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Celebrating Legends and Creating Legacies: Preparing for ECOLIFE Conservation’s 20th Anniversary Gala

monarch butterfly conservation

Climate change and the loss of habitats and species diversity present a clear threat to the future of humanity. Underserved populations and vital species like the monarch butterfly are the first to fall victim to violent storms, temperature changes, loss of food sources, and more. ECOLIFE Conservation is committed to addressing these challenges and improving the quality of life for us all. 

ECOLIFE Conservation was founded by biologist Bill Toone in 2003 after more than 30 years with the Zoological Society of San Diego. Bill recognized the need for organizations that take human concerns into conservation efforts. 

To fulfill this need, ECOLIFE has taken great care to cultivate a team of passionate humanitarians and environmentalists. Each employee demonstrates professional and personal commitment to contributing to a healthier, more sustainable, and equitable future for the planet and all of its inhabitants.

To celebrate our team’s incredible work and the milestones accomplished over these last 20 years, we’re celebrating our anniversary on October 14, 2023 – Celebrating Legends and Creating Legacies. Keep reading to learn more about what we’ve been doing, our plans for the future, and how we’re preparing for this year’s legendary event.

ECOLIFE Conservation’s History

In 1979, Bill Toone graduated with a master’s degree from the University of California and was hired by the Zoological Society of San Diego. After rising through the ranks to the level of Curator of Birds, Bill became disillusioned by traditional efforts in conservation. 

He had traveled extensively and worked in over 30 countries including Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Paraguay, Cameroon, and Madagascar. Through all this work he noticed an association between exploited resources and impoverished people. 

Hoping to find a more equitable path in conservation Bill co-founded ECOLIFE Conservation in 2003. A year later, we began building stoves in Mexico as part of our Patsari stove project. 

In 2014 ECOLIFE constructed our 2,200-square-foot greenhouse space for a full-size aquaponics system used for education, training, and supplementing nutritional needs for underserved communities in San Diego County. Following this, the ECO-cycle Aquaponics kit was patented in 2015, which was the start of our Sustainable Agriculture Program and is currently in all 50 states providing STEM education for grades K-9.

In 2017 ECOLIFE opened an office in Michoacán, Mexico. Soon after, we celebrated our 5,000th stove built around the Mexico Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR) in 2019. 

Our momentum has not slowed down. In 2020, we built our second aquaponic system and breeding facility at Aquaponics Innovation Center (AIC) to focus on aquaculture production. The following year, another significant milestone for ECOLIFE was receiving carbon credit certification by the Gold Standard for our Patsari stove project, and building our 10,000th stove. We reached new heights in 2022 when our Sustainable Agriculture Program completed and presented our Modular Aquaponics Response Kit (M.A.R.K) which will work to provide food insecure communities with the tools to grow their own food sustainably

Celebrating Our 20th Anniversary

This year, on ECOLIFE’s 20th anniversary, we’ll be celebrating the legends who have helped us reach these remarkable milestones while laying the foundation for a legacy of conservation and sustainability.

With this gala, we have a fundraising goal to support the families, habitats, and wildlife that our organization works to protect. 100% of all proceeds fundraised go directly to funding our Patsari Stove Project and Sustainable Agriculture Program. Without the support of our community and this gala, we can’t continue to provide these communities with measurable health benefits, economic stability, and better standards of living.

Preparing for the Gala

Our 20th anniversary gala will be celebrated at Birch Aquarium in La Jolla on Saturday, October 14, at 6 PM. The celebration will begin on the Tidepool Terrace with a sunset toast and live music by the legendary performers Ruby Presnell and Hank Easton. 

Dinner will be prepared by Chef Michel Malecot, owner of the French Gourmet, using produce grown at ECOLIFE’s very own aquaponics farm. Our sponsors and attendees are all an important part of our 20-year legacy and the impact we have made together.

Our sponsors include Visionary Sponsor Wyvern Guild, Silver Sponsor, Spotlight Energy, Bronze Sponsors Calsense and Wollman Wealth Designs, along with John Rowe Photography, Torrey Pines Law Group, and Cosmic Solar Roofing underwriting the photography, video, and decor.

Join us in Monarch Butterfly Conservation and Creating a Sustainable Future!

Through our fuel-efficient stove program and Sustainable Agriculture Program, our goal is to help people and the environment thrive while protecting vulnerable habitats and species. With these two programs, we can unite the needs of people and critical resources while having a tremendous impact on protecting natural resources. 

Our future depends on our ability to efficiently use our finite resources and safeguard the environment. We can’t do this without recognizing the connection between people and nature, focusing our conservation efforts on issues affecting habitats and the communities that live there.

We are working to put the power of sustainable community development in the hands of the people by providing resources, technical knowledge, education, and training. Community members are the best resource for understanding how to effectively mobilize and implement solutions to address their needs. 

Understanding that lasting environmental solutions can only be met through addressing the needs of our planet’s most vulnerable populations through community-led sustainable development is why ECOLIFE started its fuel-efficient stove program and Sustainable Agriculture Program.

This is why we’ve put so much effort into our work, but we need your help to keep our work going! Through events like our 20th anniversary gala and gifts from our community, we can continue to educate and help communities while completing our mission to cultivate impactful solutions and collaborate with communities to nourish the health of families and sustain the earth.