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Congratulations to our March Volunteer of the Month, Cat Uden! Cat hails from the Broward County Chapter where she currently serves as Volunteer Coordinator. In this role, Cat organizes and executes the chapter’s monthly beach and waterway cleanups. Recently Cat organized an urban waterway cleanup in downtown Ft. Lauderdale and managed to recruit 30 volunteers on SUP’s! In fact, even though Cat has only been Volunteer Coordinator since early this year, she has already lead over 100 volunteers in cleanup activities across the county!
Chair Chelsea Wilder writes, “Cat has been an amazing volunteer with our chapter and we’re very excited that we were fortunate enough to start this year with her joining the Board as Volunteer Coordinator. No one is more dedicated to keeping our beaches and waterways clean and making sure that all volunteers have a great time in the process! I can’t wait to see her grow with the chapter over the course of this year! She is a truly wonderful addition to our team and a savior for our waterways!” Thank you for all that you do for our oceans, waves and beaches, Cat!
The 2014 Legislative Session kicked off on March 4th. As always, there are a number of bills the Surfrider Foundation will be monitoring- some are very positive, others extremely damaging. Here is a preliminary list of issues we will be working on:
- Eliminate statewide preemptions on the regulation of plastic bags. Allow local governments to ban, tax or otherwise limit plastic bags. Support S830 “Carryout Bags” sponsored by Senator Bullard.
- Stop preemptions that keep local governments from enacting more stringent septic tank maintenance requirements and strong fertilizer ordinances.
- Support funding for water quality initiatives benefiting Indian River Lagoon, Lake Okeechobee, and other Florida estuaries and waterways impacted by degraded water quality and harmful algal blooms. Support the recommendations of the Senate Select Committee on Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin, but maintain U.S. Army Corps of Engineers control of Lake Okeechobee releases and flow levels.
- Support funding for springs restoration and protection.
- Oppose any attempt to limit or preemept the acquisition of conservation and recreation lands.
Be sure to check back often for updates on legislation and action alerts so you can get involved!
Congratulations to Brandy Mahler, Vice Chair of the Volusia-Flager Chapter and February’s Volunteer of the Month!
Brandy’s fellow volunteers speak to her enthusiasm, positive attitude, and tremendous work ethic. As Vice Chair, Brandy maintains all of the chapter’s online resources- from regular, concise and helpful emails and newsletters, to relevant, and timely Facebook posts. The chapter also attributes new local partnerships to Brandy’s efforts, including the Marine Discovery Center, various surf film festivals, the Eastern Surfing Association, and the new surf museum.
Ryan Mahler, Chapter Chair, describes Brandy’s many contributions, “Brandy became the vice chair of the Volusia-Flagler Chapter of Surfrider in mid 2013 and immediately took on her role, and many other roles for that matter, with a dedicated and persistent attitude. A year later, she has not lost a single bit of that energy and continues to ensure that we stay on a track towards growing membership and the chapter as a whole. Our exposure would not be where it is today without her work. She is also a dedicated steward of the environment. For example, nearly every time she goes down to the beach, she goes there to clean it, bringing along a bucket to hold the trash. Brandy has spent countless hours during 2013 furthering our mission and growing our chapter and I am certain her good work will continue through 2014 and beyond.”
Thank you for all your hard work, Brandy!
Congratulations to our December Volunteer of the Month, Alexis Clarkson of the Suncoast Chapter!
John Kurz, Suncoast Chapter Chair, writes, “Alexis joined the Suncoast Chapter two years ago and her energy and enthusiasm immediately became apparent. When she departed on a world tour last year with a one way ticket to everywhere we weren’t sure if we’d see her again.
Much to our delight and relief she returned and jumped back in with all of her previous enthusiasm intact. In the past two months she has multi-tasked as Volunteer Coordinator and Secretary and stepped up to help the Chapter with whatever was needed. She has repeatedly volunteered her time to organize, sponsor and table countless Suncoast Chapter events. We can’t believe its true, but its rumored she even has a job and sleeps at night. Thank you Alexis and congratulations on your well deserved nomination as Volunteer of the Month!”
Congratulations to Sallie Lopez, our November Volunteer of the Month!
Sallie serves as Secretary of the Cocoa Beach Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. As Secretary, she handles all chapter emails, social media, e-newsletters, meeting minutes, and volunteer requests. She’s also the unofficial photographer and caterer for lots of local SF events!
Sallie has organized tabling in Cocoa Beach once a month for the National Nights Out. She also organizes beach cleanups, solicits donations, recruits new members, and serves as a stakeholder in Cape Canaveral. “Sallie’s leadership and volunteerism are representative of why the Cocoa Beach Chapter is so strong. As Secretary of our Chapter, she is a tireless administrator that always strives to improve our activism, events, and volunteerism.”
Thank you, Sallie, for all that you do to support our healthy beaches!
Regular Joe Surf Contest Wrap-Up!
By: Eric Schwarze, Vice Chairman Sebastian Inlet Chapter.
The Sebastian Inlet Chapter of Surfrider Foundation debuted it’s entry into hosting a surf contest and by all accounts it appears to have been a rewarding experience. The location of the event was the north side of Sebastian Inlet and it’s famous First Peak. The two day event was held on September 20 & 21 and was greeted by a nice swell courtesy of Hurricane Humberto. The format of the competition allowed for plenty of uncrowded time in the water as contestants were judged on a total point basis with no eliminations. Another highlight was the Surfer Stomp party on Friday night that featured the band the Shrednecks who filled the dance floor. The party was hosted by Sebastian Inlet Surf & Sport whose owners are chapter members and went above and beyond in providing valuable assistance to ensure a successful event. The chapter was able to present the Melbourne High School Surf Team with a check for $300.00 to help with travel expenses to California to compete in NSSA Nationals. This year they placed third out of all high schools entered and hope to improve on that result this coming year. Also we raised funds for our chapter to foster the campaigns and initiatives we’re presently working on as well as spreading the Surfrider message to the general public in a fun based contest. Check out the contest website- regularjoesurffestival.com – for more coverage, and planning is already underway to make next years event bigger and better.
Congratulations to our October Volunteer of the month, Robert “Kap” Kaplinger! Kap is a member of the Central Florida Chapter. As an all star volunteer, he single-handedly organized a cleanup of Playalinda Beach that featured an after-party at Cracker Jacks in Titusville. Kap also organized a fundraising raffle and scored the chapter premium event tabling space at Earthday Birthday- even bringing one of the featured bands to hang out at the table to sell raffle tickets and promote beach cleanups. In this role, Kap created all the marketing materials and secured multiple raffle prizes from various vendors including a custom shaped board with the clean up flyer glassed into the deck. Thanks to Kap’s work, the Central Florida Chapter raised over $500! Chapter Chair Tim Orrange commented, “The event’s success was all Kap’s doing, we just provided support. He continues to be one of our most active core members and is constantly coming up with ideas and support.” Thank you for all that you do for the Central Florida Chapter and the Surfrider Foundation!
September Volunteer of the Month!
Congratulations to our September Volunteer of the Month, Steve Vincenti! Steve’s primary role is Dune Restoration Coordinator for the Miami Chapter. As part of their mission to protect our coastlines, Surfrider Miami is playing an active role in restoring a critical and very fragile habitat in South Florida – their coastal dunes. The dunes serve as a buffer against hurricane activity and provide critical habitat for several native plant and animal species. Much of the dune habitat in South Florida has been either altered or decimated by development and an influx of invasive species. In partnership with city officials, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and plant biologists, Surfrider Miami is working to restore their dunes by removing invasive and exotic plant species, and replacing them with native species that are better adapted to the environment and help attract a diversity of wildlife. Together, the Chapter has restored over 7 acres of precious dune habitat! As Dune Restoration Coordinator Steve oversees the coordination, logistics, and organization of all restoration events.
Miami Chapter Chair Scott Stripling noted, “Although we had initially planned to cut back this year to 5 or 6 of our own restoration events, thanks to Steve we have already done at least 7 to date, with 3 more planned for the near future. Steve is also representing us at monthly city meetings and reporting back to the board with valuable insight on current issues. Miami Beach is currently suffering through a modest sewage line break that is circulating through the Miami Beach waterways, and Steve has been the point man on providing daily email updates. As our dedicated dune coordinator, Steve has made our restoration program one of the most successful in our Chapter.” Thank you for your many contributions, Steve!
Save the date for the Florida Chapter Conference November 8-10th in Jacksonville Beach. We’ll have great workshops, discussions, socials and of course, lots of opportunities to connect with fellow activists from across the state. Don’t miss this important opportunity to get the latest and greatest news and training from HQ.