Finalists Named for Orange County’s Cox Conserves Heroes Program

The Trust for Public Land and Cox Communications today announced that Alice Apkarian, Peter Gartner and Jennifer Patalsky were selected as finalists for Orange County’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.

Sponsored by CleanTech OC and media partner KX 93.5, Cox Conserves Heroes honors volunteers who are creating, preserving or enhancing outdoor spaces.

For the past five years, Alice Apkarian has volunteered weekly as a museum docent at the Environmental Nature Center, helping to increase the community’s knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Apkarian volunteers mostly “behind the scenes,” supporting staff as they educate more than 18,000 students who visit the center each year. Her nonprofit of choice is the Environmental Nature Center.

Peter Gartner has volunteered at a local 2.5-acre, drought?tolerant demonstration garden at Santiago Canyon College since the garden opened in 2008. Gartner is a hands-on volunteer who provides leadership, training and guidance to the countless other volunteers who come to the garden. His nonprofit of choice is Coastkeeper Garden.

Jennifer Patalsky originally volunteered to help promote nature walks on Facebook, but her volunteerism has spread to organizing weekly environmental education tours, fundraising events, and litter and graffiti removal to help preserve the Santa Ana Mountains. Patalsky’s nonprofit of choice is Naturalist for You.


  • 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.
  • Orange County’s 2012 Cox Conserves Hero was Michael Beanan, whose nonprofit of choice was the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition.

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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, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara 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.