Monday, April 27, 2009

Adopt a Beach "Cleans Up" at Earth Day Celebration Awards Ceremony!

What an amazing day! The weather was beautiful, the dolphins were jumping and the air was filled with music. (Pause for a few bars of "Here Comes the Sun")

Speaking of the Sun - Mother Nature sure shined her spotlight on the Adopt a Beach program this year. AaB volunteers walked away with not one, not two but three (count em three!) awards this year. Wowi Zowi! (nod to Roby) I had prior knowledge of two of the awards - but I have to say the third one was a total surprise.

Mark Aubrey (Beach Master) was presented with the Watershed Task Force Volunteer of the Year Award. (applause/applause!)

The Zoller Team (Joe Zoller, Bob Bewak, and J. C. Hartley) walked away with the Watershed Task Force Team Award. (applause/applause!)

And I was surprised and honored when Bill Hart and John Dorey presented me with the coveted Stephanie Dorey Blue Water Dolphin Award. (gasp, hand over my heart!)

It is difficult to put into words what this award means to me. Stephanie was/is one of my heroes. I will treasure it always as a visual reminder of my time with you, the Adopt a Beach program and the amazing things we were able to accomplish together.

Most of you already know this, but for those of you who don't - Stephanie Dorey was a former San Clemente mayor and a legendary coastal advocate. Among her many environmental accomplishments was the formation of the Watershed Taskforce and the Adopt a Beach program. After Stephanie's death in 2007, the Watershed Taskforce created the dolphin award in her memory.

I also want to send a shout out to Shorecliffs Middle School, this year's recipients of the Blue Water award. Students in the school's Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) class gather recyclables and turn them in for money which ultimately is donated to needy families and school events. Impressive!

Check out the article and slide show in the OC register

And the San Clemente Times also did a great cover for us this year:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sandbags, Earth Day, March Stats and More!

Great Green Idea in Action -

Remember my post earlier this year where I asked for ideas on how we might "green our clean up efforts"? And do you recall the idea that was proposed by Mark Chavez to reuse city supplied sandbags instead of single use plastic bags to collect debris?

Never one to let a great idea go to waste, I found the perfect opportunity to pilot Mark's idea when I helped out at Surfrider's Global Ocean Initiatives event. With permission from the local chapter, volunteers were provided sandbags instead of the single use disposable bags typically used for large scale cleanups.

Results - overall, the results were encouraging. No complaints - the volunteers seemed to enjoy participating in the pilot and helping us test out the use of the sandbags. We handed out approximately 40 sandbags -resulting in keeping 39 single use bags out of the landfill! All but 4 bags were returned to us - one volunteer was still out cleaning when we packed it up, and 2 people asked if they could hang on to the sandbags and use them for future cleanups. We did decide to "retire" (dispose of) one of the bags because of its contents - a dead bird. :(

Next Steps - expect to see the bright yellow sandbags out in full force on Earth Day in San Clemente. The Watershed Task force is partnering with the local chapter of Surfrider and the city will be supplying the sandbags for the event. And to think - it all started with an observation, a request, and a great idea...

Note - Corn based plastics bags are typically handed out at large group clean up events. They are often viewed as a “greener” alternative to petroleum based plastic bags – but they are still designed to be a single use disposable item (inherently NOT GREEN) and there are other issues associated with their production and disposal. They are promoted as biodegradable, however most people don’t realize that it can take these PLA plastics as long as 1000 years to biodegrade in a landfill because they don’t receive the air and water necessary to break them down.

Earth Day 2009
Speaking of Earth Day, I hope to see you all at the festivities this Saturday. The fun starts at 10:00am and runs until 2:00pm. There will be music, informational booths, cool giveaways, and more at the park area above the pier. This year will be even more special because...

Two of the Adopt a Beach teams are up for awards! I know who they are but I'll keep it a surprise - so plan to be near the stage at 12:55pm to hoop and holler and whistle and applaud with me. Who knows - maybe it will be your team!

March Totals
Activity was slow for March. Spring Fever? An extra dose of gratitude to the Steadfast Six:

- Joe Zoller Team
- Miller Wood Team
- F.I.S.H. - St. John's Youth Group
- Weller Family
- Seaview Pharmacy
- Beach Master


Here is the link to the report for March:

I have more news to share with you, but it will have to wait until my next posting. Maybe a special post Earth Day edition? To be continued...