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Looking Back At 2012 With The Surfrider Foundation

Surfrider Foundation Communications Manager Alexis Henry

As we gear up for the festivities and holiday cheer that surround the year end, TransWorld Business checked with several companies and industry execs to look  back on the year that was and identify a renewed focus for 2013. Stay tuned for our Winter 2013 issue, which hits early next year, for more.

Over at Surfrider Foundation, as always, this year was extremely busy and productive, with the crew heading up initiatives around major issues that effect everyone, such as single-use plastic, wate quality, and beach access. We caught up with Surfrider Foundation’s Communications Manager Alexis Henry to learn more about how we can do our part to support the foundation’s efforts to maintain the environment as our playground for 2013 and years to come. Also, watch an entertaining 60-Second Sell with Surfrider Membership Assistant Russ Johnson on holiday membership:

What were some of your key fundraising initiatives?

Our most notable (and largest) fundraising initiative in 2012 was on International Surfing Day. We also had key membership and donation drives on World Water Day, Raptober, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day. We’re also in the middle of our end of year push and Holiday Gift Membership promotion, which we expect to bring in additional funds to close out the year.

What were some of the key issues that Surfrider focused on this year and what were the outcomes? How does money raised help these efforts?

In 2012, Surfrider Foundation focused its efforts primarily on issues and campaigns around single-use plastics, water quality and beach access. We’re happy to report that in 2012 to-date, our Chapters and volunteers notched 41 coastal victories on campaigns that focus on single-use plastics, Clean Water, Beach Access, Beach Preservation and Protecting Special Places. This brings our grand total of coastal victories since 2006 to 221.

These victories would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the support from individuals, companies and organizations. Their support helps fund various campaign initiatives on both local and national levels, and allows us to develop our programmatic initiatives providing our activists with the necessary resources to keep our oceans, waves and beaches clean and healthy for everyone.

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What goals does the foundation have on its radar for 2013?

Single-use plastics are still an issue plaguing our oceans. We’ll continue building out our Rise Above Plastics program on a national level to provide support and resources to chapters around the country who will continue working with officials on a local, regional and statewide level to ban single-use plastic bags.

Coastal water quality is another issue that Surfrider will be keeping a close eye on. Just recently the EPA issued updated recreational water quality criteria…the first time since the BEACH act was passed in 2000 that they have revised their federal water quality standards. The good news is these criteria are much better than those first proposed in December 2011. The bad news is that states can choose which set of criteria to apply, likely resulting in different standards across the country.

We’ll also be keeping an eye on issues affecting our right to coastal access. Our San Mateo County Chapter is gearing up to fight the property owner at Martin’s Beach to open up the access road so the public can access this special stretch of beach. We also have active campaigns in Hawaii, Texas, New York, and Maine that will roll over into 2013.

What do you think is the most important ocean-related issue at the moment that the surf community should focus their attention and activist efforts toward moving forward?

The great thing about Surfrider Foundation is that we’re grassroots and our Chapters focus on coastal issues that are impacting their region. From erosion along the East Coast, to tsunami debris response in the Pacific Northwest, to beach access and water quality issues nationwide, we provide many different ways to plug in and want people to connect where it matters most to them and their community.