Saturday, November 6, 2010

Surfrider Rincon's Big Day Out

Click here to see a pdf. of the story from the Live site!  Click here to see the actual link to the site. 

Chapter Event Summary;  Rip Curl Pro Search 2010 at Playa Middles, Isabela

Over the past month, our chapter worked with the Rip Curl Planet Foundation and other local partners including, the Puerto Rico's Department of Natural Resources, Vida Marina at UPRA, Rescate Playas Isabela, Plastic Free Ocean, Coors Light, and ADS (Solid Waste Authority) to implement 4 eco-initiatives in conjunction with the Rip Curl Pro Search 2010, at Playa Middles in Isabela.  The following is a summary of the results from these initiatives.

1.  Coastal and Dune Reforestation -

In total, we planted 462 plants and trees including 60 coconut palm trees, 225 sea grape, 75 emajaguilla, 75 tropical almond trees, and 27 ipomeoa.  These plants and trees were planted at 3 different sites:  Wilderness, Surfers and Middles.  At Wilderness we planted 115 plants and trees, at Surfers we planted 45, and at Middles the primary event site for the Rip Curl Pro we planted 302 plants and trees.  Why were we doing this?  This eco-initiative was done restore the coastal and dune environment by stabilizing the sand, preventing coastal erosion, decreasing sedimentation, and off-setting carbon emissions.

Click here to read more about coastal and dune reforestation.  

2.  Dune Protection

In order to reduce the impact of foot traffic on the sensitive dune environment at Playa Middles, our chapter worked with Vida Marina to build 100' of walkways and install 300' of protective fencing.  This sound a lot more easy than it was.  These features were constructed over a three week time-frame leading up to the event and installed just before the event window began.  Talk about down to the wire!  Just as anticipated, the were a huge success! 

Click here to read more about dune protection.

3.  Recycling

Working on-site with the Rip Curl Planet Foundation, Autoridad de Desperdicios Solidos (the Solid Waste Authority) and Coors Light our chapter helped maintain a clean event site by doing periodic site cleanups, helping to separate and recycle plastic, cans, and cardboard, and transporting the refuse to the proper pickup locations.  Looking back on the effort ways to improve this eco-initiative is to instill an Impact Reduction Strategy by supplying water via a hydration station complete with reusable cups and nalgene bottles.  The cups would need to be provided to all the vendors to be given out as a marketing item and all single-use plastic items would need to be eliminated.  We hope to achieve this at a future event.    

4.  Outreach and Education

The last eco-initiative, and certainly one of the most important was the outreach and education component.  Each of the aforementioned initiatives were done with the help of students, volunteers, stakeholders, the general public, and organizations like Plastic Free Ocean.  For example, the coastal and dune reforestation program included the help of 2 schools from the area:  the Friedrich Froebel Bilingual School in Aguadilla and Escuela Ecológica Niños Uniendo al Mundo from Caguas, PR.  In addition, our chapter had an information booth where we handed out brochures about ways individuals can help to reduce their impact on the planet, ways to help make a positive impact in their communities, about the Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, and chapter driven projects including reef and watershed restoration.  Lastly, the Rip Curl Planet Foundation supplied us with some informative signs that were placed around the event site to raise awareness about why coastal and dune forestation and restoration is important and relayed the same messages via commentary during the event.  In total, between our information booth, the outreach and education events, the signs, and the commentary all of the event partners effectively reached at least a 1000 people with positive eco-messages.  The underlying theme of these message sums up SF's mission; the protection and enjoyment of the world's oceans, waves, and beaches for all people through conservation, activism, research, and education.

Click here to read more about the outreach and education events.

Below is an image of the coastal and dune reforestation at Playa Middles.  All 302 plants and trees are indicated by an icon.  Note; this satellite image is outdated.