Aquarium of the Pacific announces: results of its largest fundraising event and Ocean Conservation Award honorees

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Approximately 340 guests attended the Blue Whale Gala, which raised over $330,000 for the nonprofit Aquarium and its ocean conservation education initiatives.

The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, honored Dr. Holly A. Bamford and Dr. Steven S. Koblik as the recipients of its 2016 Ocean Conservation Award during the Blue Whale Gala event on Saturday, June 11. The Ocean Conservation Award is given annually to those who contribute significantly to ocean conservation and environmental education.


Holly Bamford is an international leader in ocean conservation and management who has championed the incorporation of science into ocean policy. She is the chief conservation officer for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF). Before joining NFWF, she spent thirteen years at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), serving most recently as assistant administrator of the National Ocean Service. She led the strategic merger of NOAA’s two largest coastal programs to create a unified coastal research, management, and services program for the nation. She co-chaired the Natural Resources Working Group of the President’s Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience that led to the development of the Priority Agenda to Enhance the Climate Resilience of America’s Natural Resources.


Steve Koblik is a transformational leader. He has taken every institution he has been part of to a new level of distinction. His tenure as president of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens was one of unprecedented activity and growth, including the largest capital campaign in the institution’s history, raising more than $244 million. Before joining The Huntington, Dr. Koblik was president of Reed College, where he expanded and unified the faculty, tripled the endowment, and completed a $100 million campaign. He also served as dean of the faculty at Scripps College. In recognition of his scholarly and administrative accomplishments, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Attendees of the Aquarium’s black-tie Blue Whale Gala enjoyed an elegant cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception on the front plaza, gourmet dinner in the Great Hall of the Pacific, inspirational conversations, delectable desserts, and after-dinner drinks and dancing under the stars on the outdoor Harbor Terrace and Veranda. Special thanks to the Blue Whale Gala’s premier sponsors The Johnny Carson Foundation, Bank of America, Esther S.M. Chui Chao, David and Kathy Cohen, Kathie Eckert, Dr. Allen and Charlotte Ginsburg, John and Michelle Molina, Mario and Therese Molina, Mark Paullin, thePort of Long Beach, Jerry and Margaret Schubel, Sidley Austin LLP, The Boeing Company, and The Olson Company.


The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 11,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the new Horses and Dragons and Vanishing Animals exhibits. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. The Aquarium won a 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award for Aquariums, as awarded by TripAdvisor® travelers. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits.


Credit: The Aquarium of the Pacific.









Photo Credit:
Photo Courtesy of Scott Smeltzer

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