As promised in the April/May issue, the Coastal Programs division has ramped up substantially. Thanks to a California Coastal Commission Whale Tail grant and a grant from the Coastal Conservancy, we’re expanding our coastal education opportunities.
Our “Clean Beaches, Healthy Communities” program is a multi-part effort to educate about watershed health, marine debris and sea level rise. Coastal Education Specialist Justin Zakoren will be a critical part of the program’s success by leading activities in classrooms and on the beach to teach about issues affecting our local coast and waterways. Justin, a Humboldt County native, comes to the NEC from Humboldt State University’s masters program, where he is currently an Environment and Community Master's student with a focus on increasing the presence of environmental education curricula and programming in our local public schools. “I grew up rafting North Coast rivers and exploring its watersheds, surfing its secluded beaches, and fishing its cold Pacific waters,” he said. “I can think of no better way of serving my community than by working closely with fellow teachers, staff, and parents in the education of Humboldt County youth.”
Adding to the cadre of “J” names in the NEC office is Jasmin Segura, the “Humboldt Bay Explorations” coordinator. This project—a collaboration between the NEC and Humboldt Baykeeper—aims to increase access to recreation and knowledge of Humboldt Bay—and the enjoyment that comes with having such—by bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and economic levels utilizing a bilingual outreach campaign and Bay Exploration tours. Jasmin has significant experience as a Spanish interpreter, most recently working with RCAA translating written materials and live translating during community events. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in Botany from HSU and enjoys collecting seaweed in her spare time.
A key component of connecting people with Humboldt Bay involves spending time on and around the water. We will be working with the Humboldt Bay Harbor District and HSU’s Aquatic Center to offer both motorized and self-propelled boating options from May through October.
These two new programs will complement each other, as well as our existing work, and will increase collaboration opportunities with other nonprofit organizations. In early May, Coastal Programs staff traveled to Bandon, Ore. with SCRAP Humboldt’s Tibora Girczyc-Blum to do some hands-on learning at Washed Ashore, a group dedicated to saving the ocean through art, specifically by turning collected beach trash into stunning sea creature sculptures. Tibora will be working with the NEC throughout the summer to create our own sculpture for use in presentations and events.
In other collaboration news, NEC, Baykeeper and Humboldt Surfrider invited CalTrout and Friends of the Eel River to join May’s Ocean Night event. CalTrout’s Darren Mierau orchestrated the North Coast premiere of the “deadbeat dams” documentary DamNation, an occasion so momentous over 250 people came out—it was standing room only in the Arcata Theatre Lounge! Ocean Night is typically the first Thursday of every month and features ocean-themed documentaries and surf films. Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org!