August 28, 2013

Summer Raffle Winners Announced!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our summer raffle this year, it was our biggest ever!

Here are the lucky winners:

  • A private, two hour charter on the 70-foot Chardonnay II:  Jay C. from San Francisco
  • Two nights stay at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco with passes to Cal Academy:  Eddie P. of Salinas
  • Two nights of Coastal Vacation at the Pine Valley Bungalows at Costanoa Lodge:  Sofia B. of Santa Cruz
  • A year of hot tubbing at Well Within Spa:  Robert C. of Sacramento
  • Eight tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium:  Elisa G. of Salinas. 

August 27, 2013

San Jose bans Styrofoam today

SOS Staff Rachel (dressed up as the Styrofoam Monster) and Laura

After two years of working on a ban on Styrofoam food containers in San Jose, today the council voted. SOS staff and volunteers have spent countless hours meeting with councilmembers, conducting outreach to the community, and sending in letters of support for a ban on this harmful single-use plastic.  SOS was instrumental in banning  foam take out containers in Santa Cruz County over the past few years and we have seen a 75% decrease in Styrofoam litter on our beaches.  The reason we are still seeing any Styrofoam on our beaches is because of visitors coming from areas like San Jose where there are no bans in place yet.  SOS staff including Rachel Kippen, dressed as the Styrofoam Monster, spoke in support of a ban today and were thrilled when the council voted 9-2 to approve the draft ordinance.

Councilmember Herrara  stated that Styrofoam is not a safe material for our environment or human health.
Councilmember Kalra stated that he looked forward to our youth growing up not knowing what it is like to get a Styrofoam take-out container.  "That's a good thing".

August 21, 2013

Joe Simitian: Protecting the Environment through Politics

Every year Save Our Shores has the honor of selecting an Ocean Hero who has shown exemplary assistance in the fight to protect California’s coastline. This year, we are proud to have selected Joe Simitian, current Santa Clara County Supervisor and former senator. 

Throughout his career, Simitian has proved continued commitment to the environment. He is the author of amazingly powerful legislation such as a ban on cruise ship sewage dumping, adoption of sustainable marine aquaculture, and California’s renewable energy portfolio that demands more effort toward becoming a green state. 
Joe Simitian at work. Photo courtesy of his website

Simitian has also served on many committees that serve to protect California’s waterways and coasts and air quality. He chaired the Committee on Delta Conservation, Conveyance and Governance, the Environmental Quality Committee and the Budget Subcommittee No. 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy, and Transportation during his eight years in Senate. He also served as an influential member of other groups such as the Natural Resources and Water Committee and the Committee on Delta Stewardship and Sustainability.

As a politician truly working for the people of California, Simitian has also paved the way for other important acts such as heavier sentences for elderly abuse and the hands-free cell phone law. 

Recognized by other organizations as having a 100 percent environmental rating, this Palo Alto native has done everything in his power to cleanup California’s oceans and air and to preserve the state for future generations. 

We are privileged to recognize Supervisor Joe Simitian for his years of service and dedication to California’s unique environmental issues. Please join us in observing him as Save Our Shores’ 2013 Ocean Hero this Sunday, August 25th, at our annual Toast to the Coast celebration!

August 14, 2013

Nancy Connelly: Volunteer of the Year

We have so many rock star volunteers that when we choose our annual Volunteer of the Year it is a hard-pressed decision. However, this year we have been blown away by the outstanding dedication shown by Nancy Connelly. 
Volunteer of the Year
Nancy is a 2011 graduate of our Sanctuary Stewards Docent Program where she received ocean and coastal issue training from marine biologists and conservationists. 

Stewards pledge a minimum 50-hour volunteer commitment and Nancy has far surpassed that with more than 330 hours! That is simply stellar!

Nancy is quite humble about her efforts and said starting out the day knowing that she has removed  harmful trash from the beach is a great feeling.
"As odd as it may sound, I don't think of my time with Save Our Shores as volunteering," Nancy said. "It's just something I do because I love doing it."

She regularly helps with Save Our Shores events, education and a number of other tasks but says that volunteering her time doing beach cleanups is the most rewarding.

Nancy grew up in Connecticut and said she has always lived near the water. She describes water as an integral part of her life and feels a duty to keep it pristine. 

“Beach clean-ups are only part of what I’ve done with Save Our Shores, but so far it’s been the most fulfilling,” Nancy said after she graduated from the Steward Program. “Seeing the smiles, community spirit and watching bag after bag, pound after pound of trash and recyclables removed from my playground is the best feeling there is."

We are delighted that our volunteers find so much joy in the work they do. Save Our Shores couldn’t accomplish what it does without the help of our dedicated, wonderful volunteers like Nancy Connelly. Please join us at our annual Toast to the Coast to celebrate Nancy’s achievements on August 25th!

August 7, 2013

Portola Hotel and Spa: 2013 Business of the Year

Offering relaxation, luxury and a commitment to environmentally-friendly practices, we are proud to present Portola Hotel and Spa as our Save Our Shores 2013 Business of the Year.

“We are honored to be selected as this year's Business of the Year by Save our Shores,” said Janine Chicourrat, General Manager of Portola Hotel & Spa. “We take pride in our efforts by using eco-friendly materials whenever possible and we also promote a ‘green’ and environmentally-friendly lifestyle amongst our staff, guests and our community.  We are pleased that our efforts are being acknowledged by such an impactful organization.” 

Portola Hotel has partnered up with Save Our Shores on many occasions by hosting events and we can’t think of a place much better to hold an affair. With the ability to put on zero-waste accommodations for meetings and conferences for up to 900 people, they are experts in earth-friendly business practices. Beyond their low-flow fixtures and energy-efficient lighting, Portola Hotel has taken green to another level. 

The restaurants within the hotel all serve sustainable, local and organic faire and are part of the Seafood Watch Program. Jack’s Restaurant even boasts a 100 percent compostable carpet made from sheep’s wool and jute—that is about as natural as it gets! And these are just a few of the amazing steps toward their pursuit of a green operation. The entire list of their efforts can be found on their website.

Portola Hotel has earned the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s WRAP (Waste Reduction Awards Program) Award 19 years in a row. They also received the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in 2011 as well as becoming the first Silver LEED Certified Green Hotel in Central California. 

For years the hotel has sponsored Del Monte beach through the Adopt-a-Beach program, taking local action to protect California coast lines. Save Our Shores is proud of Portola Hotel and its continued dedication to the coastal community.

“We have enjoyed partnering with Save our Shores on projects such as community beach clean ups and various fundraisers dedicated for Save Our Shores,” said Chicourrat. “We look forward to continuing to grow our partnership and most importantly, keep our shores pristine.”

Join us in celebrating Portola Hotel and Spa’s promise to sustainable and green business practices. We are thrilled to name them as our 2013 Business of the Year! The award ceremony will be held at  Toast to the Coast on August 25th.

photo courtesy of Portola Hotel and Spa

August 2, 2013

Olive the Otter Gives Birth to Second Pup

Photo: Olive and her second pup, seen here from a CDFW spotting scope.
photo courtesy of Olive's Facebook page

Olive the Otter has given birth to a second pup since she was found emaciated and covered in naturally occurring oil in 2009. The Capitola sighting of the chipped and GPS-equipped miracle otter has further proven that rehabilitation and rescue efforts are well worth it. 

In February 2009, Olive was found sickly and drenched in black sticky tar at Sunset Beach in Santa Cruz. The Marine Wildlife Care and Veterinary Research Center quickly took action to remove the toxic oil from her fur. They used olive oil and dish soap and warm water soaks to remove the sludge from her fur while plumping her up on a diet of shrimp and abalone. 

Researchers and veterinarians were amazed when she was able to return to Monterey Bay just two months later. Otters are at particularly high risk if anything happens to their fur because they do not have blubber to keep them warm like most ocean mammals. They are also meticulous groomers and will ingest oil that has become stuck to their fur. Olive was the first California otter known to survive being coated in oil.  

Not only did Olive survive, she flourished. She frolicked and joined other otters as if she hadn’t been away and in a short time she was pregnant. In September 2012, she had given birth to her first pup which scientists say is a state first for a rehabilitated otter. 

This week, Olive’s caretakers and fans say she has been spotted near “The Hook” in Capitola with another healthy young pup. Olive’s remarkable recovery and the birth of her two pups are awesome demonstrations of the power of treatment efforts made by our coastal veterinarians, scientists and caring volunteers. Great job! 

You can visit Olive’s Facebook page for photos and video of her and the new baby! Congratulations, Olive!