Volunteer of the Year Stephanie Harlan with (from left):
Dan Basta, Stephanie, Leon Panetta, Bill Douros
Ms. Harlan started her volunteer work for the Sanctuary Program through her tireless efforts work to help designate the Monterey Bay NMS in the early 1990’s. She promoted the sanctuary as both a citizen and member of the Capitola City Council. Ms. Harlan has served as the Sanctuary Advisory Council Chair since April of 2000 serving two full terms as Chair (she was unanimously reelected by peers on the Advisory Council). Her seat on the Advisory Council represents local governments via the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments (AMBAG). Ms. Harlan proudly represents the Sanctuary at all AMBAG meetings. She is also a regular attendee at the meetings for the four Sanctuary Advisory Council working groups-Education, Conservation, Research and Business & Tourism. She has also been an active participant in the four Sanctuary Advisory Council Chairs/Coordinators meetings.
Ms. Harlan was recently elected Mayor of the City of Capitola. She has brought to Capitola the Sanctuary’s Urban Watch program to help clean local urban runoff, annual Water Quality Monitoring, new signage and other programs of the Sanctuary. She is the Chair of the Santa Cruz County Sanctuary/Inter-Agency Task Force, which has helped to produce the Santa Cruz County 50 Ways to Get Your Feet Wet in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary brochure. This brochure features: a calendar of activities in Santa Cruz County related to the Sanctuary, information on the Monterey Bay NMS, and information on businesses that provide recreation within the Sanctuary.
As an active participant of the aforementioned groups, Ms. Harlan is also a leader in efforts to implement the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail. This monumental project is a coastal trail that will connect the counties of Santa Cruz and Monterey, and their cities, with interpretive signs about the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary throughout the trail. Millions of annual visitors to the Monterey Bay will soon know about the Sanctuary due to Ms. Harlan’s efforts and leadership on the scenic trail project.
The Sanctuary Advisory Council meets every two months, the working groups almost monthly. Along with her monthly meetings of AMBAG, which always discusses the Sanctuary, and intervening meetings necessary as the Advisory Council Chair, Ms. Harlan spends 30 hours (at least) every month supporting and aiding the MBNMS. More importantly, her contacts related to the MBNMS include editors for local newspapers, business leaders, as well as representatives at the highest levels of local and state government. She finds this volunteer time amidst a full-time job as a nurse and a busy schedule as the Mayor for Capitola.
In every aspect of her volunteer work for the Monterey Bay NMS, Ms. Harlan provides a strong voice, trusted opinion and solid support of the Sanctuary and the Sanctuary Program. Moreover, given the huge interest the National Marine Sanctuary Program places in Advisory Councils, it would be a fitting tribute to recognize the longest-standing Sanctuary Advisory Council Chair in the program who leads one of the first Advisory Councils to guide a National Marine Sanctuary.