Wednesday, November 14 , 2018, 3:44 am | Fair 51º


Lee Heller Named a Finalist for California’s Cox Conserves Heroes Program

Lee Heller, a Santa Barbara County environmental advocate and volunteer, has been recognized by Cox Communications and The Trust for Public Land for her work creating, preserving or enhancing shared outdoor spaces.

Heller, representing Santa Barbara, will be competing for the overall title of California’s Cox Conserves Hero with two other finalists who will be announced Wednesday. The public is being asked to vote for the winner through June 10. Click here to cast your vote.

Last year, Santa Barbara’s​ Jordan BenShea was named the 2015 Cox Conserves Hero.

A total of $20,000 will be donated to local environmental nonprofit organizations on behalf of the three finalists, who were selected to represent Santa Barbara, Orange County and San Diego.

As a finalist, each individual has secured a $5,000 donation for the honoree’s environmental nonprofit of choice. The finalists will be competing for an additional $5,000 — bringing the total award to $10,000 for the winner’s nonprofit of choice. The winner will be chosen through an online public vote.

Heller, a Summerland resident, advocates for outdoor recreation for individuals and their companion animals, particularly rescue animals.

Recognizing that Summerland Beach was being affected by leaking and improperly abandoned oil wells, she organized a coalition of concerned stakeholders to address the issue. Thanks to her advocacy, the State Lands Commission is currently working toward future remediation opportunities. Her environmental nonprofit of choice is the Environmental Defense Center.

In California, the Cox Conserves Heroes program has honored nearly 70 environmental volunteers and donated nearly $250,000 to their local nonprofits of choice.

The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications. Cox Conserves Heroes also takes place in Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington. 

— Joe Camero is a communications specialist with Cox Communications.

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