Don't go to this weekend's "Abalone Run" in Huntington Beach expecting to find your friendly neighborhood sushi chef with a net. This event is a first-ever 5k run to raise money and awareness for the nonprofit Green Abalone Restoration Project.
Turns out the little muscular sea snails with beautiful blue and green interior shell colors have been over-harvested off our coast. "This beautiful sea creature's population is now on verge of extinction in Southern California," reports the nonprofit Orange County Coastkeeper environmental group.
Speaking of OC nonprofits, the founder of another one, marine biologist Nancy Caruso of Garden Grove-based Get Inspired! Inc., was so distressed over the local disappearance of green abalone (Haliotis fulgens) that she organized Saturday's "Abalone Run."
The restoration project aims to revive the population in Southern California through farming 100,000 green abalone and releasing them into the Pacific once mature. Here's video of Coastkeeper staff and interns taking tissue samples from green abalone somewhere off the Orange Coast:
"It's exciting to see the community respond to this event," Caruso says. "People want to help. We are all changing the world. We are all going to save the green abalone."
But first, participants must log onto GetInspiredInc.org and lay down a $25 donation for early bird registration to run. Contributions from non-runners are welcome also. All proceeds go to the restoration project.
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Runners, walkers and crawlers are asked to arrive at 7 a.m. at Peter's Landing on Pacific Coast Highway and Anderson Street in Huntington Beach, where you can also register. The 5k officially starts at 8 a.m.
Participants will find special parking and a water refill station for the refillable water bottles they are encouraged to bring to reduce their carbon footprint. Everyone has a chance to win raffle prizes, according to events coordinator Corrie Hemry.
Even those maintaining a sea snail pace.