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Jane Fonda, Gail Osherenko Receive EDC’s Environmental Hero Awards

Environmental Defense Center honors the actress/author and documentary film producer at its annual Green & Blue gala


Actress and author Jane Fonda and documentary film producer Gail Osherenko were honored June 3 at the Environmental Defense Center’s annual Green & Blue fundraising event.

Described by the EDC as the largest environmental fundraising event along California’s south-central coast, this year’s event attracted more than 500 supporters — a sellout crowd.

Both Fonda and Osherenko were presented with EDC’s Environmental Hero Awards, which previously has been bestowed on Jack Johnson, Jackson Browne, Yvon Chouinard and Jean-Michel Cousteau, among others.

Each year, the organization’s supporters gather to celebrate environmental victories and to raise funds to support EDC’s work protecting and enhancing the local environment through education, advocacy and legal action.

In addition to the Environmental Hero Awards, which were presented to Fonda and Osherenko, Green & Blue featured good food, local wine and beer, a spirited live auction and a large silent auction held this year outdoors at the Goleta Valley Historical Society’s Stow House and Rancho La Patera.

The Ojai Vineyard, Rincon Brewery and others contributed local beverages for everyone to enjoy.

“We have a record-breaking crowd here," EDC Executive Director Owen Bailey said. "Thank you for being here and for your willingness to support us. We were founded as a response to the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Some of the faces may have changed over the last 40-plus years, but our mission has been consistent.”

Top sponsors included Kay Allen, Deckers Outdoor Corp., the Emmett family, Susan Harris and Paul Junger Witt, Lee Heller, The Ojai Vineyard, Santa Ynez Vacation Rentals, Suzanne and John Steed, and many others.

EDC gala Gail Osherenko
EDC chief counsel Linda Krop, left, with honoree/author Gail Osherenko. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

The Green & Blue event committee members were Katy Allen, Owen Bailey, Melissa Bower, Victoria Greene, Lee Heller, Savannah Madrid, Chloe McConnell, Kaleena Quarles, Connie Townsend and Betsy Weber.

Fonda is a two-time Academy Award-winning actress, author, activist and fitness guru. Her career has spanned more than 50 years, accumulating a body of film work that includes more than 45 films and crucial work on behalf of political causes, women’s rights, Native Americans and the environment. In recent years, Fonda celebrated her 80th birthday by raising $1 million for each of her nonprofit organizations — the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential and the Women’s Media Center.

Osherenko, who serves on EDC’s board of directors, was honored for her documentary film BROKE: The Santa Barbara Oil Pipeline Spill of 2015, which premiered at the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

The film follows the impacts and cleanup efforts associated with the Refugio oil spill when the Plains All American Pipeline spilled more than 140,000 gallons of heavy crude oil off the Gaviota coast and the Santa Barbara Channel. It highlights the risks associated with oil development and transportation.

The Environmental Defense Center, a nonprofit law firm, protects and enhances the local environment through education, advocacy and legal action and works primarily within Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Program areas include climate and energy, and protecting clean water, the Santa Barbara Channel, and open space and wildlife.

Click here for more information, or call 805.963.1622.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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