Wilderness School youth and Surfrider Foundation partner on monthly beach clean up

The rain showed no signs of letting up while a group of youth hurriedly worked to set up a tarp in hopes of a sheltered lunch. As they ate, the clouds lifted higher in the sky, rewarding their hard work with an occasional burst of sunshine.

The nearby waves crashed into the rocky shore, pulling stones back into the ocean as they retracted. The natural rhythm drew attention to the evidence of humans on the area. More of the beach began to show itself with the dropping tide, revealing plastics and other man-made materials.

Power To Be’s Wilderness School youth were there thanks to a partnership with Surfrider Foundation’s Vancouver Island chapter. The group took to the shores near Muir Creek in Sooke in December to help with Surfrider’s Combing The Coast program, which sees volunteers helping with monthly beach cleanups. Armed with gloves and buckets, the youth combed the coast in search of man-made litter and debris.

Although Muir Creek isn’t one of the biggest producers of shoreline garbage, when compared to some of the other more exposed beaches on the Surfrider beach cleanup circuit, there was no shortage of garbage to be found. The youth helped remove a large tire and some mossy shoes, as well as plenty of single-use plastics and refundable containers.

Following the cleanup, the Surfrider Vancouver Island team share insight into how the youth could learn from their experience and take some of that knowledge back to their friends and family, especially in regards to cutting back on use and consumption of single-use plastics in their day-to-day lives. When cutting back wasn’t an option, tips to ensure the proper disposal of materials were highlighted. The experience was an opportunity for Power To Be to reinforce the value of environmental stewardship and giving back to the community for the youth.

When not organizing monthly cleanups, the Surfrider team works hard to protect the waves, oceans and beaches of Vancouver Island through education and activism. They have a diverse population of volunteer support all working towards a common goal of “keeping Vancouver Island a special place.”

– Story shared by Clay Webb, Power To Be Curriculum Coordinator