Some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Wendie Malick, Amy Smart, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and world-champion surfer Kelly Slater attended the 16th annual Heal the Bay 'Bring Back the Beach' dinner, which honored Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his exemplary contributions to the environmental health of California’s coast and his leadership on the Education and the Environment Initiative. The annual event took place May 31, 2007 at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica.

"We must be diligent in our efforts to keep California at the forefront of environmental protection and resource efficiency, improving our surroundings and making our state a better place to live and visit," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "Environmental education in our K-12 school system will prepare California's young people to be knowledgeable citizens, make informed decisions about California's future and ensure a clean, healthy and secure outlook for our state."

Heal the Bay also honored the National Geographic Society for nearly 120 years of inspirational journalism, research and education about our planet and the environment and more recently, its part in California’s successful Education and the Environment Initiative (EEI). The Initiative introduces environmental curriculum into K-12 public classrooms. In addition, the benefit dinner featured a special presentation of the Dorothy Green award to Grammy award winner Brian Wilson by Kelly Slater (see below). Wilson, the creative genius behind the best known surf band in history, created the international mystique and romanticism about California’s beach culture with iconic Beach Boys songs including “California Girls” and “Surfin’ USA” - and rocked the house by performing those hits.

Heal the Bay is one of the largest non-profit organizations in Los Angeles County, with more than 12,000 members. This year’s gala, sponsored by Michael and Jena King, attracted more than 1,100 attendees and was emceed by comedian Bob Saget.

Themed One Child Can Make a Difference, this year’s event focused on the importance of early environmental education. “We strongly believe that children who learn about caring for the world around them at an early age grow up to be more responsible and environmentally conscious individuals,” said Heal the Bay President Mark Gold.

The evening’s entertainment featured honoree Brian Wilson, performing a full set of the Beach Boys’ greatest hits, followed by local favorites, Jacks Mannequin, on the heels of their acclaimed Coachella performance.

Adding to the excitement, long-time Heal the Bay supporter Ford Motor Company donated a brand new, fully-loaded 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid valued at $32,000, which was auctioned off for $37,000 at the dinner. The extensively re-designed Escape Hybrid is America's most fuel-efficient and best-selling compact SUV.

Heal the Bay raised more than $700,000 to promote the organization’s ongoing work.

Photo Credits: Pamela Blackstone, Tom Galassi, Ginny Winn