Parks Foundation celebrates 35 years

Nicole Kidman and Jude Law are lovers trying to reunite after being torn apart by the Civil War.

The nonprofit California State Parks Foundation will recognize two champions of the environment, Edison chairman John E. Bryson and former California Secretary for Resources Mary Nichols, and celebrate the foundation’s 35th anniversary at its annual awards gala.

By Susan Reines/Special to The Malibu Times

The California State Parks Foundation celebrates its 35th anniversary at the historic Adamson House at Malibu Lagoon on July 9. William Penn Mott Jr., who spent his career reinvigorating park services and lobbying for the acquisition of parkland, founded the nonprofit organization in 1969. Mott served in both the state and federal governments. During his seven-year run as California State Parks director, Mott spearheaded a 20 percent increase in state park acreage.

Mott died in 1992, but the Foundation is still going strong, adding to the $110 million in funds and artifacts it has already contributed to state parks. The Foundation runs environmental education programs that help people enjoy and protect their state’s parks such as events where people meet legislators at the parks.

John E. Bryson, chairman of energy giants Edison International and Southern California Edison, has been chosen to receive the Golden Poppy Award for environmental excellence from the California State Parks Foundation. He will be honored for his companies’ use of alternative energy sources and scrupulous recycling at an awards gala.

Southern California Edison uses energy from renewable sources such as wind, sunlight and water, and under Bryson’s tutelage, the company reduced the amount of waste it sent to landfills 85 percent last year by recycling virtually everything that could be recycled.

Independent of his companies, Bryson also helped to found the Natural Resources Defense Council, an organization the Wall Street Journal has called “the most effective lobbying and litigating group on environmental issues.”

The California State Parks Foundation began the Golden Poppy Awards last year as a fundraiser and an opportunity to honor a Californian who is active in supporting the state parks or the organizations that aid the state parks. Candidates are measured by the ways in which they make significant contributions to protecting, advancing and advocating for state parks.

Last year’s Golden Poppy Award went to Huell Howser, the television journalist who hosts the PBS series “California’s Gold.”

Former California Secretary for Resources Mary D. Nichols will be recognized along with Bryson at this year’s Golden Poppy Awards for overseeing the acquisition of many acres of parklands and aiding the passage of billions of dollars of conservation bond measures during her 1998-2003 tenure in the state government. Nichols oversaw the state’s acquisition of the nearby Lower Topanga Canyon property, which added more than 2,500 acres to Topanga Canyon State Park.

Celebrities such as Clint Eastwood and Susan Sarandon have supported the foundation and were invited to attend the gala, although they have not given definite responses, said Davis Albohm, a publicist for the foundation.

The gala will begin with a cocktail hour and tours of the Adamson House from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 9. Dinner and awards will begin at 7:30 p.m. on the grounds outside the house.

Benefits from the gala will go toward the California State Parks Foundation. The event is open to the public. Tickets cost $150. More information can be obtained by calling 310.860.1300 or 213.380.9980.