Heal the Ocean

By Lynda Millner   |   November 15, 2018
Heal the Ocean executive director Hillary Hauser with founding board member Charles Vinick at their bash

Heal the Ocean (HTO) had a big 20th birthday party at the festive El Paseo Restaurant with 200+ folks who love the ocean in attendance. Executive director Hillary Hauser said this, “When Heal the Ocean came together in 1998, we were a warrior band with nothing but hand-made flyers and bumper stickers. Remember 1998. That’s when we gathered on the steps of the Santa Barbara County administration building to scream, shout, and protest that our beaches were being closed from pollution. We didn’t have a non-profit organization or an office. We didn’t have papers, pencils, or members. We only had a will to get started somehow, on fixing the problems of our beloved ocean being polluted – not assaulted – by human activity.”

Here are just a few of the things Heal the Ocean does for us: helping wastewater plants upgrade to recycled water plants; hiring consultants to access state grant funds for wastewater plant upgrades; helping homeowners get off septic systems where groundwater or creeks are impacted; working with offshore oil contractors and the State Lands Commission to enact a focused cleanup of the leaking wells off Summerland; working with City of Santa Barbara on an effective plan for cleanup of confetti after town parades; and much more!

Jean-Michel Cousteau with Holly Lohuis and Heather and Ben Burleson at the Heal the Ocean gala

As Hillary suggested, “Raise your glasses for a toast. It would not be happening without you.” It’s said, do not say no to Hillary. She does not give up. Honorary chair Julia LouisDreyfus contributed treasure and sent a video of good wishes for the event.

After a cocktail reception, there was a sit-down dinner and then auctioneer Rick Werner assisted by Levi Werner did their stuff to raise dollars for the ocean. It was time for music. Who knew that Hillary was a long-time classical pianist? She played a piece by Liszt for us followed by Jason Libs on a white baby grand playing all styles from funk to folk. Denny Asberg and Simone Redding sang a surfing song. Ruston Slager performed a boogie-woogie tune titled MONEY. After all, this was a fundraiser.

Thanks to the HTO benefit committee: Heather Hudson, Shannon Trotta and Alison Thompson. The board of directors includes JeanMichel Cousteau, Thomas Dabney, Hillary Hauser, Heather Hudson, Francoise Park, Charles Vinick, and Jonathan Wygant. You can contact Heal the Ocean at www.HealTheOcean.org.


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