Rotary Club of Newport Beach Hosts “Source to Sea” Summit Sept. 10 & 11

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On September 10 and 11, thousands of Rotary Club members in 10 western states will be participating virtually in the Source to Sea Summit, held at the Newport Beach Public Library Friends Room and hosted by the Rotary Club of Newport Beach.

Source to Sea is part of the People of Action Summits hosted by Rotary Clubs in three states: Food Security in Boise, Idaho, Green Transportation and Clean Energy in San Jose, Agriculture in Colorado, Human trafficking in San Diego, and Water, From “Source to Sea” in Newport Beach.

The public is invited to the in-person summit in Newport Beach, which includes multiple guest speakers and topics throughout the weekend. The goal is to offer an opportunity for Rotary members to join forces with communities and industry experts to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face. It’s all about individuals identifying issues, solving problems, and making a difference.

Captain Paul Watson

The Keynote Speaker on both days will be Captain Paul Watson, an environmental activist who founded the Sea Shepard Conservation Society, an organization that protects marine wildlife. Watson was also a founder of Greenpeace.

According to information from Source to Sea, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society frequently undertook dangerous expeditions to protect and defend marine wildlife from illegal poaching.

The society’s battle with a Japanese whaling fleet in 2006–07 was recorded in the documentary, “At the Edge of the World.” The group’s efforts were also chronicled in Whale Wars, which first aired on the Animal Planet network in 2008.

Watson shares his passion for animals and the environment through his involvement with numerous other organizations, including Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Wolf, Fund for Animals, the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals, and the Sierra Club, of which he was director (2003–06).

For his efforts on behalf of wildlife, Watson was granted the Genesis Award (1998), the George H.W. Bush Daily Point of Light Award (1999), and enrollment (2002) in the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame.

Watson’s many books included Shepherds of the Sea (1980), Ocean Warrior (1994), and Seal Wars (2002). The documentary Watson (2019) chronicles his life.

Watson will speak on different topics at 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and sign books on both days.


Steve Bender, president of the Newport Beach Rotary Club, will be welcoming fellow Rotarians and the public on both days and will be introducing guests as well as moderating a panel discussion and Q&A segments.

Saturday’s program is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes lunch. Saturday Morning Speakers will focus on “The Source” as well as “Plastics and Solutions.” Topics include the Eel River Recovery Project, “Water, Forests, and Climate Change,” and World Water Day.

Saturday afternoon will focus on “The Sea” and Global Projects-Solutions. Topics include Help in a Box Water Projects in Ukraine, Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rico, and Rotary Reefs program with marine biologists discussing the “Stoney Coral Disease” which is wiping out our reefs in Florida and the Caribbean.

Sunday’s program is 12:30 to 5 p.m. and includes Captain Nancy Caruso Lightower discussing projects that Rotarians can volunteer for in Southern California. There is also a group discussion of the Rigs to Reef programs moderated by Rotary President Steve Bender. Participants include State Senator David Minn, Grant Bixby with Business Alliance for Protecting the Pacific Coast (BAPPC), and Pete Stauffer, Ocean Protection Manager for Surfrider.

On Sunday morning, join Interact and Rotaract Back Bay Clean Up and Lunch from 9 to 11 a.m., or a Back Bay walking tour with a naturalist.

“This is not a project just for the weekend, it’s meant to be a launching point of things that will be going on year round indefinitely,” said Bender.

Cost to attend the Source to Sea Summit is $50 per day or $75 for both days. Cost to participate virtually is $15.

For more information, visit the Source to Sea website at

To get involved with the Newport Beach Rotary and learn about its important projects, visit

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