The Friends of Ballona Wetlands environmental group has received a $5,000 donation from a longtime board member who completed the Catalina Island Marathon last month.

Bob Shanman, 65, owner of Torrance’s Wild Birds Unlimited store, made the donation to Friends of Ballona after redeeming the pledges he received from supporters for completing the 26.2-mile race March 13th. Shanman donated another $5,000 in pledges he earned to the group South Bay Wildlife Rehab.

“Non-profits like the Friends depend upon giving board members as well as giving members, but Bob went well beyond the extra mile in this case. Twenty-six of them, to be exact,” said Richard Beban, co-executive director of Friends of Ballona.

Shanman and his wife, Roberta, have been associated with the Friends since the organization’s founding in 1978. He had worked as a civil engineer until he says he came to a career crossroads in 1994, when his company


An avid bird watcher, Shanman said he decided while at the Ballona Wetlands one day that he’d rather pursue his passion, and opened Wild Birds Unlimited in Torrance in 1995.

Shanman serves on the boards of the Friends of Ballona Wetlands, Friends of Madrona Marsh, and Palos Verdes/South Bay Audubon.

The Catalina Island race was the first marathon for Shanman, who said he wanted to make a donation to both the South Bay group and Friends of Ballona.

“I chose Catalina because my hiking friends do it every year,

and I felt it would be a great challenge at 65,” he said. “South Bay Wildlife Rehab has always been our primary charitable group, but I thought the Friends

were equally valuable recipients.”

Monies for the Friends will be used to support its education programs, which bring as many as 5,500 people to the wetlands each

year, more than half of whom are children from inner-city schools, the group said.