Lagoon conservancy board member of 25 years receives prestigious honor

By Claire Harlin

After 25 years of service on the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy board, and several terms as board president, Denise Stillinger is receiving a special honor. District 3 County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price has proclaimed June 19, 2012 “Denise Stillinger Day” throughout the county of San Diego.

“We do a lot of really good projects but we always need help and there’s not enough time in the day,” said conservancy director Doug Gibson, who enjoyed working with Stillinger for the 16 years he’s been part of the nonprofit. “[Stillinger] is usually one of the first people to step up and say ‘I’ll be there,’ or ‘I can do that.’ Not only does she offer that, but she has the expertise and knowledge to go out there and do anything and we feel confident in her abilities.”

Stillinger was also recently honored with an E.A.R.T.H. Award (Environmental Action & Restoration That Helps) through San Diego EarthWorks. Each year the organization recognizes businesses, nonprofits and individuals that deserve special recognition for their work on behalf of a clean, healthy environment.

Stillinger has taught biology for 20 years at the San Elijo campus of MiraCosta College. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of California, San Diego and a master’s in biology from San Diego State University.

She’s one of only two original board members remaining, and plans to remain on the board.

Gibson stressed the contribution she has made by having such a well-versed understanding of science.

“It really helps in dealing with restoration planning,” he said, adding three key attributes make up a great staff member or executive — time, talent and treasure.

“Denise has it in her to share all of those attributes in multiple capacities.”

For more information on the conservancy, visit