Save Our Shores recognizes Dr. Ed Thornton, Patagonia Santa Cruz & Ali Eppy


Every year, Save Our Shores honors three exceptional leaders in ocean stewardship around the Monterey Bay Sanctuary with their most prestigious awards. On September 23rd, the nonprofit’s Ocean Hero, Ocean Business and Sanctuary Steward of the Year received honors at their largest annual celebration, Toast The Coast, held at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center in Santa Cruz. Recipients were recognized after an introductory speech before an audience of 150 advocates. Speakers included Assemblymember Mark Stone, CA Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird and retired Congressman Sam Farr.


“We are honored to recognize our Ocean Heroes of 2017, as they exemplify what it takes to achieve our new 2025 Vision of Clean Shores, Healthy Habitats and Living Waters. Their invaluable contributions to the Save Our Shores mission will have lasting impacts here in the Monterey Bay.” Said Save Our Shores Executive Director, Katherine O’Dea.


Ocean Hero of the Year: Dr. Edward Thornton

Dr. Thornton has worked tirelessly for more than a decade to expose mass man-made erosion associated with the Cemex Sand Mining Operation just north of Marina State beach. His research provided Save Our Shores and Surfrider Monterey the scientific evidence needed to fueled the nonprofit’s advocacy campaigns that resulted in the negotiated closure of the last coastal sand mining operation in the United States in June of 2017. Fundamentally, the nonprofit owes this victory to Dr. Thornton.


Dr. Thornton told the nonprofit, “After starting the investigation process, I was subsequently joined by Surfrider Monterey and the very loud voice of Save Our Shores, that could not be ignored, and ultimately the State Lands and Coastal Commission acted… I don’t know what I’m going to do now, I think I might be out of a job! [in reference to his decade long fight to close the CEMEX mine].”

Ocean Business of the Year: Patagonia, Santa Cruz

Patagonia Santa Cruz could win this award year-over-year because at the heart and soul of this company is the spirit of corporate social responsibility, and a love of the great outdoors. Almost on a weekly basis, Patagonia partners with a local nonprofit to stage special events that rally our community around a purpose. In 2017, Patagonia worked with Save Our Shores on several occasions. Most notably, their store became ground zero for the nonprofit’s most public citizen engagement campaign opposing the CEMEX sand mine, the #SaveOurSand campaign. Together, the partnership turned out thousands of citizens to sign protest postcards that were mailed to the Coastal Commission, the State Lands Commission and Governor Brown’s office. Patagonia is a true partner in protecting and preserving our coastal community.


“I think a lot of people that came to the Save Our Shores campaign events really were unaware of this situation [the CEMEX sand mine], didn’t know that we were having sand essentially stolen from us here in the Monterey Bay. And so it was a great learning opportunity for a lot of people and it encouraged them to get involved themselves,” said Patagonia’s Environmental Coordinator, James Farber.

Sanctuary Steward of the Year, Ali Eppy

Save Our Shores Sanctuary Steward of the Year award recognizes an extraordinary advocate who goes the extra 1,000+ miles to spread ocan health awareness in our community. This year, the nonprofit honored Ali Eppy, a steward for the past 5 years. Ali has stepped up to support almost every Save Our Shore Activity. From beach cleanups, to fundraising, to utilizing her exceptional acting talent to assume the role of bag monster at a “ban the bag” event the nonprofit staged at the Museum of Art and History last year to build awareness about the Statewide Bag Ban, Ali does it all and she does it with verve and grace and aplomb.


When asked about her experience as a steward, Ali told the nonprofit that “Save Our Shores has both focused and expanded my opportunities to do what I love: Protect The Monterey Bay Sanctuary paradise.”


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