Activist Spotlight
October 14 2015


Carmen Matthews and Annie Pollard, a married couple who co-founded the Coos Bay Chapter in Coos Bay, Oregon

Q: Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?
Carmen: 4 yrs ago. Since I was a little, I’ve always been an active user of our oceans. I feel responsible for the effects that we all have and I wanted to be a part of the positive change.

Annie: 4yrs ago. Because Carmen wanted to start a chapter (we were already activists in other ways in our community) – We wanted to create a structured way to pull more folks into cleaning beaches in the area.

Q: What are some local issues that are affecting your ocean, waves and beaches?
Like every coastal community, we’re fighting marine debris from cleaning up debris from a large dock destroyed on the beach to improper proper disposal of garbage.  It’s unclear whether it is a lack of education on its effect on the ocean or general disrespect of our beach. We have a major problem with folks burn shipping pallets on the beach, which results in nails everywhere.  Our chapter has filled more than four five-gallon buckets of nails over 20+ volunteer beach cleanups!

There is also an abandoned house that is perilously close to falling into the ocean, our chapter is working with local and state officials on a proactive solution before it becomes a major problem.

Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?
Several from beach protection to Blue Water Task Force to Ocean Friendly Gardens, (we installed a beautiful rain garden at our brewery! ) to working with our chapter to launch sponsored club at Bandon High School, and fighting plastic pollution.

Q: What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience (i.e., campaign, program, victory)?
Carmen: Seeing other people engaged in taking an active roll in protecting our natural resources.

Annie: The response we (the Surfrider Chapter) have received in the community – our community was waiting for an organized way to volunteer for the ocean, and we’ve seen so many individuals step up to help out.

Q: What is the most important thing you tell others about Surfrider?
How to get involved with all we are doing to improve the community.