On Saturday, January 29th, The Maritime Museum on the Santa Barbara Harbor was packed full of environmental enthusiasts, dolphin lovers and other members of the local community to support our newest non-profit, Protect Our Dolphins (POD). The event was hosted by Merryl Brown Events, a company that specializes in social and corporate events that are sustainable and environmentally sensitive. Alma Rosa Winery provided glasses wine at the entrance, there were tables full of Hors d’oeuvres, Dolphin Sculptures handmade by Santa Barbara Arts with values as high as $12,000, and Toni Frohoff’s newest book, Dolphin Mysteries, was for sale.
POD is focused on research, education, and advocacy. It is headed up by Toni Frohoff, Ph.D., who moved to Santa Barbara only six months ago. She has integrated herself and her non-profit into the local community very quickly. Frohoff, passionately shared with the guests in attendance her quest for “studying the hearts and minds of dolphins” and described the Santa Barbara coastal population of bottle-nose dolphins as unique and paramount. She discussed the harmful effects of holding dolphins in captivity for human entertainment, saying the practice causes “institutional trauma.”
Frohoff wants to collaborate with existing organizations, and she integrated a diverse panel of speakers into her event. Professor Lisa Jevbratt from UCSB spoke on interspecies collaboration; John Paul Garcia acted as the event’s surf community ambassador; Holly Luhuis spoke from the perspective of a local marine biologist; and Captain Fred Benko, founder of SEA Landing and longtime conductor of Condor Cruises whale-watching tours, elaborated on dolphins’ natural attraction to humans and boats.
The event commenced with a silent auction to raise support for POD. Events auctioned off included a trip to the islands with Captain Alex Brodie; a dinner for eight at your home with Chef Harold, and Toni Frohoff as guest; and a Sunset Cruise for the bidder and his or her 148 closest friends on the Condor Express. POD also collected monetary donations, to go towards purchasing a boat for the organization, as well as video and camera equipment. Frohoff said the research conducted by POD is completely non-invasive and respects the dolphin community as our neighbors—not our lab subjects.