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May 2010
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Wetlands Party of the Century…OK, Would You Believe the Decade?

Watershed Warriors Cynthia Ruiz and Terry O'Day flank Friends of Ballona Wetlands Board President Catherine Tyrrell. All photos on this post (c) 2010 Christa Mae

As Promised, the Wetlands Moved Downtown April 29th for the Passionate Pickleweed Awards

As promised, we moved the wetlands on Thursday, just for a night, to the 51st floor of City National Plaza in downtown L.A. in order to honor two regional environmental activists, Cynthia Ruiz of the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works, and Terry O’Day of Environment Now, with the first-ever “Passionate Pickleweed Awards” from the Friends of Ballona Wetlands.

The Friends fundraiser, which netted $55,000, was supported by dozens of business and individual sponsors including major donors ($5,000 each) Venice’s G2 Gallery, Malcolm Pirnie, Playa Vista, and Southern California Edison, and environmental activist/philanthropist Kimo Campbell, who flew in from Northern California with a personal check for $10,000 to become a Great Blue Heron sponsor.

Kerry Tepperman, Richard Beban, Kimo Campbell, Kaaren Kitchell, and Friends founder Ruth Lansford celebrate Ballona Watershed Warriors Night

“What a great excuse it was for a party, said Catherine Tyrrell, president of the Friends board of directors, “honoring Cynthia and Terry with the Passionate Pickleweed Award for their incredible work on urban and coastal water quality and other environmental issues (like trash reduction) that directly affect the health of the Ballona Watershed and the Wetlands.

According to the citation that accompanied the awards, the Friends honored Ruiz and O’Day because, “Just as wetlands need hardy, salty, adaptable, highly functioning champions like pickleweed as part of the rich web of life, as food, as habitat, so does Los Angeles need hardy, salty, adaptable humans, who remain steadfast in vision and purpose, as political administrations come and go like tidal surges—one year fresh, the next salty, the third fresh again.”

For full details about our honorees, download this news release.

More pictures from the event follow the break:

Eric Strauss, Director of Science for the Urban Ecology Institute at Boston College; Shelley Luce, Executive Director of the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (SMBRC); Jim Landry, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies at LMU's Seaver College of Science and Engineering; and Sean Bergquist, Director of Watershed Programs for the SMBRC

Pickleweed Centerpieces (Replanted at the wetlands after their starring appearance downtown, of course)

Tracy Escogue, Los Angeles Regional Quality Control Water Board, presents the Passionate Pickleweed Award to Terry O'Day

Cynthia Ruiz Shares the Honor with Her Public Works Staff

Applause for the Passionate Pickleweed Winners

Watershed Activist Jessica Hall with Leslie Chan of the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority

The Secret Dionysus Room, Where Wine is Worshipped

Jim Kennedy, field deputy for Councilman Bill Rosendahl, with the G2 Gallery's Jolene Hanson

Master Guitarist Marcus Gerakos Kept the Crowd Entertained

Westchester-Playa Neighborhood Council President Cyndi Hench and (back to camera) member Lori Kuhn

Friends Board member Micah Ali, ALWAYS Best-Dressed

The Ballona Wetlands on the 51st Floor of City National Bank Plaza

Linda Waade of the Metropolitan Water District, Tracy Egoscue, and Shelley Luce

Oxygen Tango Surprises and Mezmerizes the Crowd

Friends Board Member Susan Gottlieb Wins a Raffle Prize

Friends Founder Ruth Lansford with Westchester-Playa Neighborhood Council Member Cheryl Burnett



Comment from Mike & Erika Swimmer
Time May 4, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Dear Friends, Congratulations on a terrific party! Sorry we missed the fun.
Mike and Erika Swimmer, the “Desert Rats”