Making a splash

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks at Heal the Bay's 16th annual Bring Back the Beach dinner on May 31 at Santa Monica's Barker Hangar. The event raised $700,000 for Heal the Bay. Photo by Faye Sadou

Heal the Bay honored Brian Wilson, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and National Geographic Society at its annual Bring Back the Beach Ball last Thursday night at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar. Locals such as Matthew McConaughey and surf champ Kelly Slater joined Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Amy Smart, Wendie Malick, Sugar Ray Leonard and a host of avid water lovers to help celebrate 22 years of cleaner water, activism and education, and raised $700,000 for the environmental watchdog organization.

The glitzy event featured a performance by the legendary musician Wilson as well as a gourmet dinner by Patina. The driving force behind the Beach Boys was honored for bringing the world an appreciation for the California coastline and awareness to the importance of preserving it.

Other honorees included the National Geographic Society and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Founded in 1888, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Over the years, it has funded 8,000 expeditions exploring everything from penguins in Antarctica to ancient Phoenician shipwrecks in the Mediterranean Sea. Its most recent educational program, called Education and the Environment Initiative, introduces environmental curriculum into K-12 public classrooms.

The governor received a green thumbs-up for his environmental leadership and vision.

“We must be diligent in our efforts to keep California at the forefront of environmental protection and resource efficiency, improving our surroundings and making our state a better place to live and visit,” Schwarzenegger said. “Environmental education in our K-12 school system will prepare California’s young people to be knowledgeable citizens, make informed decisions about California’s future and ensure a clean, healthy and secure outlook for our state.”

The theme of this year’s event was “One Child Can Make a Difference.” Heal the Bay Board Chairman Tom Unterman emphasized the importance of teaching children to value “our most important resources” and the responsibility we all have in keeping the bay, beaches and waterways “safe, healthy and clean for future generations.”

Heal the Bay’s clean water programs included the Beach Report Card, the Malibu Creek Restoration Project and Coastal Clean Up Day. For complete party details see Malibu Seen, page B2.