The life of an ocean advocate is not dull, that’s for sure. Down in DC last Monday-Thursday for the Blue Vision Summit (http://www.bluefront.org/blue_vision_blog/2013-summit/) and this past weekend paddling 64 miles in the Chesapeake Bay at a WaterTribe event (http://watertribe.com/Events/ChallengeResults.aspx) .
Perhaps it’s the general pool of folks who lead rather salty lives, or at least have an affinity for all things salty, that drives the adventurous/energetic sort of dynamic that permeates every Blue Vision Summit I’ve ever been to. Whatever it is, the ocean pulse runs strong in this crowd, and there was lots of excitement to be had. Between the Celebration of the Seas on opening night and the panels the next day and the extremely organized Hill visits, I feel it was a very productive and energizing event. I came away feeling a lot more comfortable and ready to tackle the daunting fundraising required for next year’s paddle (ha. let’s see if I can put what I learned to the test! Paddling into a stiff wind is easier!). Definitely one of the many highlights for me was seeing folks I hadn’t seen in some time, like my soul sisters and fellow adventurers June Barnard and Alison Loomis, among other salty folks. It was exciting to be joined by the newcomers to our Blue Ocean Movement. Krissy Halkes, our brave chair of the South Jersey Chapter of Surfrider Foundation, worked her butt off like none other as a volunteer, as did the family of little Mackenzie Ritter. While Krissy has been involved for a long time in the Blue movement as a surfer, this was her first ever Blue Vision Summit. And it was for sure a first on a lot of levels for nine year old Mackenzie Ritter and her family. I love this photo of Beth and Mackenzie with their Blue Marbles, a MUST have for any ocean event…thanks to “J” Nichols for getting us thinking about the planet Earth as it appears to the astronauts- as a beautiful blue marble! We are planet ocean, after all….http://www.wallacejnichols.org/130/blue-marbles.html
Mackenzie Ritter is an ocean lover and advocate from my home town, Medford Lakes, NJ. She was so determined to get to the Blue Vision Summit that she convinced her parents to take her. And so they did, with mother and daughter proving to be incredibly competent and cheery volunteers. That little girl and her mother never flagged, never complained, and always seemed ready to flash a smile and do whatever was asked of them with no hesitation. Mackenzie was the star volunteer of the event, and even traipsed about the Hill with her father on Hill day with grace and patience, despite missing breakfast! They did
Medford Lakes proud and made some wonderful connections. Mackenzie cares deeply about the ocean and its inhabitants, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing great things come from her in the future.
At home this weekend while I was away (more on that next blog!!) at the WaterTribe Okoume Fest Ultra-marathon, Bridget Reilly organized her ninth Ocean Hour clean-up in Medford Lakes. She and her devoted crew set aside an hour every Saturday to clean up the litter that all to often accumulates in certain parts of town. Ocean Hour was started by Justin Riney who is right this instant paddling around Florida in celebration of Florida’s 500th anniversary. More about Ocean Hour can be found here- https://www.facebook.com/oceanhour?fref=ts Just Google Justin Riney to find out how to catch up with him!
Medford Lakes’ Ocean Hour NJ can be found here-https://www.facebook.com/oceanhournewjersey?fref=ts and here! https://www.facebook.com/groups/347177498715297/?fref=ts
It is amazing to see this “downstream consciousness” in our little town here at the top of the Rancocas Watershed. Here in the Lakes we see first hand what happens when we overburden our waterways with excess nutrients..not to mention trash! Trash is NEVER a selling point for a neighborhood! Makes a neighborhood look, kinda well….trashy!