Finalists Named for Santa Barbara's Cox Conserves Heroes Program, Public Asked to Vote

Funds donated on behalf of finalists to local environmental nonprofits

Jul 29, 2013, 11:15 ET from Cox Communications

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., July 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cox Communications and The Trust for Public Land announced Vera Bensen, Susan Epstein, and Dale Swanson as the finalists for Santa Barbara's Cox Conserves Heroes program.

The winner will be chosen through an online vote, which is open to the public July 29-August 16 at The winner will be announced in September.

Cox Conserves Heroes honors volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing outdoor spaces.

Cox Conserves Heroes Finalists

  • Vera Bensen was one of the major players in the preservation and purchase of the Carpinteria Bluffs. The property was slated for development until the community organized to purchase the property and keep it as open space. The 52 acres of prime oceanfront property has served the community for more than a decade. It has been a haven for walking and biking, as well as organized sports such as soccer and softball. Bensen's nonprofit of choice is the Carpinteria Valley Association.
  • Susan Epstein is an advocate for conservation practices that have led to greener and healthier environments for thousands of children in the Goleta Valley. As a parent and Goleta School Board member, Epstein led efforts to eliminate pesticides in 120 acres of playing fields used by the district's 4,000 students and community groups. The district's use of alternative green practices has become a model for other county agencies and districts. Epstein's nonprofit of choice is the Center for Sustainability at Santa Barbara City College.
  • In 2005, Pastor Dale Swanson called the city of Santa Barbara looking for ways for his church to give back to the community, which led to the Annual City Clean-Up. Swanson has been a driving force behind this event, which now draws more than 500 volunteers who plant trees, remove graffiti and pick up litter. Swanson's nonprofit of choice is PARC (Parks and Recreation Community Foundation).


  • Cox Conserves Hero: The winner's nonprofit of choice will receive $5,000, promotion through on-air public service announcements and 20 volunteer hours donated by Cox employees.
  • Second Place: The finalist's nonprofit of choice will receive $2,500.
  • Third Place: The finalist's nonprofit of choice will receive $1,000.

Santa Barbara's 2012 Cox Conserves Hero was Martin Camp, whose nonprofit of choice was Fairview Gardens.

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About Cox Conserves Heroes
The Cox Conserves Heroes program was created in 2008 through a partnership between The Trust for Public Land and Cox Enterprises, the parent company of Cox Communications, to honor everyday volunteers. The program also runs in Arizona, Atlanta, Louisiana, Orange County (Calif.), San Diego, San Francisco and Virginia. Nearly $300,000 has been donated to local nonprofits and more than 100 volunteers have been honored through the Cox Conserves Heroes program.

About The Trust for Public Land
Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at

SOURCE Cox Communications