The Surfrider Foundation

by Editorial Staff | Apr 28, 2015
The Surfrider Foundation New Jersey’s beaches are among the most popular in the nation. People from all over the country come to the “Jersey shore” to relax underneath the warm sun with the calming sound of waves crashing in the distance. While the parents read under umbrella shade, children often play in the waves and teenagers catch a tan. Though the air is hot, the ocean creates an unforgettably cool getaway for families. While beaches seem like naturally-occurring phenomenon that just “appear,” the steps required to maintain public shores are many. The South Jersey Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit organization “dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves, and beaches.” Without the help of Surfrider, a seemingly ordinary trip to a Jersey shore town would not be the same.

The Surfrider Foundation carries with it many goals and missions that the South Jersey Chapter also attempts to uphold. One of its most important tasks is to maintain the integrity of ocean life. While stray swimmers are among the most noticeable creatures swimming on a July day, with those swimmers come a host of other animals and organisms--from the much-feared shark to the swaying seaweed. The Surfrider Foundation seeks to protect the diversity that exists within the ocean system; it recognizes that each component of this system fits together perfectly so as to make a complete whole.

Along with the mission to protect the ocean itself, Surfrider also attempts to protect the rights of individuals to enjoy what the ocean has to offer. According to the organization’s principles, the Surfrider Foundation “promotes the right of low-impact, free and open access to the world’s waves and beaches for all people.” With this second task comes along the idea that the Surfrider Foundation sees the world’s waves as whole--they do not exist alone, so it is unnecessary to protect their rights exclusively without considering the rights of those enjoying the ocean. With their beauty comes those who wish to bask in it and, therefore, it must protect those who wish to do so.

The organization also holds firmly to a belief in environmental education. While the Surfrider Foundation can work extensively to protect the world’s beaches and try to undo damage caused by locals and vacationers alike, the best way to alleviate the problem is to prevent it altogether. In educating the public on the basic rights of the environment, individuals will become better informed and, subsequently, be less inclined to harm the world’s delicate ecosystem. While the Surfrider Foundation focuses specifically on the protection of oceans, waves, and beaches, this environmental education undoubtedly applies to the rest of an individual’s travels--whether it be to a forest or to a desert.

Because one of the Surfrider Foundation’s most important objectives is to educate, the organization has developed a program that includes a variety of interesting and entertaining activities that work to accomplish this goal. This program, called “Respect the Beach,” features field trips, lectures, and hands-on projects, among other components, that contribute to the overall education that supports environmental well-being. The organization’s multi-dimensional approach to learning about the ecosystem has proved to be successful.

Surfrider also began and implemented a program called the “Blue Water Task Force,” which monitors water quality and serves to continue to educate the world about the importance of the ocean in the world ecosystem. This program also petitions for standards of ocean water quality, which is monitored nationally. Surfrider looks to balance education with action throughout their various world chapters.

The Surfrider campaign is predominantly run and coordinated by volunteers. Though the organization keeps 20 full-time paid employees at their national headquarters in California, other branches are strictly volunteer. The South Jersey Chapter, which monitors all beaches in southern New Jersey, is no exception to this rule--while they still maintain the high standards and quality of the California headquarters, they rely on unpaid staff to accomplish the goals.

Not only is the South Jersey Chapter keeping pace internationally, but it is also paving the way. Currently, the South Jersey Surfrider Foundation has found a home on Facebook, twitter, myspace and YouTube. The chapter’s presence on popular social networking sites serve to update volunteers as to events and opportunities both locally and nationally.

While it’s oftentimes difficult to look at the “big picture,” the Surfrider Foundation undoubtedly does this constantly. With their all-inclusive ocean protection program, involvement in the foundation can not only teach an individual about the importance of protecting the ecosystem, but also the importance of viewing life as more than just moments in time--but as a continuous entity. While a normal individual can relax briefly on the shore and focus on the various sights and sounds which occupy her immediate attention, a Surfrider volunteer can see the scene as a whole, perfect component that fits without blemish into the world.

To get involved with the Surfrider volunteer team, go to surfrider.org, or to the South Jersey chapter's site at southjersey.surfrider.org.

Check their website for upcoming events.

4/22/15

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For more on local Organizations, visit our South Jersey Organizations page.

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Author: Editorial Staff

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