Ocean Blue Project Volunteers of the Year for 2019

Every year, Ocean Blue Project receives volunteer support from incredible folks all around the United States. These inspiring people showed strong leadership and exemplary support for the Ocean Blue mission and Ocean Blue felt the need to recognize them officially. 

Groups and individuals stepped up and have gone above and beyond to clean beaches, rivers, and educate youth in 2019, all for the sake of our one world Ocean and the vastness of life that depends on our shared sea. 

Long Beach Washington Chapter – Carrie Day and Chris Brue

July 4th fireworks take a toll on Long Beach, Washington shores. Long Beach local citizen, Carrie Day, joined in beach clean-up activities with Ocean Blue as well as on her own. She documented her findings on social media and urged other locals to do the same. In a place where it is controversial to raise awareness about the massive 4th of July fireworks pollution, Carrie stepped forward to do her part and speak up about the importance of everyone doing their part too. 

In the fall, when firework debris was still present along the Long Beach Peninsula, Chris Brue organized a clean-up with fellow geocachers for the 5th Annual Cache, Dash, Splash event. They pride themselves in doing a Cache In Trash Out or CITO event on an annual basis and in 2019, Chris Brue led dozens of geocachers in cleaning up Long Beach. 

Ocean Blue Project Seattle Chapter Boeing Functional Excellence Team

The Puget Sound is famous for Orca and Humpback whales who people come from all over the world to witness. While Seattle is a beautiful city almost entirely surrounded by natural water, it is also home to microplastics and other marine debris. Last summer, The Functional Excellence Team of Boeing Created a Clean-up event at Marina Beach Park in Edmonds, Washington located just north of Seattle on Puget Sound. 

The team’s director, Silke Johnstone, and her assistant, Linda Mahler, went above and beyond to ensure the event would not only be impactful but also educational. Employees brought their families to learn about common marine debris and then acted first-hand to clean up the beach. Boeing also matched donations for volunteer hours to support even more Ocean Blue beach clean-ups. 

Ocean Blue Project Central Oregon Chapter  – Shelby Irey Cruz

When Ocean Blue Project Blue Schools program requested a volunteer to help educate youth at Camp Fire Central Oregon, Shelby Irey Cruz stepped right up to the job. Her passion for the Ocean Blue mission allowed Shelby to show up for the kids and educate about environmental issues she feels deeply connected to having grown up on a farm with a powerful appreciation for the great outdoors and our natural waterways. Her feedback was also helpful for further development of the Blue Schools program curriculum. 

Ocean Blue Project Eugene Oregon Chapter  – Catherine Fabian 

Catherine Fabian is another proud supporter of the Blue Schools Program. After attending a Willamette River Clean-up with her children last fall, Catherine offered to extend Ocean Blue’s service learning projects to the Eugene Waldorff School. We are looking forward to working with Eugene Waldorff students in planting Trees for Streams and cleaning up the local community in 2020. 

Ocean Blue Project Salem Oregon Chapter  – Tibby Larson & Maria Regalado

Tibby Larson represents a city that goes out of its way to help volunteers make an impact on the local environment. Tibby makes it a pleasure to volunteer in Salem, Oregon by organizing stewardship events for groups and individuals. Ocean Blue volunteers were able to clean-up and help maintain trees at Cascades Gateway Park as part of an ongoing effort to enhance Mill Creek, a tributary of the Willamette River. 

As the student tutoring coordinator for Upward Bound at Western Oregon University, Maria Regalado organized a group clean-up on the Oregon Coast last spring. Upward Bound program empowers students who are low income or who are first generation college students. By combining Ocean Blue’s service learning projects with the Upward Bound program, Maria was able to help provide an inspiring educational experience to students who can benefit from it the most. 

Ocean Blue Project Portland Oregon Chapter  – Joni Stockdale & Bridges to Change

Long term Ocean Blue supporter, Joni Stockdale, attends beach clean-ups annually and always brings a friend. Her life’s mission is to clean beaches and give back to the environment. Joni is a huge Ocean Blue supporter on social media and donates to support the Ocean Blue mission. 

Bridges to Change, a Portland area nonprofit offering a holistic solution for folks who are facing homelessness, including mentoring, housing, and mental health services. After Halloween, nonprofits joined forces to clean up a PDX neighborhood with Ocean Blue. Bridges to Change brought the most volunteers of any organization and plans to collaborate again in 2020! 

Ocean Blue Project Albany Oregon Chapter  – Tassay Gillispie & Rose Zoellner 

As part of an ongoing project in Periwinkle Creek, a tributary of the Willamette River in Albany, Albany Options High School students joined with Ocean Blue to plant Trees for Streams.Tassay Gillispie, the alternative school’s biology teacher, coordinates student groups in the spring and fall to do water quality testing and plant native trees and shrubs. In past years, Tassay has led her students in service learning projects at Southeast Oak Creek at Linn-Benton Community College. 

Rose Zoellner led South Albany High School students in a beach clean-up last spring, As the RedHawks Rise Leadership Coordinator, Rose coordinated a Lincoln City beach clean-up, bringing a bus load of Upward Bound students to take to the beach alongside the Upward Bound students from Western Oregon University led by a Salem Chapter Volunteer of the Year Maria Regalado.

Ocean Blue Project Oregon Coast Chapter  – Sunriver Brewing Team

Sponsoring five clean-ups in 2019, three of those being on the Oregon Coast, we had to give it hands down to Sunriver Brewing Co. Director of Stuff & Things at Sunriver Brewing, Ryan Duley, coordinated clean-ups in his hometown of Tillamook, Lincoln City, and Newport over the course of the spring and summer. Not only did Sunriver Brewing donate to make the events happen, they paid employees to clean up the beach and encouraged more folks to join in by offering samples of their amazing brew at every event. 

Ocean Blue Project San Francisco Bay Chapter  – Salesforce & Jenny Yu

Another major sponsor of beach clean-ups, Salesforce brought 300 employees to clean up Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Salesforce is an avid Create a Clean-up participant in San Francisco and San Diego as well. Employees also donated individually on the GlobalGiving platform through gift cards provided by their employers at Salesforce. 

Jenny Yu led the Unified Lions Club of San Francisco in cleaning up Ocean Beach. She made a speech about Ocean Blue Project’s history and mission to the group and was sure to document the group’s impact for the bay area. 

Ocean Blue Project California Central Coast Chapter  – Ken Cullings & Emanuel Gaspar

Ken Cullings reached out to Ocean Blue as a researcher for NASA to study the DNA sequencing of fungi strains to clean up petroleum. He has been dedicated to establishing a research site at the Ames Research Center to clean up runoff water and has been essential in establishing collaborative effort between NASA and Ocean Blue. 

As a representative of CloudBees, Emanual Gaspar led an employee clean-up in Santa Cruz last summer. CloudBees employees teamed up with a local Girl and Boy Scouts Troop to clean up a local beach and donated as an Annual Corporate Member of Ocean Blue to support further beach clean-up and education efforts in Central California. 

Ocean Blue Project Los Angeles Chapter  – Marya Summers & Emily Lindley

Marya joined Ocean Blue as a beach clean-up volunteer last year and has since then offered her skills as a professional writer. Her work has been instrumental in revising specific event and fundraising campaigns and always offers to extend a hand whenever her expertise is requested. 

Emily Lindley has gone out of her way to promote Ocean Blue fundraising events at Mt. Lowe Brewing in Arcadia, California. Every time we receive a raffle item for the Los Angeles Chapter, Emily helps bring in donations and has been vital in the establishment of an ongoing partnership between Mt. Lowe and Ocean Blue. 

Ocean Blue Project New York Chapter  – Britton Kelley

Britton Kelley has taken it upon himself to make it his life’s mission to clean up the ocean. While many of his clean-up efforts are a sole venture, he continues to promote and donate to Ocean Blue through social media and we wish more people were as dedicated to the Ocean as Britton. 

Ocean Blue Project Florida West Coast Chapter  – Aric Lewno & Debo Kumi

For the past year, Aric Lewno has created several Ocean Blue clean-ups at Indian Rocks Beach and Dunedin Causeway in the Tampa Bay area. He reached out to businesses for donations in support of the beach clean-up effort, does Facebook fundraisers, and continues to attend Ocean Blue events as a strong supporter with a passion for the Ocean.

Ocean Blue Project Florida East Coast Chapter  – Debbie Smith Mihalko, Abi Carr & Christen Enrich 

Debbie Smith Mihalko led Samsung employees in cleaning up a Fort Lauderdale Beach and purchased supplies through Ocean Blue Project as a way to give back to the Blue Beaches program. She provided Ocean Blue with a quality impact report for her clean-up and continues to make her local community a cleaner and better place to be. 

Teacher Abi Carr led her students with intellectual disabilities from Palm Beach Central High School in cleaning up a local beach. She utilized Blue Schools resources to educate her students about Ocean Currents and Marine Debris prior to the event and is dedicated to a brighter future and cleaner Ocean for generations to come. 

Christen Enrich attended an Ocean Blue beach cleanup over the summer with her kids on Singer Island – North Palm Beach and wanted to do more. When she saw the opportunity to Create a Cleanup, she took it upon herself to make it happen. Christen plans to create more clean-ups with her family and local community.

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