Gala Celebration & Awards Dinner

June 11, 2016
“Celebrating Partnerships”

Sierra Club San Diego will host its annual Gala Awards Celebration to recognize and commemorate the achievements of community leaders and Sierra Club volunteers who have contributed their time and effort to protecting the environment of our region. The event will be held on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at the Hilton Harbor Island Hotel, 1960 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego, from 6pm – 9:30pm. The event will include a reception from 6pm to 7pm, a silent auction, and dinner and awards program 7pm to 9:30pm.

This year’s theme is “Celebrating Partnerships”. The Sierra Club is not alone in fighting for the betterment of our environment.  We stand together with other outstanding organizations that educate, advocate and make significant contributions to insuring San Diego’s treasured environment is enhanced and protected.  The Gala will include the presentation of the Club’s FEAT (Friendly Environmental Action Taken) Awards recognizing organizations whose efforts help protect the environment, foster local solutions to global issues, help communities make sound environmental decisions about their own future and work to raise awareness of and advocate for climate change action.

We will also be celebrating the 60th anniversary of our Wilderness Basics Course.  This ten-week course on hiking, camping and backpacking attracts over 350 students annually where participants are taught skills to safely enjoy the wilderness.  Our goal is to share our knowledge and skills in the safe enjoyment of wilderness areas and to convey a sense of responsibility for maintaining the purity and integrity of the wilderness environment.

Sierra Club San Diego annually recognizes three outstanding individuals, organizations or businesses with a FEAT Award that exemplifies the theme of the Gala.  Being honored with FEAT awards this year are:

  • League of Women Voters of San Diego – in recognition of their work of educating and enabling the citizens of San Diego to act as guardians of the environment by raising awareness and advocating for action through the democratic process.
  • Cleveland National Forest Foundation – in recognition of their commitment to sustainable regional land use planning and advocating for sensible and achievable regional Climate Action Plans.
  • California Solar Energy Industries Association, San Diego Chapter – in recognition of their work raising awareness and advocating for climate change action and in helping the City of San Diego commit to a future of 100% renewable energy.

Our outstanding cadre of volunteers, who make Sierra Club San Diego one of the most impactful environmental organizations in San Diego, will also be recognized.  This year the Chapter will recognize ten awardees for their hard work and dedication.

  • Rookie Activist of the Year – Siyuan Liu and Alejandro (Ale) Montes.  The Rookie Activist Award honors an individual who has recently begun to shine as an activist.  It is vital that, each year, new volunteers keep the Chapter’s tradition of volunteer activism going strong.  This award recognizes the importance of “rookies” to the Chapter.    Both Siyuan and Ale have been student interns and represented the Chapter at the Sierra Student Coalition SPROG, a grassroots leadership training program that teaches tools for environmental and social justice activism to young folks across the country.
  • Outings Leader Award – Lynn Nebus.  The Outings Leader Award recognizes a Chapter Outings leader who has done outstanding work in outdoor leadership and education.  As stated in the Chapter Strategic Plan, the Outings Committee takes the lead in providing safe, enjoyable, and informative outings opportunities.  The first experience with the Chapter of many members and volunteers is on a Chapter outing.  Lynn is a Certified Outings Leader who has been active in the Outings program for over 20 years serving in many leadership positions.
  • Political Activist Award – Debby Knight.  The Political Activist Award is presented to the person who has done outstanding work to further the Club’s political mission to preserve the environment through grassroots, bipartisan, political action and elect environmentally supportive candidates.  Debby is the longest serving volunteer on the Chapter Political Committee and has often taken a lead role in the endorsement process and been actively engaged with Sierra Club endorsed candidate campaigns.
  • Volunteer of the Year Award – Suzi Sandore.  The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to the volunteer who has done outstanding work in furthering the Club’s overall mission.  Volunteers bring enthusiasm and dedication to their efforts for the Chapter.  They benefit the Club greatly and this award recognizes and publicizes their efforts.  Suzi currently serves as Chair of the North County Group and engaged in their Wilderness Basics Course.  She has been instrumental in organizing Sierra Club members for volunteer activities, such as creek clean-ups and vegetation restoration projects.
  • Club Service Award – Sierra Social Section.  The Club Service Award celebrates the achievement of one of our sections that has provided exemplary service to the Club.  The volunteers who help with the various tasks needed to support our members and activities are the true unsung heroes of the Club.  The Sierra Social Section is the Chapters most active group and took the lead to reestablishing the Chapter monthly program – Sierra Talks.
  • Special Service Award – Rob Morris.  This Special Service Award like the Club Service award is presented to an individual that has provided exemplary service to the Club.  Rob has served as the Chapter Treasurer since 2013 and has contributed enormous time and talent in helping the San Diego Sierra Club.
  • Distinguished Achievement Award – Mike Bullock.   The Distinguished Achievement award recognizes the member who has exhibited a sustained level of service and commitment to our overall mission.  It honors the person who year after year has contributed their time and knowledge and passion to help the Club achieve its goals.  Mike is the Chair of the Chapter Transportation Committee and was instrumental in helping us win several lawsuits in providing his expertise on how auto emissions effect climate change.
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Mike Fry.  The Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual who has provided distinguished service to Sierra Club San Diego for a significant period of time.  It is these types of individuals who have given their life time experiences and leadership to make the Sierra Club the best that it can be.  Mike has been an active member of the Club and Outings program for almost 50 years.  He is a Certified Outing Leader and has served in leadership positions including Chapter Executive Committee, Chair of the Ski Section and Bus Trips.
  • Silver Cup Award – Joe Zechman.  The Silver Cup award is the Club’s highest award and is presented to the person who has most significantly contributed to the success of the Club’s mission.  This is an award that recognizes efforts that not only represent a significant commitment by the volunteer but also has resulted in a significant contribution to the Club.  Joe most recently served 2 years on the Chapter Steering Committee and served on the Chapter Executive Committee for six years, twice as Chapter Chair.  Joe was active in the Sierra Singles (now the Sierra Social) Section and served on numerous Chapter committees and task forces in leadership positions.

 GALA AUCTION.  Another highlight of the Gala is our annual auction.  The big prize this year will be a 6 day South African Photo Safari (see separate article).  Past auctions have included museum and theater tickets, guided desert flower tours, hotel weekends, restaurant certificates, sports tickets, wine tastings, spa treatments, kayaking, paintings, collectibles and more.

Do you have a service or business that you would like to promote or an item of value that you no longer need?  Then donate it for our auction!  To donate an auction item call Richard at 858-569-6005 or email him at

  • Individual Tickets – &75 includes reception and dinner.
  • Tables of 10 – $700
  • Sponsorships – $500 to $2,000 call the office for details.

To purchase tickets go to the online store, call Richard Miller at 858-569-6005, or email him at

Gala Auction to Feature South African Photo Safari!

Accommodations for 2 – Valued at $5,950

Donated by Zulu Nyala,

This may be your chance to finally take the vacation you have always dreamed about.

The biggest prize for the Gala auction will be a six day, six night African photo safari with luxury accommodation for two people at Zulu Nyala Luxury Hemmingway Tented Safari Camp, Heritage Safari Lodge, or Game Lodge situated in the heart of South Africa’s Zululand conservation region – one of the richest conservation regions in Africa.

View a 4 minute video

It includes full board – that means three delicious meals per day, prepared by the finest international chefs – with an African flavour, of course.  There will be two game viewing activities per day guided by professional game rangers in open game viewing vehicles.  Additionally a personal ranger that will assist you in arranging your activities during your stay at Zulu Nyala.

The auction safari does not include airfares, transfers, side trips, drinks, telephone calls, laundry and gratuities.  The safari certificate will be valid for two years from the auction date.

Sierra Club is a 501(c) (4) non-profit organization, tax ID # 94-1153307. Contributions or gifts to “Sierra Club San Diego Chapter” are not tax deductible; they support our effective citizen based advocacy and lobbying efforts.