Laura Dern honored at star-studded Oceana SeaChange Summer Party

14th annual event raises $1.8 million in support of restoring the world’s oceans

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif., Oct. 25, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Saturday, October 23, supporters gathered at the 14th annual Oceana SeaChange Summer Party in Laguna Beach to celebrate the organization’s 20-year anniversary, to raise funds in support of its ongoing ocean conservation campaigns, and to honor Academy Award-winning actor and activist Laura Dern.

Nearly 300 guests gathered at an exclusive hilltop estate overlooking the Pacific Ocean, helping to raise more than $1.8 million to benefit the international ocean conservation organization founded in 2001.

“20 years ago, we set out to change the way that we all treat the world’s oceans. It sounded far reaching at the time, and yet here we are – just 20 years later – and we’re doing it,” Ted Danson told attendees. The actor, activist, and longtime Oceana board member served as host for the event.

Actor, musician, and Oceana supporter Mary Steenburgen, who is married to Danson, introduced event honoree, Academy Award-winning actress and activist Laura Dern.

“When I get afraid for our future with the overwhelming worries of climate change, you know what I do? I remember what the ocean can do for us. If we just give it a little bit of help,” said Dern, who also told attendees that Danson and Steenburgen are godparents to her two children. “Thanks to Ted, Andy (Sharpless, CEO of Oceana), and the whole Oceana team, I was able to learn how caring for our ocean answered all issues I care so deeply about and had felt powerless to help. Restore the ocean and we drive the future to a better, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. A legacy to our kids and grandchildren and godchildren that they deeply deserve.”

The SeaChange event was held just three weeks after at least 25,000 gallons of oil spilled into the ocean off Southern California, polluting popular beaches and closing fisheries. The spill was top-of-mind for many guests and speakers, including Event Chair and Oceana board member Elizabeth Wahler

“As the daughter of someone who was a pioneer in mitigating the impact of pollution, I find recent events particularly alarming. The latest spill along our coast is just part of the looming catastrophe waiting just offshore,” Wahler said.

As bad as this recent spill here was, it could have been worse. You could be dealing with many more wells and many more leaky pipelines,” Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana, told attendees. “With your help, Oceana stopped new oil and gas drilling plans – proposed by presidents from both parties. We turned 17 governors in coastal states – again, both Republicans and Democrats – into allies in our battle. Thanks to you, this is now a bipartisan and winning message.”

Sam Waterston, actor, activist, and Chair of Oceana’s Board, encouraged guests that by supporting Oceana’s proven science-based campaigns, they can help protect and restore the world’s oceans.

“Your love for the ocean is what is going to save her now. People’s indifference has brought us here, and you will bring the ocean back,” Waterston said. “Our faith is that the future will bend to good sense, that something apparently impenetrable and impossible will give way to persistence. Oceana has proved that faith to be true.”

The program concluded with a performance by Southern Californian professional surfer turned musician Donavon Frankenreiter, who sang a selection of his hit songs including “Free” and “Move By Yourself”.

Additional celebrity attendees included Brooklyn Decker, June Diane Raphael, January Jones, Billy Magnussen, Oscar Nunez, Ursula Whittaker, Sally Pressman, Christina Ochoa, Austin Nichols, and Aimee Teegarden.

Along with Wahler chairing the SeaChange event, Oceana board member Valarie Van Cleave served as Chair Emeriti and Jeff Blasingame as Vice Chair.

The SeaChange Summer Party is made possible by the generous support of various distinguished local and international businesses and philanthropists. Special thanks to event corporate partners included Blancpain, Biossance, BMW and the Southern California BMW Centers, Conscious Step, Dropps, E&J Gallo, Moroccanoil, Nautica, Nolet Spirits, One Ocean Beauty, The Sak. SeaChange partners and underwriters include Jena King, Jean and Tim Weiss, The Offield Family Foundation, Tricia and Michael Berns, Valaree Wahler, Daria Blyskal, Karen Jordan, Alexander McQueen, The Marisla Foundation, Karen Jaffe, and South Coast Plaza.

Oceana’s exclusive watch partner, Blancpainwas the presenting partner for this year’s event. For nearly 70 years, since the 1953 launch of the world’s first modern diving watch, the Fifty Fathoms, Blancpain has enjoyed historical links to the ocean. Through its ocean exploration and conservation initiative, the Blancpain Ocean Commitment, Blancpain has co-financed 21 major scientific expeditions, including the recent Oceana expedition to the Bajos del Norte reef in Mexico. The two organizations work closely together to further their important contributions to expanding marine protected areas and presenting award-winning documentaries, photo exhibits, and publications.  

For a full list of underwriters and partners, host committee members, auction items and more information about SeaChange visit:

Additional photos from the event available here:

About Oceana

Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit to learn more.

Contact: Anna Baxter: 202.868.4064