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Wyland Foundation celebrates 25 years of promoting conservation of waterways and oceans

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. — Renowned marine life artist Wyland changed the way people think about our ocean when he started painting life-size whales on the sides of buildings in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, the foundation the artist founded to promote clean water and healthy oceans will celebrate its twenty-fifth anniversary this year with a series of special events.

The main event for the anniversary year will be the annual Wyland Foundation Celebration and Gala, Nov. 10, at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. Following in a tradition of esteemed speakers, including National Geographic Explorer in Resident Dr. Sylvia Earle, Actress Jane Seymour, and Olympian Janet Evans, the foundation will welcome Dr. Ken Caldeira of Stanford University, whose groundbreaking work on oceans and climate has been profiled in the Journal of Nature, Scientific American, and National Public Radio. The event will feature live painting by the artist and a retrospective of notable foundation programs and accomplishments.

Since 1993, the Wyland Foundation has delivered engaging traveling art, science and community-based programs that promote a greater understanding of the ways people impact the health of the ocean, lakes, rivers streams, and wetlands. Last year, the foundation and its partners encouraged people across the nation to make more than 600,000 water conservation pledges, delivered mobile water science education to over 30,000 children, donated art supllies to schools in 100 cities, and launched a new initiative to reduce the impacts on the ocean from land-based activities in partnership with the United Nations Environment program.

“We started the foundation with a focus on protecting the ocean through the arts,” Wyland said. “But as it became clear that many of the problems we see in the ocean originate far upstream, we expanded our mission to address our impact on our vast watersheds. It also became clear that inspiring people through the art, then encouraging them to broaden their understanding through science, would be instrumental to sustaining these critical ecosystems.”

Significant ongoing programs and accomplishments of the foundation include:

  • 100 monumental marine murals in over 17 countries
  • The National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation , a nationwide challenge in partnership with Toyota, US EPA, National League of Cities, and the Toro Company, to see which cities can be the most waterwise. To date, the program has encouraged residents to pledge to reduce their water usage by more than 10 billion gallons.
  • The Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Experience, a 1000-square foot interactive science museum on wheels dedicated to promoting a broader understanding of issues affecting our water supply, from pollution to eutrophication. The exhibit has reached over one million people.
  • The Wyland National Art and Mural Challenge, a national water-themed art competition that encourages students to work individually and collaboratively on art projects with community messages about topical water issues. More than 15,000 students across 45 states have taken part in this annual challenge to use art as a method of exploring the economic, cultural, and aesthetic value of our ocean, lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands.
  • Earth Month Heroes is an annual partnership with KCAL-KCBS and the Wyland Foundation that has recognized more than 40 individuals, ranging from teachers to business leaders to scientists, who have made a significant local environmental impact.
  • Adopt-A-Channel – The foundation has joined the effort to provide annual support to remove marine debris from area storm channels to reduce harmful and polluted runoff.
  • The Wyland World Water Pledge, in partnership with UN Environment, encourages people everywhere to broaden their understanding of how their local actions can shape our global environment.
  • Other projects have included “Hands Across the Oceans,” an international art project for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing bringing together children from around the world to celebrate healthy waterways and oceans as a mile-long series of murals. The project was subsequently installed at the U.S. National Mall.

The Wyland Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit public charity dedicated to raising environmental awareness about water conservation and water quality. Wyland Foundation is non-partisan and non-advocacy. Learn more at

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