The Southern California Chapter decided to hold an event on May 3rd in honor of 2008 being the International Year of the Reef. IYOR involves over 60 countries and hundreds of non-profit, academic and other organizations working to alert the world to the importance of reefs and the threats facing them. We met early in the afternoon in a conference room at the Administrative offices of the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Sixteen Alumni attended altogether including two folds from the Arizona Chapter who drove all the way to California to join us.
“Coral Reefs – Importance, Threats & the Future” was the theme for the presentations given by Dr. Gregor Hodgson, Executive Director of the Reef Check Foundation and Jenny Miller Garmendia, Director of Project AWARE Foundation (both East-West Center Alumni). Both focused on the importance of coral reefs, the impact of global warming and other local threats to reefs and everyday actions people can take to help protect them. A brief question and answer session followed and then the group had a pleasant walk along the water’s edge to the Aquarium of the Pacific. The group spent about two hours going through the exhibits lead by Greg and Jenny. The favorite exhibit by far was the leafy sea dragon.
The group then walked along a couple of blocks to P.F. Chang’s for the California version of a Chinese meal. The food was good but many of the group longed the easy access to various kinds of Asian cuisine in Hawaii. Some even admitted to missing Spam Musubi! After a leisurely dinner we held a chapter meeting to plan future activities including attending the upcoming Los Angeles Ho’olaule’a in Alondra Park on July 18th and 19th and organizing an East-West Center Alumni reception in conjunction the 2009 ASPAC Conference to be held at Soka University next summer. The festivities continued until about 8:30 that evening.