Violet Sage Walker and the Late Tribal Chief Fred Collins to Receive Environmental Hero Award at EDC’s Green & Blue Event

May 4, 2022

Santa Barbara – On Sunday, June 5th, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) will honor Violet Sage Walker and Fred Eagle Chief “SLO”W,” (Violet’s father, who passed away in 2021), as part of the organization’s annual event: Green & Blue: A Coastal Celebration. Violet and Fred will be presented with EDC’s Environmental Hero Award, which has previously been bestowed on other local and national leaders including Jane Fonda, Yvon Chouinard, Jack Johnson, Jean Michel Cousteau, and Jackson Brown, among others.

Violet and Fred are fitting local additions to this illustrious group and are being recognized for their leadership in protecting our coastal resources, in part through their nomination of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary, of which EDC has long been an active advocate. In 2015, Fred, Violet, and the Northern Chumash Tribal Council put forth the sanctuary nomination to preserve marine and cultural resources along 156 miles of the coast. Last November, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced their intent to realize Fred and Violet’s dream and begin the designation of the sanctuary–just 40 days after Fred passed into spirit.

Violet currently serves as the Chairwoman of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council. Her family has long been charged with the protection of natural resources, culture, and ancestors of this beautiful space we share. Violet continues to carry on the legacy left by her father as a local leader and community member. Her deep love for the Central Coast is exemplified not only in her advocacy and community involvement, but also in her many other passions. Violet’s connection to the Chumash land and sea is a deeply important part of her ties to self, community, and her Heritage. Violet continues to represent the past, present, and future leadership through a greater understanding of what it means to take care of our place, be good stewards, and create community.

Tribal Chief Fred Collins was an outspoken advocate for a thriving future on the Central Coast and beyond. In his time as Chair of the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, he fought tirelessly, demanding respect for the cultural heritage and rights of the Chumash Peoples and environmental justice for all. He called on those working to protect the earth and the ocean to set their sights higher than achieving sustainability. It’s not enough, he argued, to merely sustain the current situation. Instead, we must strive for thrivability; we must reverse the devastating loss of habitat, loss of fishing, and pollution created over the last 100 years, and restore the planet to its former thriving state. Fred’s advocacy also culminated in the protection of Oceano Dunes and the Carrizo Plain, and the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by San Luis Obispo County.

“It is a true honor to recognize Violet and Fred for their lifetime of work dedicated to protecting our coastal resources and cultural heritage,” said Betsy Weber, Assistant Director of EDC. “Their passion, dedication, and leadership in forwarding the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary designation exemplifies the care and determination they have shown in protecting our region’s coastline.”

EDC’s Green & Blue is the largest environmental fundraising event in our area and one not to be missed. After two years hosting this event virtually due to limitations of the pandemic, the EDC community is showing lots of enthusiasm to come together to celebrate environmental victories and to raise funds to support EDC’s work protecting and enhancing the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action. In addition to the presentation of the Environmental Hero Award, Green & Blue features great food, local wine and beer, and unique live and silent auctions. The event will take place at Rancho La Patera and Stow House in Goleta on Sunday, June 5th, from 2:00-6:00PM. Sponsorships and tickets are available by visiting http://www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org/gb or by calling 805-963-1622.

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Environmental Defense Center, a non-profit law firm, protects and enhances the local environment through education, advocacy, and legal action and works primarily within Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo counties. Since 1977, EDC has empowered community-based organizations to advance environmental protection. Program areas include climate and energy, and protecting clean water, the Santa Barbara Channel, and open space and wildlife. Learn more about EDC at www.EnvironmentalDefenseCenter.org

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