With a new school year having just begun, Surfrider Foundation’s Marin County Chapter celebrates the launch of their third local Blue Water Task Force laboratory at Tamalpais High School! This lab is run by the Tamalpais High School Surfrider Foundation Club, which was founded in spring 2019 by a group of passionate students who wanted to make sure their local waters were safe for recreation.
Hear from Skye Schoenhoeft, the president of the new Surfrider Student Club:
I wanted to bring Surfrider to my school because I have always valued the ocean, and I want to give other people who care about our local environment like I do the chance to give back.
I brought the Blue Water Task Force to Tam because it is our job as those who use the surrounding watersheds to keep them clean and safe for others. Having our school situated on a marsh, minutes away from both Richardson Bay and the Pacific Ocean, I decided it was time for my school to start doing its part.
Our lab is entirely student-run, with sponsorship from Marine Biology teacher April Tucker. Our high school students are testing sampling locations five days a week: Bayfront Park, Muir Beach Lagoon, Schoonmaker Beach, Bolinas Beach Channel, and Three Wells swimming hole.We are the newest school addition to the Marin County Surfrider Chapter, which already had labs at two other local high schools. Tam High will be the first public school in Marin to run a BWTF lab.
As Skye mentioned, the Marin County Blue Water Task Force is a collaborative effort between three high schools and local Surfrider volunteers. Other partners in the program include The Branson School which has been participating in the Blue Water Task Force since 2007. As part of the Branson program, Surfrider volunteers collect water samples and deliver them to dedicated student volunteers who process the samples at a lab set up at their school.
Also participating in the Blue Water Task Force is Marin Academy, where a class of oceanography students both collect and process samples. This lab launched in 2016.
At all three schools, under the supervision of faculty advisors, students are responsible for running the lab processing, recording their data online and making it available for the public.
Water quality and engaging the next generation of coastal defenders are the two main pillars of the Marin County Chapter’s efforts, using the Blue Water Task Force program as a great hands-on learning tool for empowering the youth locally. Not only that, this program provides some of the only year-round water quality monitoring in their community, as Marin County only samples bathing beaches seasonally.
A huge thank you to all of the dedicated student volunteers, faculty advisors, and adult chapter members who provide a huge benefit to the Marin County community.