollution problem is never-ending and what is especially concerning is that the filters in cigarettes are made from plastic, which never goes away. Cigarette butts are not only the most prevalent thing we find on our beach cleanups, they are the most littered item on Earth. For an item so small, they have a massive negative impact on marine habitats.

Not People Friendly, Not Planet Friendly

But aren’t cigarette filters an important public health and safety measure? Contrary to popular belief cigarette filters do not offer health protections. In 1964 the Surgeon General judged cigarette filters to be useless in reducing harm to the average smoker and the health benefits of filters have been called “fraudulent” by the World Health Organization.

Cigarette filters are unhealthy for fish and wildlife too. When cigarette butts with filters are thrown onto the street, they make their way through the storm drain system that flows out to the ocean, carrying the chemicals and toxins found in cigarettes with them. About 90% of filters are made from plastic and end up as micro-plastics in our ocean, which have infiltrated the food web, from fish to humans. Butt, a plan to take single-use plastic filters out of the equation is on the horizon.

Butt, a change is coming!

This year, The Smoking Waste Pollution Prevention Act looks to phase out the sale of single-use, non-rechargeable vaping devices and cigarette/cigar “filters” in California. When our state makes big moves toward change it gives other states the opportunity to follow and before you know it there could be nation-wide change. Use your voice to bring this change to California first. How can you help?

Call or email your California Legislators and ask them to vote YES on AB 1690 at the Assembly Health Committee on March 29 (it takes 3 minutes).

  1. Find your rep here: Find Address (ca.gov)
  2. Call your rep and say:
    1. My name is (your name).
    2. I live (state the city you live in).
    3. I want you to vote YES on AB 1690!
  3. Email your rep and say:
    1. My name is (your name).
    2. I live in (city you live in).
    3. I want you to vote YES on AB 1690

Or download this long form email template you can customize and send a message to your assembly member that could make a huge impact.

Download Email Template

Put an end to butts on the beach (the bad kind!)

Spread the word and share what you’ve learned on social media using the hashtags #AB1690, #CircularEconomy, and #CAMustLEAD! Most people have no idea that cigarette butts are so detrimental to the environment, but when we share what we know we can empower others to help make change.



Are you ready to advocate for your community? Your region? Your planet? Share your passion with decision-makers using this “how-to” on crafting and delivering written and oral comments. Annelisa Moe, Water Quality Scientist at Heal the Bay (who’s given her fair share of public testimony on local environmental issues) shares tips on how to make public comments and advocate for clean water.

Have you ever wanted to make a real impact on an issue you care about? Maybe you want to discuss getting safer bike lanes, smaller trash bins, or clean water for your community.

One great way to connect with policymakers and officials is by submitting public comments. Heal the Bay regularly submits written and oral comments and over the years, we have seen the direct positive impacts of our advocacy on decision making organizations like the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board, LA City Council, CA Coastal Commission, CA Fish & Game Commission, LA County Board of Supervisors, and many more.

Here is Heal the Bay’s Step-by-Step guide on how you can write up and deliver your public comments to advocate for the change you want to see in the world. You have valuable experiences and information to provide to decision-makers and you have everything it takes to become a powerful advocate for the changes you want to see in your community. Let’s get started.

Annelisa Moe, Water Quality Scientist at Heal the Bay and advocate for water quality regulation, shares her thoughts at MS4 Permit hearing last summer. Before joining Heal the Bay, Moe worked with the Regional Water Quality Control Board.

Step I: Identify Your Influencer

The first step toward constructing the perfect public comment is identifying the right decision-maker to engage. This could include influencers from a wide variety of public offices, from Neighborhood Council Members to Senators. These decision-makers want to hear from the public, especially from constituents like you, and oftentimes this input informs their initiatives.

Step II: Gather Information

Every decision-maker (State Board, Committee, Senator, Council Member, etc.) will have their preferred way for you to sign up to speak or send in written comments, and it can be pretty confusing – even for professionals who give public comments for a living! Once you identify who you want to communicate with, look online for the following:

  1. A meeting agenda for the Council or Committee you are interested in
  2. Detailed information on how to submit written or oral comments
  3. Deadlines on written comments and time limits for oral comments
  4. Contact information for an elected official or decision-making body.
  5. Reach out to Heal the Bay for research help if you get stuck.

Step III: Create Your Comment

Providing Written Comments

Written comments could be a more formal written letter, or something a little less formal like an email or online submission. No matter what the format is, these seven basic elements provide a good place to start:

  1. Address the decision-maker, and introduce yourself
  2. State what you are commenting on and why (provide an agenda # if applicable)
  3. Provide a personal story or anecdote
  4. Add in stats, facts, and figures (if you have them)
  5. End stating your position again and thanking the decision-maker(s) for the opportunity to comment
  6. Ask a peer to proofread your comment and edit for spelling, grammar, consistent spacing, and font type
  7. Emphasize importance by repeating certain phrases, or by adding bold, italics, or underline effects to your text (sparingly)

Keep in mind that you do not have to write a novel. A comment of any length can have an impact, especially if you write in your voice and get creative. It doesn’t matter if there is a small error or something that you missed; the important part is that you are sharing your opinion and your passion with people and organizations who can influence big decisions.

To see a (rather exceptional) example, take a look at this comment letter by a college student (and former Heal the Bay intern) Aminah Grant, sent to the Regional Water Board in 2020 concerning their decision on the regional stormwater permit.

Read Aminah Grant’s Comment Letter

Providing Oral Comments at a Public Meeting 

Perhaps you’d rather show up in person (or virtually, as is common these days) to a meeting and speak directly to the decision-makers. A little bit of prep work can help here, too.

The public comment period at most meetings is usually time-limited, and that time can range anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes. To make sure you do not run out of time, or leave out some important information, we recommend writing out your comments to reference while you speak.

Write out a full script and read your comment word for word or use bullet points to guide your comments more naturally. In either case, your oral comment should include the same seven basic elements as a written comment (review in the written comments section above).

Be sure to practice saying your comment aloud with a timer to get comfortable and ensure you are under the time limit. It can be helpful to do this with a friend who is willing to listen and provide feedback. Try to make sure you are familiar with the platform on which the meeting will be hosted (e.g. Zoom, WebEx), how to give public comments at your specific meeting, and if and when you might need to register for that meeting. When it comes time to give your comment at the meeting, remember to be clear and concise, take your time and breathe, annunciate, and speak more slowly than you think you need to (we all tend to speed up when we are nervous).

To hear a (rather exceptional) example, listen to this comment by a high school student (and former Club Heal the Bay member) Bella Wash at a Regional Water Board meeting, concerning their decision on the regional stormwater permit.

Step IV: Submit Your Comment

When you use your voice to advocate for change our policymakers listen, and you don’t have to do it alone. You can inspire others in your community to use their voices and public comments to improve the world around you and as always Heal the Bay is here to help empower you! Contact Heal the Bay when you need help and jumpstart your journey as an advocate today.