With water on everyone’s mind these days, there’s no better time to celebrate and support the work of Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, a local nonprofit organization that monitors the health of marine habitats in and around the Santa Barbara Channel.
The connectivity of the earth’s water resources has become not just a political cause but a matter of continued quality of life. Since its founding in 1999, Channelkeeper has been involved in assessing and restoring aquatic ecosystems, advocating for clean water and helping to police and enforce environmental regulations.
The organization’s mission also focuses on educating youth and engaging the public in implementing solutions to water pollution from agriculture, run-off, sewage spills, oil and gas, and plastic bags.
On Saturday at Montecito Country Club, Channelkeeper will hold its 14th annual Blue Water Ball, a benefit that is expected to draw more than 200 guests in support of its mission. This year’s keynote address will be delivered by Wallace J. Nichols, who is being honored for his work as an ocean advocate, scientist, community organizer, author and father.
“It is an honor to have Dr. Nichols as our keynote speaker,” said Kira Redmond, who has served as Channelkeeper’s executive director since 2004. “Like SBCK, Dr. Nichols works to inspire a deeper connection with nature. He has a uniquely experiential brand of activism by encouraging individuals to get their feet wet and encounter the oceans directly in order to build personal and emotional connections.
“His message is simple yet profound: Live like you love our blue planet.”
Carla Tomson, co-chairwoman of the Blue Water Ball and wife of world champion surfer Shaun Tomson, sounded a similar theme.
“Although, I don’t surf, I have a deep love of the ocean and believe in its miraculous healing powers to the mind body and soul,” she said. “Protecting our water is protecting our future — for our children and their children.”
Tomson and co-chairwoman Julie Ringler have worked tirelessly to put on a party featuring great food, wine and music. Auction items include vacations to Carmel, Mammoth, Maui and Costa Rica; beauty treatments; and adventure experiences featuring an aquatic theme.
Among the art items for auction are works by Meredith Brooks Abbot, signed photographs from Dan Merkel and Troy Hamilton, paintings of Goleta’s Devereaux Lagoon by Jeremy Harper, seascapes by Karen Bezuidenhout, and a limited-edition framed poster signed by renowned artist John Van Hamersveld.
From the world of surfing are signed copies of Shaun Tomson’s best-selling documentary, Bustin’ Down the Door, and his books, The Code and Surfer’s Code, as well as Dane Reynolds’ Channel Islands #4 model surfboard, his latest creation for all-around wave conditions. The autographed board is Reynolds’ personal board that he rode in much of the footage in the newly released surf flick, Loaded.
Additional items include men’s and women’s jewelry designed especially for the event from Montecito jewelry designer Daniel Gibbings, and a string of South Sea pearls from 33 Jewels in El Paseo, donated by Diane Garmendia and Matt Wallace from the Santa Barbara chapter of Surfrider Foundation. Water-loving companies like O’Neill, Billabong, Quiksilver and Patagonia also donating merchandise.
“Our goal is to host a lively fundraiser that will lift the hearts and inform the minds of our guests with fun entertainment, a social meet and greet, and a brilliant keynote speaker,” said Morgan Coffey, Channelkeeper’s development director. “The goal of celebrating Channelkeeper’s recent achievements for clean water is to inspire continued appreciation and support for the magnificent Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds.”