Save Our Shores is grateful to announce our 2015 Volunteers of the Year.

Recipients of the award include Melanie Franklin of Santa Cruz County and Michael and Karen Gunby of Monterey County. The Volunteer of the Year title is awarded to Sanctuary Stewards who go above and beyond in their volunteer duties and engage the Central Coast community to protect the health of the Monterey Bay.

What does it take to become a SOS Sanctuary Steward? Stewards are passionate and driven individuals that come from a variety of backgrounds with a unique set of skills. The dynamic Steward team delivers proactive conservation programs that protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Stewards captain cleanups, lead education programs, advocate for strong marine policies and assist in fundraising efforts.unnamed

Representing Santa Cruz, SOS congratulates Melanie Franklin on her tireless efforts in education and outreach. Melanie’s charisma combined with her unstoppable drive creates a one-two punch in preventing ocean pollution. Melanie leads SOS’ Corporate Beach Cleanup program, and has already raised over $5,800.

“I spend so much time on the edge of land where the sand meets the sea, and the sea gives something back to me every time, and there was so little I gave back to it,” said Franklin. “When I became conscious of ocean issues, I chose to become a Steward. Save Our Shores is a place where people are determined to do something, because their choice is to do something, rather than nothing.”

Representing Monterey, SOS honors Mike and Karen Gunby, a dedicated couple who can be found leading the lion’s share of ocean events throughout the county. Together they have inspired over 1,000 volunteers to collectively remove 2,000 pounds of debris from Monterey’s beaches!

Mike and Karen, 2015 Volunteers of the Year“Each one of us has the capacity to make small changes in our lives to better our environment,” said Karen Gunby. “Save Our Shores has taught us the importance of making better choices in what we consume. We no longer purchase single-use plastic water bottles, we no longer use plastic straws and we try to lead by example. SOS is a great organization to volunteer for because their sole purpose is to advocate and educate people about the health of our ocean.”

“Volunteers are the backbone of community based organizations and are instrumental to our success,” said Bronti Patterson, SOS Program Coordinator. “Dedicated and passionate individuals drive our mission forward.”

Save Our Shores invites new members to join the Sanctuary Steward family on a year-round basis. The next steward training will be held on Wednesday, July 15th from 5:30 – 9 p.m. at the SOS office in the Santa Cruz Harbor.  Interested participants can email Bronti Patterson at

Leave a Reply