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Coastal Bend Environmental Heroes Honored Nov. 8

The annual fundraiser for the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi.

The conservation heroes of the Coastal Bend have been named and will be honored at the 16th annual Conservation and Environmental Stewardship Awards banquet, which is 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8, in the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi. The banquet is a major fundraiser for the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation, funding conservation and education projects, seminars, a monthly Coastal Issues Forum, and the Earth Day Bay Day festival each year.

Special guest speaker this year will be Susan Clewis, regional directory of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Master of ceremonies will be Maclovio Perez, broadcast meteorologist for KRIS-TV.

The events include a silent auction and opportunities to sign up for major giveaways. Tickets can be purchased online at baysfoundation.org or by calling the foundation at (361) 882-3439. Admission is $50.

This year’s winners of the Coastal Bend Bays Foundation’s Conservation and Environmental Stewardship Awards are:


PRESIDENT’S AWARD — Keep Aransas County Beautiful

The group coordinated more than 150 volunteer athletes from the Aransas County school district to remove storm debris from six miles of state highway after Hurricane Harvey last year. They also partnered with other local groups to promote native gardening, a community garden, beautification projects, and recreating the big Blue Crab of Little Bay, which was destroyed by the hurricane.


COASTAL STEWARD VOLUNTEER — Nancy Devlin

A volunteer with the Division for Sea Turtle Science and recovery program at Padre Island National Seashore since 2014, Devlin is in charge of recycling the styrofoam containers used to incubate turtle eggs. The project involves taking about 400 egg boxes to a recycling center 150 miles away. Her work not only supports proper recycling practices, it also increases the survival chances of sea turtles.


COASTAL STEWARD PROFESSIONAL — Sarah Coles

Coles worked with the Museum of Science and Natural History (she was education directory there last year), the Master Naturalist program, and Nature Rocks Coastal Bend organizing youth camps to promote science and spark imaginations. She supports these programs through community events, including improving the Nature Rocks Coastal Bend program.


COASTAL COMMUNITY — Islander Green Team at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

A student-run organization, the Islander Green Team promotes sustainability through environmental initiatives on campus and beyond. The team worked to reduce campus waste and increase recycling. More than 40,000 pounds of food and yard waste last year became compost used on gardens and landscapes around campus.


NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION — South Texas Master Naturalist program

The organization restored and enhanced 137 acres of wildlife habitat and created 11½ miles of public trails. Since 2001, the South Texas Master Naturalist program provided more than 42,030 prekindergarten through college students and more than 28,323 adults with quality outdoor environmental education.


K-12 EDUCATION — Dawn Mirales, principal, Harvey Elementary School, Kingsville

A strong advocate and role model for students, faculty, and the community, Mirales promotes environmental practices by students as examples of stewardship in the community. She forged partnerships with H-E-B and Keep Kingsville Beautiful and formed a campus community known as Harveyville to promote civil responsibility.


HIGHER EDUCATION — Professor Cheri McCollough, Life Sciences at TAMU-CC

McCollough has conducted more than 80 Family Science Night events over the past decade on conservation, habitat restoration, and the environment.


INDUSTRY — Flint Hills Resources

Flint Hills Resources supports the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program’s environmental education program Delta Discovery. It also supports a STEM education program at the Texas State Aquarium. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.


BUSINESS — Solomon P. Ortiz International Center

Managed by Spectra, the Ortiz Center is being honored for serving as a model for event centers to reduce their environmental impact on oceans, bays, and estuaries. It is the first venue to be designated as Ocean Friendly by the Surfrider Foundation. The center does not use styrofoam products or plastic bags. It recycles properly and serves sustainable seafood.

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