Heal the Bay Blog

Category: More Ways to Give

As the nation takes stock on this Giving Tuesday, think about what the Bay means to you and your family. We can’t take our region’s greatest resource for granted. If you’re not already a supporter, please make this the day to donate to Heal the Bay, the longest-serving watchdog for Southern California’s beaches and ocean.

For a $35 donation, you can become a member of Heal the Bay and take pride in protecting what you love. The ocean belongs to all of us, and it’s up to all of us to care for it. It’s a great day to join us!

 It may be Giving Tuesday, but consider what our local beaches and ocean give to us every day of the year:

  • Sustenance  The ocean provides 70% of the world’s oxygen. Santa Monica Bay, home to thousands of marine species, is part of  an amazing local ecosystem.
  • Prosperity  Nearly 400,000 jobs in Los Angeles County are ocean-related, responsible for $10 billion annually in wages and $20 billion in goods and services. 
  • Connection  We are all linked to the sea via L.A.’s network of watersheds.  A day on the beach binds us together, regardless of our background.
Donate to Heal the Bay on Giving Tuesday #GivingTuesday

Yes, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday began as marketing gimmicks. But the reality is that December is a critical month for us. Nearly 70% of private donations to Heal the Bay are made in the final two months of the year. 

Private donors fund our annual operating budget. With recent cutbacks in government funding, contributions from individual donors like you are critical for maintaining proven and effective programs that keep our shorelines clean, healthy and safe.

As the year-end holidays approach, our local waters face a number of threats – from oil drilling off Hermosa Beach to a proposed string of desalination plants along the California coastline. Your gift today will help us hit the ground running next year and stand up for the bay we all love.

Fatigued by gift cards and e-commerce sites, but exhilarated by the wonders of the ocean? Here are some ways you can simultaneously show some appreciation to our beautiful Bay AND to your loved ones this year by benefiting our work at Heal the Bay:

Your contribution will benefit our work to keep Southern California’s waters safe, healthy and clean. Thank you!

Heal the Bay staff were a little startled to discover a young woman dressed up as an Australian marsupial at a recent cleanup in Compton Creek

Chanel Hason donned the costume to help garner votes via social media in a “Best Job in the World” competition, sponsored by Tourism Australia. She had hoped to earn a gig as a wildlife caretaker. Despite her creative efforts, she didn’t end up winning. But the stunt introduced the ocean enthusiast to a lot of new places, such as Compton Creek. “I’d never been in that riverbed before. It was so urban and I was happy to see that there were so many people,” recalls Chanel, a  Pasadena resident.

A longtime Heal the Bay supporter, Chanel has also joined us underwater for the SCUBA portion of Coastal Cleanup Day and persuaded her aunt, furniture designer Brenda Houston, to donate a portion of her sales to support Heal the Bay.

On December 20, Chanel’s representing the United States as she vies for the title of “Miss Scuba International,” which she says is focused on marine conservation rather than a “typical beauty contest.” The winner will spend a year “educating, inspiring…all of us to do our best to safeguard our oceans.” And if Chanel emerges the victor, she’s promised to donate a portion of her proceeds to Heal the Bay. Good luck, Chanel!

Find out more about Chanel’s Miss Scuba campaign at

Sarah Sikich, Heal the Bay’s Director of Coastal Resources, heads to France to share the good news about our state’s blossoming Marine Protected Areas.

If you’ve been lucky enough to go for a dive, surf, or kayak at the Channel Islands, it’s hard not to be captivated by the cathedral kelp forests, large fish cruising the reef, and the occasional harbor seal’s shy game of peek-a-boo.

Sea Lion checking out diver in Santa Barbara Island's Marine Protected Area MPAThese Islands, along with special places throughout the entire California coast, enjoy state protections that allow the marine wildlife inside to thrive. Like underwater parks, the marine protected areas (MPAs for short) here act as safe havens for the garibaldi, black seabass, and giant kelp forests that call Southern California’s coastline home. And, the good news is that globally, MPAs are on the rise. There are more than 6,000 MPAs worldwide, yet less than 2% of our oceans is protected.

Next week, ocean scientists, policymakers, leaders, and conservation professionals will be convening in France to share ideas about how to foster MPA effectiveness around the world at the 2013 International Marine Protected Areas Congress.  And Heal the Bay’s story will be among those in the fold. As one of the prime  players in the establishment of MPAs in the Golden State, we will be part of  a California delegation heading to Marseilles to spread the good news.

We will be sharing stories about California’s MPAs and showcasing the Marine Life Protection Act as a model for other nations that want to build effective community engagement and science-based planning in their MPA development. We’ll also bring back MPA stories from around the world that may enhance MPA stewardship on our coast.

Next time you visit a California MPA to enjoy the majestic kelp forest, just think that at the same time someone else might be enjoying the corals along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, whale sharks in Mozambique, or diving iguanas in the Galapagos.

Please look for our daily blog posts, photos and videos from the conference:

Bon Voyage!

As a THANK YOU for being a special part of our family, Heal the Bay invites you to one of our members-only (and mostly free) events. These are great ways to meet new people who care about our oceans, learn a little bit more about something that interests you, and have fun!

RSVP’s are a must, and we always have a waiting list. Please commit to updating your RSVP if anything changes.

If you have questions and to RSVP, please email Hallie Jones. Location details and more will be sent with your confirmation.

Here’s a list of some upcoming member events:

Learn to Stand-Up-Paddle with Olympus SUP and Heal the Bay!

What: Friday sunset paddle for beginners led by Olympus SUP expert staff.

When: Friday October 4, 2013 4-6:30 p.m.

Where: Redondo Harbor

Cost: A special $15 rate (normally $40) 

Join expert paddling teachers from Olympus SUP in a Sunset tour of Redondo Harbor open ONLY to Heal the Bay members and guests for a flat $15 fee per person. No paddling experience required. Olympus will provide boards, paddles and basic instruction. Register now.

Hike with Heal the Bay!

What: A hike and birdwatching expedition through beautiful Malibu Creek State Park with Heal the Bay and National Park Service Scientists.

When: Saturday October 5, 2013 9-11 a.m.

Where: Malibu Creek State Park, 2028 Las Virgenes Rd. Calabasas, CA 91302

Cost: FREE for members and a guest. $5 for additional guests.

Heal the Bay Watershed Scientist Katherine Pease and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Wildlife Ecologist Katy Delaney will lead Heal the Bay members on a morning hike and birdwatching expedition in Malibu Creek State Park. Your knowledgeable guides will describe and point out some of the 1,000 plant species, 400 species of birds, 35 reptile and amphibian species, and 45 mammal species that call the Santa Monica Mountains home.

Free Yoga for Heal the Bay Members

What: Special yoga class open only to Heal the Bay members. Guests require a $5 donation.

When: Saturday November 2, 2013 4:30 – 6:30pm

Where: Golden Bridge Yoga, 719 Broadway, Santa Monica

Cost: FREE for members and guests.

Tidepooling Tour

What: South Bay tidepooling tour with Heal the Bay’s marine biologists and educators.

When: Saturday January 11, 2013 1- 3:30 p.m.

Where: White’s Point, Palos Verdes Peninsula

Cost: FREE for members and a guest. $5 for additional guests.

Join Heal the Bay’s marine biologists and expert educators as they lead a tour of White’s Point, one of the best tidepooling spots in Los Angeles, on one of the lowest tides of the year.  Be prepared to scramble over some sharp rocks in the hunt for fish, inverts, and maybe even a baby octopus or two!



You win some, you lose some. And some fights just are too soon to call.

Heal the Bay was a big winner this week at the FOX TV Eco Casino night (pictured right). Not only were we one of the evening’s beneficiaries, but some of us got to attend this swell Hollywood party. We thank FOX for continuing to support our work with this lively event.

Also in the win column: We feel resplendent in our new Patagonia gear, which the apparel company donated to outfit our Aquarium and Stream Team staff and volunteers (pictured below). Big thanks to Patagonia for their colorful—yet practical—contributions to environmental health!

In the “too close to call” category, this week we learned that the State Assembly rejected a bill that would have granted stronger enforcement powers to the California Coastal Commission. We supported AB 976, which will now be delayed at least year.

However, we are grateful to our many supporters who not only contacted their legislators in favor of the bill, but also traveled to Sacramento to testify on its behalf. Thank you especially to the Black Surfers Collective. We hope you sustain your efforts to make beaches accessible to everyone.

Feeling feisty? Check out Heal the Bay’s Action Alert page to find out which issues on our front burner.

Aquarist Jackie Cannata and Operations Manager Jose Bacallao model their Patagonia wear at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

We’ve got some big news at Heal the Bay! After an extensive national search, we’re proud to announce that beginning Sept. 16, Ruskin Hartley will be Heal the Bay’s new CEO. Conservationists may recognize Ruskin’s name from his prolific work protecting California redwoods, but for those who don’t, here are the top ten things you need to know about the veteran environmentalist. 

1. Ruskin worked at the Save the Redwoods League in San Francisco for 15 years, six of those years as the Executive Director. In its nearly 100 year history, The League helped protect over 180,000 acres of redwood forest and create over 39 redwood state parks and preserves.

2. Ruskin was born and raised in rural southern England by an architect and urban planner and trained as a geographer at Cambridge University. 

3. He was asleep in Kuwait City when Iraq invaded Kuwait leading up to the Gulf War. Subsequently, he spent two years in Kuwait as an environmental planner working on the country’s third post-war reconstruction plan.

4. He’s seen every episode of Battlestar Galactica

5. Clean and healthy water has always been part of Ruskin’s mission. He spent a summer in Oman researching traditional irrigation systems and groundwater recharge. He also studied rural development at the University of East Anglia (that’s in the UK!). 

6. He’s a cricket fan and is learning to love baseball. 

7. He helped add the 25,000-acres Mill Creek property to the Redwood National and State Parks, the largest acquisition in Save the Redwood League’s history.

8. He learned to skateboard for the first time as an adult this year. He rode a longboard while his older son skated on a “trixie.” 

9. He’s tall. And don’t forget that British accent. 

10. Finally, he likes to tweet. A lot. Follow him at @ruskinhartley.

You can meet Ruskin while on the beach this Coastal Cleanup Day on September 21, 2013. For more information on Ruskin, read our full press release, visit his website or watch the video below where Ruskin describes his involvement with the Save the Redwoods League.

Just in time for the last hurrah of summer, beachgoers on the West Coast can head to the shore this Labor Day secure that they’ll be swimming and playing in healthy water.  According to the 2013 End of Summer Beach Report Card®, beach water quality in California, Oregon and Washington was excellent for the fourth consecutive summer.

We collected water quality data at more than 640 monitoring locations along the West Coast between Memorial Day and Aug. 21, 2013. Then we assigned an A-to-F grade based on bacterial pollution levels. Nearly 96% of California beaches earned an A or B grade. Washington earned A or B grades at 91% of its beaches, and Oregon earned all A grades for the fourth consecutive year. 

To find out which beaches didn’t make the grade and how your county stacks up, consult our 2013 End of Summer Beach Report Card®:

Beachgoers can find out which beaches are safe, check recent water quality history and look up details on beach closures using our Beach Report Card. On the go? Download a free Beach Report Card mobile app for iPhone or Android.

Whether it’s good beer or good beaches, you’ve got to have clean water.

We’d like to thank the good people at 213 Nightlife (especially principals Cedd Moses and Alan Verge) for helping us keep our local waters clean by making Heal the Bay the beneficiary of their well-run 4th annual L.A. Craft Beer Crawl last weekend.

While the beer crawl was happening in the “213,” in the “310,” Golden Bridge Yoga was celebrating its new Santa Monica location, with proceeds from the day of yoga and music going to HtB and Childrens Hospital. Thank you to Golden Bridge!

We are also grateful to employees from Northrop Grumman, who cleaned Dockweiler Beach on August 10 (pictured). More than 100 volunteers removed 157.5 pounds of trash and collected almost 3500 cigarette butts (which they plan to recycle via Terracycle.) The winning debris removal teams were: Trash Busters, Trash Patrol and Help’n Hornets.

Northrop Grumman

You can also make a big difference by picking up trash on Coastal Cleanup Day, Sept. 21, 2013. Gather your friends, teammates, scout troops, students and family for a cleanup close to you. You can find a site conveniently located for everyone at

My name is Barrett, and I’m a volunteer for Heal the Bay. But I don’t just support Heal the Bay with my time. This year, I became a dues-paying member as well.

Becoming a member was the easiest decision I’ve made all year. Living by the beach in Marina del Rey and my experiences as a scuba diver and amateur surfer over the past few years have given me a crazy kind of appreciation for the ocean and the marine life that depends on it. It makes me incredibly sad to know how many marine mammals and birds die or get badly hurt because of something that just doesn’t need to happen – litter! 

I joined Heal the Bay as a member of the Speakers Bureau with the trust that I would inspire thousands of adults and kids to change their behavior and to get involved in keeping the ocean free of debris.

I know that my time is the most valuable gift I can give to Heal the Bay. By volunteering, I’m making a real difference. Not just by inspiring kids, but by actually saving the life of an animal that might have gotten tangled in a plastic bag that was unknowingly dropped on the street.

So if I’m already working so hard for our oceans, why did I decide to give? I’m a member because I know first-hand the impact Heal the Bay has on the quality of my life. How the work that they do helps save the lives of the pelicans and sea lions that I see on my favorite beaches. And I know that the staff uses each dollar wisely to protect something that is really important to me.

Heal the Bay has hard costs each year, for things like cleanup supplies and buses for underprivileged schools, even food for the animals at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. I want to help in as many ways as I can.

For only $35 a year, you can also become a Heal the Bay member and support the behind-the-scenes fight for our neighborhoods and ocean. More than 80 cents of every dollar you give will go directly towards keeping our ocean clean. I make my dollars go even further by asking my company to make a matching gift.

So join me in putting your money where heart is. Become a member today.