From left, Tim and Talli Robinson at Santa Barbara Channelkeeper’s Blue Water Ball. | Photo: Nell Campbell

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper hosted their 21st Blue Water Ball at the Cabrillo Pavilion on May 7, raising upwards of $130,000 toward their ongoing efforts to protect and restore the Santa Barbara Watershed.

Chumash elder and firekeeper Art Cisneros started the night off with a blessing and the night continued on with live music from the Dave Vignoe jazz trio and keyboardist Mel McGary as guests browsed a large-scale art installation from local photographer Branden Aroyan. Dr. Benjamin Halpern, a professor of marine ecology and conservation planning at UCSB, delivered the keynote address, emphasizing the importance of maintaining healthy oceans amidst climate change.

The ball was just as much a fundraiser as it was a celebration of Channelkeeper’s accomplishments. One such achievement was their board’s recent instatement of a five-year strategic plan.

“[The plan] sets out a course to do more to ensure that the Santa Barbara Channel and its watersheds, and the people and wildlife that depend on these areas are able to counter and adapt to the intensifying impacts of climate change,” executive director Ted Morton said.

The money raised from the Blue Water Ball will help Channelkeeper continue its educational programs, advocacy work, and research.

“[The funds raised] make it possible for Chanelkeeper to protect local beaches, creeks, and coast, and defend the community’s right to clean water and healthy habitats,” said Santa Barbara Channelkeeper spokesperson Laura Sanchez.

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