Byline: Ambrosia Brody
DANA POINT — Boaters can walk for a cause during the third annual “A Mile for Maddie” fundraising event to benefit the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, May 18. This year’s 1.2-mile walk is tied to the grand opening of the center.
The walk begins at the Strand parking lot and runs along the bluff, ending at the Ocean Institute. Participants will have a chance to tour the new facility after the walk, as well as the Ocean Institute. The open house festival will include refreshments, live music, crafts and self-guided tours thought the institute and Pilgrim, a replica of an early 19th century schooner.
“This year’s goal is to raise $100,000, to continue to support the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center and its unique programming that will immerse all visitors in hands-on experiences with the ocean and its marine life,” said Kajsa James, president of the foundation and Maddie’s mother. “We intend to help students from all walks of life participate in Ocean Institute programs that encourage exploration, inspiration and stewardship.”
The center is named for 5-year-old Madeleine “Maddie” James, who died March 13, 2011 from an inoperable brain tumor. Maddie’s love of the sea and of the time she spent at the Ocean Institute’s summer camp in 2010 led to her family’s founding of the institute.
“It’s a very fitting legacy for a very special little girl who loved the ocean and cared about preserving it,” James said.
The Maddie James Seaside Learning Center features learning stations including grow-out pens for white seabass and a biodiversity aquarium; a 300-foot ocean science landing that replaced a 1970 dock, and construction of a 100-foot maritime pier.
Early bird adult registration for the May 18 walk is $25 and $15 for children ages 3-12. Register online at amileformaddie.com. Those unable to attend the walk are welcome to enjoy the open house that runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. A $10 entrance fee in lieu of a full registration fee will apply for non-walkers.
The Ocean Institute is located at 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive. For more information, visit amileformaddie.com.