Third Annual Pongo Environmental Awards and Benefit a Success
Sept 25, 2016 - Santa Monica, CA - Orang Utan Republik Foundation. Actor/Activist Ed Asner provided serious tone to the annual event which celebrates environmental achievement.
The Orang Utan Republik Foundation (OURF) held its 3rd Annual Pongo Environmental Awards on September 24th at a private residence in West Pasadena. Nearly one hundred interested people were in attendance. With the scenic Eagle Rock vista overlooking the stage area in the backyard, Actor Ed Asner took the stage at sundown and gave the audience an update on the crticially endangered status of the Bornean orangutan. Mr. Asner made it clear that this was a serious matter and that the attendees were assembled to help raise funds to support the work of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation. The audience responded by raising over $15,000 for programs that help to save endangered orangutans through education and othe innovative projects.
Pongo Environmental Awards were given out for environmental achievement to Dr. Ian Singleton for his work conserving orangutans in Sumatra, Louie Psihoyos for his visually stunning film, "Racing Extinction", Topher White for his innovative project "Rainforest Connection", Sarah duPont for her eye-opening film "River of Gold" and to Ed Asner for his activism on behalf of humanity and the environment. Each recipient gave an acceptance speech either by pre-tape (Ian and Louie) or in person (Topher, Sarah and Ed) that expressed their appreciation for the award and which indicated the importance of the work to address an environmental challenge.
Ian Singleton discussed the many problems facing the Leuser Ecosystem, including its lack of inclusion or recognition within the spatial plan of Aceh province and the threats that still exist by potential development projects which could jeapordize the survival of elephants, rhinocerous, tigers and elephants. Louie Psihoyos while thanking the committee said the "real reward, the real award will come when the Leuser Ecosystem is finally protected." Topher White explained how his technological innovation to place old cellphones in rainforests to listen for illegal loggers could also be used to listen for populations of orangutans or other wildlife. Sarah duPont, President of Amazon Aid, was moved by her receiving the award for her film documenting the impacts of illegally mined gold in the Peruvian Amazon. Ed Asner received his surprise award from his friend and colleague, Deborah Pearl, who wrote and produced a recent film starring Ed.
Besides the formal awards program for the evening, attendees enjoyed both graceful Balinese and Javanese dancing and energetic music performed by Jess Harlen and Camilla Charlesworth from New Zealand. Sound and visual presentation was provided by Brandon Wollner (What You Want). The guests dined on delicious Indonesian food (vegan) and enjoyed gourmet snacks and drinks provided by donating merchants from the southland.
To help raise funds, attendees bid on items and services at the silent and live auction including collectables, unique experiences, and handicrafts and art.
Dozens of volunteers helped to plan and put on the award program and benefit. All were thanked by Dr. Gary Shapiro, President of the Orang Utan Republik Foundation. Event Chair Susan Callery also thanked the crowd and gave an update of the palm oil situation in Indonesia. Appreciation was given to the hosts, Dr. Steve and Sherri Sener.
Some of the other points of interest during the evening event: Artist Doron Gazit displayed and spoke about his "Red Line Project" highlighting photographically drastic changes to the world's environment; A dozen young actors (actors at Disney, Nickelodeon) from BuzzzPR and Red Walk Talent PR were in attendance, including Hunter Payton who helped with the raffle drawing; "Orley the Orangutan" made a surprise appearance following the #MissingOrangutan campaign; "Duyok the Orangutan" was part of the "step-and-repeat" for attendees to get their picture taken before sundown; Pongo Award alumni Ronna Phelps made a presentation to OURF; Plinio Garcia of Indyplush announced a new campaign to support OURF; an outside water station was provided and staffed by Cascade Mountain Spring Water; a salsa table was provided and staffed by Handsome Devil Salsa.
The management of OURF would like to thank the following volunteers: Matt Trudall, Parvene Michaels, Rania Long, Kim Lievense, Allen Altchech, Harvey Jordan, Roger Kintz, Sekar Sosronegoro, Silfia Chaibus, Allison Saldana, Richard Shirer, Lisa Siegel, Jason Shapiro, Bailey Frankin, Emily Baker, Kat Craig, Shauna Callery, Rob Fitzroy, Peggie Taylor, Tiffany Darden, Melissa Smith, Hyla Douglas, Brandon Wollner, Terri Wollner, Kim Schubert.
OURF would like to thank the following for in-kind donations to the event: Ed Begley Jr., David Copperfield, Ed Asner, Dr, Steve Edberg, Jess Harlen, Camilla Charlesworth, Susan Callery, Doug Fretty, Karin Konoval, Inggriani Shapiro, Harvey Jordan, GeorgeAnne Irvine, Marcia Frank, Trevor Shaw, Ronna Phelps, Steve Rasmussen, Deborah Pearl, Indy Plush, Innovative Media Productions, Pixels, AirDD, Reclord Studio, Panomatics, Create Yoga, 1 World Sarongs, Simpang Asia, Badger, Ilka Foods, Cascade Mountain Spring Water, Pantai Inn, What You Want Productions, Scotty D’s, San Diego Zoo, Nii, Kapal Api, PRP Wine, Handsome Devil Salsa, Zulu Nyala, Al Diwan, Chandler Farm, Zaniac, Turveda, Just June’s., Dr. Bronners, Galeos.