by Danielle Rose
The Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter has been making huge strides to protect our ocean, beaches and waves for all people despite the coronavirus pandemic and inability to host many of our in-person events. Although we have been unable to gather for quite some time, many of our volunteers worked extremely hard behind the scenes to protect the local areas we love. Our volunteers rallied to attend city council meetings from the safety of their living rooms to speak up about how paid parking would impact local surfers and many spoke to solidify their support for a styrofoam ban in the city of Ventura (which was passed and went into effect on July 1!).
Huge quantities of trash were removed from the Ormond Beach wetlands by dedicated volunteers working to preserve this beautiful coastal resource. In addition, we had dozens of volunteers submit their solo cleanup data from beaches and local watersheds using the Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell mobile application so that we could still track the type of debris that people were cleaning up. This data is integral to help urge the passing of local ordinances to help protect our environment. We thank all of our volunteers for their incredible work over the last year.
A number of students also participated in our Solo Beach Cleanup Program throughout the school year to earn hours for community service. We are hoping that this solo cleanup momentum by students and others will continue into the summer months, especially as our beaches see more traffic from local beachgoers and tourists. To track this debris, we are transitioning from using the Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell application to using the Marine Debris Tracker (MDT) application. Check out our website for our recent blog with step-by-step instructions on how to use the MDT. By using the MDT you will be able to catalogue the types of debris you have collected. Surfrider will then be able to use that information to help raise awareness about the pollution of our ocean, waves and beaches and the need for legislation to address this critical issue..
The great thing about solo cleanups is that they can be done at beaches, parks, neighborhoods and anywhere else you see debris that can be picked up safely. When doing a solo cleanup, we encourage you to not only download and utilize the MDT application on your smartphone but to also send a screenshot of your MDT cleanup summary details to email@example.com to receive a customized Certificate of Completion to turn in for your time volunteering. The MDT application keeps track of the time you spent cleaning and the distance you covered.
It is important that our volunteers adhere to Surfrider National’s guidelines when performing solo cleanups for their own safety and for the safety of others. Be sure to follow CDC public health guidance, be aware of your local beach access restrictions, and be mindful of EPA recommendations for properly discarding used personal protective equipment (PPE) items. Guidelines can be referenced at the following URL: www.surfrider.org/coastal-blog/entry/solo-beach-cleanup-guidelines.
Thankfully, Surfrider Headquarters has opened up the ability for chapters to host more in-person events. Currently we are still working to develop policies to understand how to successfully and safely host group beach cleanups in busy, high-traffic areas in the midst of the global pandemic. We are hopeful that we will be able to host some small group events in the near future and we thank you in advance for your patience. We look forward to safely gathering with you again and making a difference in our community.
If you’re curious about what our chapter is up to, the best way to get updates on all of our programs and campaigns is to sign up for our newsletter on our website at www.ventura.surfrider.org. We are also active on social media and are always posting about upcoming tabling events, fundraisers, and ways to get involved with our chapter. Please like the Surfrider Foundation Ventura County Chapter on Facebook and give us a follow on Instagram at @surfridervc. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about how to get involved and they can set you up with a campaign or program that is looking for volunteers. We hope to connect with you soon! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the sunny days ahead.
Danielle Rose is the beach cleanup coordinator for Surfrider Foundation Ventura County and helps lead the monthly California Street cleanups with Juli Marciel.