The Voice of the Bay
Launch of Biscayne Waterkeeper
Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper (BBWK) celebrated its new status as “The Voice of the Bay” with a spectacular Launch Event at Wynwood’s trendy GAB Studio. 350 people turned out for BBWK’s first event to support the grassroots organization, which was established to protect and advocate for the Biscayne Bay watershed. BBWK is the newest of almost 200 Waterkeeper organizations around the world affiliated with the Waterkeeper Alliance.
At the door, guests were given the opportunity to become members of BBWK. Inside, they mingled and sipped cocktails amidst the funky atmosphere created by Andy Labrada of Event X and DJ Mike Sike’s eclectic music mix. It was a beautiful night for Vanessa Diaz’s brilliant live performance under the stars on GAB’s patio lounge.
BBWK supporters had the chance to bid on auction items throughout the evening. Items included the work of some of Miami’s hottest artists like Brian Call, James Brutus, Rush Bowles, and Ross Ford. Also up for bidding, amongst other select items were a fabulous deep sea fishing trip by Captain Joe Cotter and a fascinating walking tour of “Old Cocoanut Grove” with Dragonfly Eco-Tours. A “Float Our Boat” puzzle helped raise fun and funds for a boat to patrol the Bay and protect its waters from polluters.
There was much to learn about the needs of Biscayne Bay as well. BBWK Board members Dean Taha, Lauren Brown Hornor and Giselle Kovac greeted guests and informed partygoers about why Biscayne Bay needs a full-time guardian.
The Bay’s new full-time Waterkeeper, Miami native Alexis K. Segal, was joined by Lauren Brown Hornor, Executive Director of Fraser Riverkeeper in Vancouver and by Mark Mattson, a board member of Waterkeeper Alliance and the President of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper in Toronto in welcoming and addressing the crowd.
Mark started the evening poignantly by reflecting on the moment. “It’s an exciting achievement for the Waterkeeper Alliance to expand to Biscayne Bay, Florida. Representing one of America’s most significant environmental assets, BBWK will protect and celebrate the future of the Bay for everyone, forever.” said Mattson. He went on to remind the crowd of the simple and profound words of Bobby Kennedy, Jr., Waterkeeper Alliance founder, “Everyone has the right to clean water.”
Segal spoke passionately about her commitment to the Biscayne Bay watershed and its economic, social and environmental importance to the city. “Biscayne Bay is what makes Miami sparkle,” said Segal. “It is why we live here. We must be able to swim, boat and fish in clean, clear waters and keep our Bay beautiful. That is the mission of a Waterkeeper.”
The partying went on into the wee hours. The Launch was successful in raising awareness of the mission of BBWK. Throughout the evening, the support and commitment from patrons was inspiring. “This is an amazing beginning for BBWK,” said Segal. “BBWK is the voice of Biscayne Bay and our goal is to ensure South Floridians’ right to enjoy their watershed.”
For more information about Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper please visit www.BBWK.org and visit our Facebook page.
Photos by Manny Hernandez