Change Begins Onshore
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Newport Aquarium Youth Volunteers: BWTF & Ocean Friendly Gardens

June 18 2009 | Blue Water Task Force,
by Mara Dias


The water samples for the Newport Chapter’s BWTF program are analyzed at the Newport Aquarium by a group of Youth Volunteers. This is a symbiotic partnership that works well for both groups. In the past the youth volunteers have been pretty instrumental in getting the City of Newport to pay attention to the requests that the Chapter had been making, including tracking the source of pollution in the Nye Creek Watershed and recommendations for BMPs to address non-point sources.

This year the Youth Volunteers have continued to run the BWTF lab, and have also taken on a project to implement another Surfrider program, Ocean Friendly Gardens, at the Aquarium. It is great to see this group move beyond basic water testing and work on ways to improve water quality in their community.

With a little guidance from Oregon’s Field Coordinator, Charlie Plybon, the kids set out in October ‘08, met once a month, and produced the following goals:

1) Assess the Aquarium grounds for ocean friendly techniques
2) Educate the Aquarium visitors on ocean friendly garden and landscape techniques
3) Educate outside the Aquarium audience through online social networking
4) Maintain BWTF lab analysis

Here’s what they achieved during the seven-month project:

1) Worked with groundskeepers and landscape staff at the Aquarium to identify and improve upon ocean friendly techniques. Researched Surfrider Ocean Friendly Garden techniques and other LID approaches and best practices for water quality.
2) Created signage on the aquarium grounds to spotlight OFG techniques (see above). They put together 3 signs throughout the Aquarium grounds.
3) Developed an OFG poster and display with Surfrider OFG brochures.
4) Developed a powerpoint presentation to deliver to Aquarium visitors on their project and OFG techniques.
3) Developed a video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxCsEtcjGzY   
4) Continued water quality lab work throughout the winter for the local BWTF. Ran over 100 samples for local beaches and Nye watershed.
5) Gave a final public presentation.
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