Sea Otter Savvy as a Nonprofit Organization
Sea Otter Savvy is a nonprofit public benefit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of California in April 2020.
Our application for tax-exempt status under 501(c)(3) is currently in progress and expected to be completed and approved by September 2020. All donation made during the interim will be retroactively tax deductible.
Meet our Board of Directors
Since 2001, Gena has worked as a sea otter biologist, studying sea otters in such wide ranging locations as the Aleutian Islands, Russia’s Commander Islands, San Nicolas Island off the coast of Southern California, and along the Central California coast. She studied zoology and marine biology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, and obtained her master’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz under Dr. James Estes. After years of studying sea otters in the wild, Gena has learned much about their unique biology and behavior, and witnessed first-hand the chronic nature of disturbance to sea otters by human recreation activities. In early 2014, together with members of the Southern Sea Otter Research Alliance, she first began to pursue the idea of organizing a program specifically dedicated to alleviating this chronic disturbance through education. Gena has directed the Sea Otter Savvy program since 2015 and currently serves as President of the Board of Directors.
Bette Bardeen has spent the last 20 years volunteering in state and national parks, with particular emphasis on wildlife disturbance. In 2015 she organized SeaLife Stewards, a water based education program in Morro Bay intended to reduce disturbance to otters, seals, sea lions and seabirds. In 2019 she led an effort for Friends of the Elephant Seal to reduce disturbance to and educate the public about male elephant seals that come to San Simeon Cove to recover after losing battles in the Piedras Blancas rookery. She has served on a number of park cooperating association boards including the Central Coast State Parks Association, Friends of the Elephant Seal, and what is now the Sequoia Parks Conservancy. Bette is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Harvard Law School
Cheryl is a retired Marine Biologist that worked for over 30 years for the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts monitoring and researching benthic invertebrates and demersal fish populations affected by treated sewage discharge off the Palos Verdes peninsula in southern California. She has a Bachelor’s degree in aquatic biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her professional career she was the secretary and then treasurer for 12 years for a scientific non-profit group called Southern California Association of Marine Invertebrate Taxonomists (SCAMIT.org). After retiring in 2014 to the Central coast she joined Sea Otter Savvy as a citizen scientist participating in survey data collection and public outreach. The same year she became the marine invertebrates curator for the Morro Bay Natural History museum. Also from 2014 -2018 she was treasurer for the non-profit Music Boosters group at Morro Bay High School.