Cox Announces Denise Stillinger and Teen Isabel Herrera as San Diego's 2011 Cox Conserves Heroes
$35,000 donated to San Diego-area environmental nonprofits

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Cox Communications, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land (TPL), announced that Denise Stillinger and teen Isabel Herrera are San Diego's 2011 Cox Conserves Heroes. Sponsored locally by Think Blue San Diego, Cox Conserves Heroes honors individuals who are creating, preserving or enhancing outdoor places for everyone to enjoy.

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Stillinger and Herrera were nominated for the program in the adult and youth categories, respectively, selected as two of six finalists by local environmental leaders, and ultimately, named the Heroes after receiving the most votes in an online public poll.

The winners were announced at a special ceremony hosted by Hotel Solamar, an eco-friendly Kimpton hotel. The Cox Conserves Heroes and finalists were presented with a total of $35,000 to donate to their favorite environmental nonprofit organization. All finalists were also recognized on the field at the Padres game and treated to an evening of baseball with their friends and family.

Adult Category:

Cox Conserves Hero: Cardiff resident Denise Stillinger volunteers in wetlands conservation and education. She helped to create the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, to preserve the lagoon and its watershed. Stillinger's nonprofit of choice, the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, will receive $10,000.

Second Place: Irene Barajas of San Ysidro volunteers by teaching Girl Scouts how to clean up and beautify the Otay Valley Regional Park. Together they have helped plant and maintain 500 trees in the area.  Barajas' nonprofit of choice, WiLDCOAST/Costasalvaje, will receive $5,000.

Third Place: Gerry Keskeys of San Diego has devoted more than 1,200 hours to establishing green spaces in urban San Diego, and he played a key role in starting the New Roots Community Farm.  Keskeys' nonprofit of choice, Grow Strong, will receive $2,500.

Youth Category:

Cox Conserves Hero: San Diego resident and recent graduate of Hoover High School, Isabel Herrera, 18, has spent the last three years inspiring people to protect the ocean and enlighten others about environmental issues. She has focused her efforts on City Heights, trying to change behaviors such as dumping and polluting.  Herrera's nonprofit of choice, Ocean Discovery Institute, will receive $10,000.

Second Place: Luis Malo, a senior at Chula Vista High School, volunteers and assists in coordinating various clean-up activities at his high school and his Chula Vista community.  Malo, 18, is active in the Chula Vista High School PEACE Club, where members clean up graffiti throughout the neighborhood.   Malo's nonprofit of choice, the Chula Vista High School (CVHS) Peace Club, will receive $5,000.

Third Place: 15-year-old Blake Powers of Jamul helped to develop the East County Produce Exchange, which provides an opportunity for neighbors within the local community to trade homegrown produce monthly, so nothing goes to waste.  A student at Steele Canyon High School, Powers' nonprofit of choice, A.R.C.H.E.S. (Alpine Ranch Creative Health and Ecological Solutions, Inc.) will receive $2,500.

The $35,000 award money was provided by the James M. Cox Foundation and the Cox Kids Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Cox Communications in San Diego. The Cox Kids Foundation is funded by Cox employees, who donate a portion of their paychecks that is matched 100 percent by the company.

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About Cox Conserves Heroes

The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created through a partnership between TPL and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications, to honor everyday conservationists. Since the program launched in 2008, more than $150,000 has been donated to local environmental nonprofits. Cox Conserves Heroes also runs in Atlanta, Hampton Roads, Va., San Francisco and

About Cox Communications San Diego

Award-winning Cox Communications is a full-service telecommunications provider of voice, video and data services. Operating in San Diego County since 1961, Cox offers the latest in advanced digital TV and high definition cable television, high speed Internet, local and long distance telephone service, digital video recorder service and On Demand programming. Commercial voice and data services are offered via Cox Business; advertising and promotional opportunities are available through Cox Media; and Cox Communications San Diego owns and operates award-winning Channel 4 San Diego, television home of the San Diego Padres and local programming. Para más información, visita y

About Think Blue San Diego

Think Blue is the City of San Diego's award winning Storm Water outreach program. Started in 1999 as part of the Clean Water Task Force, Think Blue provides education to residents, businesses and visitors about steps that they can take to prevent storm drain pollution, and protect our local waterways in San Diego. When it rains or when water flows out of yards, water that enters the storm drain system flows directly into our creeks, rivers, bays, beaches and ultimately the ocean. The water that enters the storm drain system is untreated because the City storm drain system and sewer system are NOT connected. Contaminants that flow into the storm drain, such as pesticides, pet waste, trash and automobile fluids, are harmful to our health and can impact local marine life. Think Blue encourages everyone to help prevent pollution by adopting a few simple practices. To learn how, please visit

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 3 million acres of land nationwide, and helped states and communities craft and pass over 382 ballot measures, generating $34 billion in new conservation funding.

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