The Grand Grunion Gala: A Black Tie Affair
 Lawrenz Miller award
COSEE-West got word earlier this year that we were to be honored with the Dr. Susanne Lawrenz-Miller Education Award from the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium during their annual fundraiser, the Grand Grunion Gala. Needless to say, we were thrilled…and then some among us were a little dismayed. Thrilled because it is always nice to be recognized for work well done, but dismayed because it was to be a black tie event, which for the ladies meant fancy dresses and those most fashionable of torture devices, high heels.

The evening of the event featured a silent auction with selections such as an autographed, upper deck authenticated Kobe Bryant jersey, a kayaking trip to Mexico and beautiful photographs of everything from egrets to the hula skirt siphonophore (Physophora).

As I worked my way through the crowd, dodging poofy skirts and martini glasses, I spied one of the live auction items quietly snoozing, completely oblivious to its adoring audience. Whoever was responsible for getting the auction items together had managed to find the cutest, most mellow puppy imaginable. It seemed a little weird to me to be auctioning off a live animal, but no one else seemed surprised by this. I later learned that this was not the first puppy to be rescued and given a loving home through the Grunion Gala.

The rest of the night featured a catered dinner (with three different desserts!), presentation of the awards, the hatching of grunion eggs, a live auction and the “grunion dance.” This infamous dance consisted of tuxedoed men and bejeweled women mimicking the movements of grunion running up on to southern California beaches.

All in all, it was a good night for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, especially its education staff, which receives a lot of the proceeds from the night. It was also good for COSEE-West, since we got to spend time with old friends, make new ones and spread the word about our network that’s dedicated to getting marine sciences out into the classroom and the public.

To see everything that COSEE-West was given that night visit the COSEE-West blog.

Contributed by Jane Lee