California's New Whale Ecoplate image from California Coastal Commission
This past Tuesday, after twenty years, California unveiled a new ecoplate. The new ecoplate looked a lot like the old one, but with a more modern touch, some water drops and a bit more sunshine in the backdrop. While many people liked the new design and the Mayor of Santa Monica encouraged California residents to buy one, not everyone was happy with the new design, especially Wyland, the artist, who designed the former one.According to a Wyland Foundation spokesperson, "we, like many others, think the new image is a poor imitation of a Wyland artwork". After fourteen years of loaning the image to the state of California, Wyland asked the Coastal Commission for 20% of the proceeds from plate sales to go towards his Wyland Foundation. Although this may seem at first to be mercenary or self-serving, the Wyland Foundation is an environmental foundation dedicated to protecting, and preserving the world's oceans and marine life. The foundation runs education programs, similar to the kind that the Whale Tail® License Plate was designed to support.
The California Coastal Commission developed the Whale Tail® License Plate in 1997 as a way for the public to contribute to coastal conservation and education programs. Proceeds from the plate support the annual Coastal Cleanup Day, which is on September 17th this year. The plate also supports the year 'round Adopt-A-Beach® program, the Whale Tail® Grants program, free resources for educators and the Coastal Conservancy's beach access and habitat restoration programs.
200,000 of the original Whale Tail plates had been sold in California, drumming up $60.2 million for coastal conservation and environmental efforts. The money has also been used to fund 433 Whale Tail Grants.
To select a new design, the California DMV and Coastal Commission held a "save the whale tail plate" contest. There were 300 entrants. The new design was a rare collaboration between Northern and Southern California- as the two winners who ended up in top place were Elizabeth Robinette Tyndall of Contra Costa County and Bill Atkins of Laguna Beach. Each artist reportedly received a money prize. And this time around, the artists were required to sign releases.
The first 1,000 people who order the plate on EcoPlates.com can get it for $25 instead of $50, or receive $25 off a personalized plate. They'll also get two tickets to an aquarium in California. Now that's a whale of a deal!