We are proud to announce our Canada’s first student Surfrider Club has hit the beach running! Located halfway up Vancouver Island in the town of Ucluelet, the Ucluelet Secondary School Surfrider Club was founded by student Emmett Wellman and teacher and Youth Coordinator for the Pacific Rim Chapter, Jason Sam. The club official launched in January of 2018 and already hosts regular planning meetings at lunch, offers a weekly reusable container smoothie sale as an educational opportunity to showcase alternatives to single use plastics (they noticed that everyday students go to a local smoothie shop, purchase smoothies in single use plastics and simply throw them in the garbage when done). They’ve also launched a waste free lunch challenge that encourages staff and students to bring their lunches in reusable containers. In the first two weeks of their challenge they had over 20 daily participants daily, equaling 1/7 of people in the school!
The club recently held their first beach clean & surf day where they cleaned Wya Beach and then paddled out at North Chesterman Beach to surf together. In only a few hours, the club collected 57 plastic bottles and 538 pieces of marine debris. The club has already gained notoriety for their great work in the local news: https://www.westerlynews.ca/community/meet-canadas-first-surfrider-youth-club/
If that wasn’t enough, Emmett and Jason successfully wrote and secured a grant to fund a 'Stewards of the Future Program’ from the Lieutenant Governor General of BC which will fund their Walk the Wildside Trail program on Flores Island. The club plans to hike the 11+ kms and document the amount of debris washed up over the past fall and winter storms, determine hot spot locations, as well as to clean up as much as they can during the trip. The entire length of the trail was cleaned up last September by the Pacific Rim Surfrider Chapter, so the data they collect should be very interesting and highlight just how much debris is hitting the island over the winter season.
The club also has big plans in the future: Hosting an educational movie night for the community on earth day, organizing a beach clean and Hands Across The Sand event in May, and producing a small video on what the club is up to! Major kudos to our Pacific Rim Chapter for all their support in helping get this club off the ground and all their efforts engaging the next generation of coastal defenders!