“Before I wanted to be an actor, I really dreamt about becoming a marine biologist,” Leonardo DiCaprio said with the Pacific Ocean at his back accepting an award at Oceana’s annual SeaChange fundraiser. “As a kid,” he continued, “I always had a fascination with the ocean and the seemingly endless array of spectacular creatures that live underwater. I remember the first time I realized people could really threaten the existence of wildlife. When I was 11-years-old I heard about the manatees in Florida and how these docile peaceful creatures were being injured and wiped out by human activity. I donated $5 in a small manila envelope to a local organization in Florida who was working to protect these manatees. And it gave me hope that there was something we could do proactively every day to save them.” DiCaprio has given a tad more this year to preserving the ocean, donating $3 million to fund Oceana’s conservation efforts in the Eastern Pacific and an additional $7 million to other ocean conservation projects.
DiCaprio didn’t stop there. During the live auction (he sat at a table with his ma and pals—a bit away from the crowd) he raised his paddle, bidding and winning a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a trip to the Great Barrier Reef on HEMPISHERE, a luxury catamaran (he did a little dance in his seat after winning that one). He and his mother Irma have supported the org for years, attending one of Oceana’s first events. Dennis Haysbert emceed the evening on Karen and Bruce Cahill’s front lawn in Laguna, which led off with a few words by longtime board member Ted Danson and Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless who said, “The ocean is like a bank account. If you build it up, you can live off the dividends.” Other ocean do-gooders like Oscar Nunez, Rachael Harris, Austin Nichols, Miranda Crosgrove and Lara Dern attended. Check out the pics!