The Crowd: Mark your social calendar for this year’s SeaChange Summer Party

Oceana Chief Executive Officer Andy Sharpless speaks at a recent event.
Oceana Chief Executive Officer Andy Sharpless speaks at the recent Oceana event. Oceana has raised millions for its programs, both local and international, through an adjunct fundraising arm called SeaChange.
(Kevin Warn Photography)

Daily Pilot readers seriously connected to ocean preservation given our locale, are responsible custodians of a coastal environment and must remain aware of the challenges faced saving our planet’s oceans. Pollution and greed are the two human failings that have poisoned the oceans with waste, destroyed natural reef habitats, and have caused over-fishing for immediate profit without regard for long-term sustainability.

On the Orange Coast, we treasure moments connecting us with a sighting of whales, schools of flying dolphins in ballet format, and yes, even the great white shark fin appearing in the tides beyond the beach. All are in danger.

Oceanographic scientists work globally to find answers. Institutes, universities, private and public research foundations dedicated to ocean restoration raise alarms. Inventors seek funding to create technology to support programs. On the SoCal coast one such invention includes a massive floating barge machine that is designed to gather and remove plastic waste in significant amounts. It can be seen working out of multiple harbors from Los Angeles to Long Beach, and south to Mexico.

Clearly, humans created the crisis. And, humans can also reverse the disaster. Progress is being made. In the case of ocean conservation, it not only “takes a village,” but requires a worldwide effort. Foreign adversaries must recognize that the potential catastrophic failure of the ocean eco-system means people perish. Food supplies vanish, livelihoods disappear, and economic ruin is far from exaggeration.

Newport-Mesa advocates of ocean conservation stand in support of an organization known as Oceana. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a passionate CEO Andrew Sharpless at its helm, Oceana is a world force making a difference. On our coast, for the past two decades, Oceana has raised millions for its programs, both local and international, through an adjunct fundraising arm called SeaChange, sponsoring events including educational, political, scientific outreach and a celebratory fundraising annual gala known as the SeaChange Summer Party.

In Newport Beach, dedicated ocean activist and philanthropist Elizabeth Whaler serves as co-chair of fundraising events, often working side by side with well-known actor and ocean activist Ted Danson.

Ted Danson, Oceana Board member and Karen Cahill, SeaChange co-chair.
(Kevin Warn Photography)

Again this year, the SeaChange Summer Party will be co-chaired by Wahler and Danson, and will unfold July 22 at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort and Club, Dana Point. This marks the 16th outing for the gala, previously held annually at the Laguna Beach hilltop Italian Mediterranean estate of Karen and Bruce Cahill.

Leaving no detail unattended, Wahler, Danson and Sharpless summoned like-minded locals to a pre-event dinner celebration, confab, and “thank you” for support, gathering recently at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Newport Beach.

“It’s because of your passion and support for this wonderful organization that SeaChange has been able to raise nearly $18 million to support Oceana’s campaigns right here in Southern California, across the country, and around the world,” Danson told the guests in Newport.

Those attending included SeaChange Founder, Chair Emeritus and Oceana Board member Valarie Van Cleve joining Tricia and Michael Berns, Carol and Dennis Berryman, Karen and Bruce Cahill, Bonnie Lee and Justin Pham, Barbara and Greg MacGillivray, Britt Meyer, Debbie and Paul Naudé, Gena Reed, Laura and Louis Rohl.

Paul Naudé, founder of SIMA Environmental Fund and chief executive of Vissla, will be recognized as an Ocean Champion at this year’s SeaChange Summer Party.

Jeff Sherwood joins Valarie Van Cleave and Valaree Wahler at a luncheon.
Jeff Sherwood joins Valarie Van Cleave, Oceana board member and SeaChange founder and chair emeriti, and Valaree Wahler at a luncheon.
(Kevin Warn Photography)

Co-chair Wahler shared positive progress with the guests, offering a look at the impact local efforts achieved, including the fact that the critical funds raised at SeaChange helped deliver major victories for our oceans in 2022, including reducing single-use plastics in California, banning the trade of shark fins in the United States, and prohibiting drift gillnets in U.S. waters.

The Oceana Mission is to campaign for international cooperation to ensure healthy and abundant oceans, feeding the planet. Specifically on the U.S. West Coast, the organization endeavors with projects protecting whales and other marine life killed by certain types of fishing gear entanglements. A major priority is working with government and business to curtail large corporate polluters using massive quantities of single use plastics. Among the targets are Amazon and Coca-Cola.

Elizabeth Wahler, Oceana Board member and SeaChange co-chair.
Elizabeth Wahler, Oceana Board member and SeaChange co-chair, speaks at a recent event.
(Kevin Warn Photography)

Major donors for SeaChange 2023 include presenting sponsor BLANCPAIN, Northern Trust, dropps, and BMW to name only a few.

To learn more go to For tickets to SeaChange visit

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