La Jolla News Nuggets: Birch’s Blue Beach, tennis championships, art gallery closes, more

The new Blue Beach at Birch Aquarium is a 4,500-square-foot floor mural.
The new Blue Beach at Birch Aquarium is a 4,500-square-foot floor mural depicting the bathymetry (or map of the depth) of the underwater canyons off La Jolla Shores.
(Birch Aquarium)

Birch Aquarium unveils Blue Beach

In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8, Birch Aquarium at UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla unveiled Blue Beach, a 4,500-square-foot floor mural depicting the bathymetry (or map of the depth) of the underwater canyons off La Jolla Shores.

“I hope that our community leaves Blue Beach feeling relaxed by the ocean but also pleasantly surprised by what they’ve learned, from the wonders of La Jolla’s deep underwater canyons to the uniqueness of our annual leopard shark aggregations,” said director of exhibits Megan Dickerson. “We’ve now created a space where our community can learn and play together within view of the ocean that we are so inspired to protect.”

From July 10 to Aug. 30, Blue Beach will host a series of family-friendly happy hours featuring a special menu of craft beer and wine paired with bite-size foods and treats.

The happy hours will take place Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. (last call at 6:20) and will include music, outdoor games and pop-up interactions with Scripps scientists. Happy hours are included in the cost of aquarium admission.

Blue Beach is on the south plaza near Shark Shores and the aquarium’s famed Shark Head photo opp.

Learn more or buy tickets at

Tennis championships return to La Jolla Tennis Club

The La Jolla Tennis Club, a public facility, is at 7632 Draper Ave.
The La Jolla Tennis Club, a public facility, is at 7632 Draper Ave.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The 107th La Jolla Tennis Club championships start this week and continue through July 2 at the club, 7632 Draper Ave.

The event regularly attracts over 1,000 top players from Southern California and Arizona. Having been hosted at the La Jolla Tennis Club since 1917, the tournament is considered the world’s longest-running tennis tournament continually held at the same venue.

Categories include men’s and women’s single/doubles/mixed, senior and father/son, super seniors, families and more. Learn more at

San Diego Office of Child and Youth Success to hold virtual town halls

The city of San Diego’s recently created Office of Child and Youth Success will hold a series of virtual town halls to gather information for a master plan to help area families.

Parents, youths, caregivers and supporters are invited to share experiences about what it’s like to grow up in San Diego, and ideas on how it could be better.

For District 1, which includes La Jolla, the virtual town hall will be 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, via Zoom. Learn more or register at

As part of the city’s fiscal 2022 budget adoption process, Mayor Todd Gloria and the City Council approved funding to establish the Office of Child and Youth Success.

In April 2022, Executive Director Andrea O’Hara was hired to lead the new office, which is dedicated to prioritizing San Diego’s young people through current and future policies.

La Jolla’s BFree Studio bids farewell

Art gallery BFree Studio on Girard Avenue in La Jolla closed its doors June 10 after nearly two years in business.

The building owners wanted a tenant willing to sign a five- or 10-year lease, BFree owner Barbara Freeman said, along with pay a rent increase that she considered too high.

“It’s not something that I could continue to do,” Freeman said.

“I have loved doing the 28 shows we’ve done, featuring people that really have no place else to show their work,” she said.

Freeman is considering a pop-up gallery elsewhere in San Diego or the country to continue to give “wonderful young artists” a showplace, she said.

Nominations for 2023 Jewel Awards now open

Nominations are open for the 2023 La Jolla Historical Society Jewel Awards, which “celebrate the patience, perseverance and talent required from La Jolla property owners who successfully and faithfully restore and rehabilitate their properties.”

The Jewel Award for Rehabilitation recognizes owners who repair, alter and make additions to a property, adapting it to contemporary use while preserving its historic, cultural or architectural character.

The Jewel Award for Restoration recognizes owners whose updates to a property include preserving and returning it to its original architectural form and character, often reflecting a particular time in La Jolla’s history.

Homeowners, architects, builders, historians and members of the public are invited to submit nominations for recently rehabilitated or restored structures that preserve the character and charm of La Jolla in either of those categories. The deadline to nominate is Thursday, July 20, with winners announced in October.

The awards are sponsored by the Historical Society’s Landmark Group, a collective of owners of historically designated homes in La Jolla dedicated to preserving La Jolla’s history and architecture for future generations.

Nomination forms (and past winners) can be found at

La Jolla dentist authors textbook chapter

A recently published textbook on dentistry features a chapter authored by periodontist Peter Nordland of La Jolla.

Nordland was asked to write the chapter on oral plastic surgery in one of the volumes of “Esthetics in Dentistry.” His contribution details the surgical nuances of modern oral plastic surgery procedures.

Considered the authoritative source for modern techniques in esthetic dentistry, the book is published in two volumes with over 1,200 pages of detailed instructional help for practitioners.

The contributors were picked to represent the best in esthetic dentistry from around the world.

Curebound awards UCSD researchers with Cure Prize

San Diego-based philanthropic organization Curebound, which raises and invests strategic funding in translational cancer research projects, has announced a $6 million investment in grant funding for leading oncology research in San Diego as part of its 2022-23 class of Discovery, Targeted and Cure Prize grants.

The investment will fund 17 research projects spanning a broad range of collaborative translational research across many disciplines, institutions, types of cancer and areas of research opportunity that are in alignment with Curebound’s scientific pillars.

Curebound also announced that UC San Diego researchers received its Cure Prize, considered its highest award for innovation. Grant funding of $1 million is awarded and administered over two to three years.

The 2023 Cure Prize was awarded to Dr. Rebecca Rakow-Penner, Anders Dale and Dr. Michael McHale for their work in screening for ovarian cancer with advanced diffusion MRI in patients at high risk of the disease.

To learn more about Curebound and the full list of grant recipients, visit

Veterans sports clinic returns to La Jolla

The National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic June 5-9 included surfing sessions in La Jolla.
(Jennifer Roy)

The annual National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic returned to San Diego June 5-9 with several sessions held in La Jolla.

The weeklong clinic, which offered adaptive sports and recreational activities to recently injured veterans, saw more than 120 veterans from across the country participate in surfing at La Jolla Shores.

The veterans — who have a variety of injuries ranging from traumatic brain injury and polytrauma to spinal cord injury or loss of limb — also participated in sailing, kayaking, cycling, yoga and adaptive fitness at other spots around San Diego.

Kiwanis Club of La Jolla awards $2,000 to nonprofit Mama’s Kitchen

Jenna Novotny (left), director of development at Mama’s Kitchen, accepts a check from Kiwanis Club member Nancy Walters.
(Kiwanis Club of La Jolla)

The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla awarded $2,000 to Mama’s Kitchen at its June 9 meeting at the La Jolla Community Center.

Kiwanis Club member Nancy Walters presented the check to Jenna Novotny, director of development at Mama’s Kitchen, a nonprofit that provides medically tailored meals to San Diegans in need.

The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla awards approximately $150,000 annually to local organizations. The money is raised from the club’s annual La Jolla Half Marathon.

The 2024 half marathon and 5K race will take place on May 18.

La Jolla Playhouse’s annual Innovation Night set for Oct. 2

La Jolla Playhouse's 2023 Innovation Night will honor Irwin Jacobs.
(La Jolla Playhouse)

La Jolla Playhouse’s 16th annual Innovation Night will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2, on the playhouse’s outdoor Taper Plaza.

The networking event for local science industry leaders will honor Irwin Jacobs, founding chairman and chief executive emeritus of Qualcomm.

Innovation Night, co-chaired by Denise Bevers, president and chief executive of Vetmab Biosciences, and Tim Scott, president and chief executive of AustinPx, supports the playhouse’s New Play Development and Learning & Engagement programs.

The event will feature a live performance from La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls Festival and an Innovation Gallery showcasing projects by participating companies.

Jacobs has several advanced degrees in electrical engineering and has taught at MIT and UC San Diego, along with co-authoring a textbook on digital communications and information theory.

Jacobs and his wife, Joan, are active philanthropists and major supporters of La Jolla Playhouse — where Joan has been involved in board leadership for nearly four decades — as well as the UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering, the UCSD Jacobs Medical Center, the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, the San Diego Symphony, the San Diego Central Library, the Jacobs-Cushman Food Bank, Second Chance in San Diego, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the High Tech High Charter School System and the Jacobs Institute for Innovation in Education at the University of San Diego.

For more information, visit

Local cancer center seeking volunteers

Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center is looking for volunteers to help patients with wig fittings, organizing library materials and patient information, making “chemo comfort bags” or sitting with people who would like a visitor. Openings are available at several locations, including the La Jolla facility at 10670 John Jay Hopkins Drive.

Library team volunteers listen to the patient or family members to help them find resources for specific diseases, treatment information and available support programs.

Wig fitters are trained in proper techniques and California regulations, helping patients feel “normal,” according to the cancer center.

Other volunteers sit and talk with patients getting chemotherapy.

For more information, email or call (619) 819-6523.

Sharks and humans can get along in the water, study says

A recent study by researchers at Cal State Long Beach’s Shark Lab found that surfers, swimmers and sharks can coexist peacefully in the water.

Using drones to study juvenile white sharks along the Southern California coastline and how close they swim to humans in the water, researchers found that there were no reported shark bites in any of the 26 beaches surveyed between January 2019 and March 2021.

The juvenile white sharks mostly grouped together in two locations — southern Santa Barbara County and central San Diego County — the researchers discovered through roughly 1,500 drone flights over the two years. Adult white sharks are generally solitary animals.

In those two spots, the juvenile sharks swam near humans on 97 percent of the days surveyed, the researchers wrote in a paper published June 2. The sharks often swam within 50 yards of the wave breaks — closest to surfers and stand-up paddleboarders.

“We never expected to see so many encounters every day with no incidents” of bites, said Chris Lowe, a marine biology professor and the Shark Lab’s director. “It’s not just about sharks, it’s about people. This study may change people’s perception of the risk sharks pose to people that share the ocean with them.” — Associated Press

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff