From May 18th-May 21st, the Canadian Surfrider Chapters held the first annual Hinatšiƛ hiihiišink – Coming Together Surfrider Conference at the Lone Cone Hostel on Meares Island. Surfrider Pacific Rim hosted the conference, along with Surfrider Vancouver, Surfrider Vancouver Island, and staff from Surfrider Headquarters who travelled near and far to join the event! Along with Surfrider crew, Chloe Dubois and James Middleton joined from Ocean Legacy Foundation, Crystal Reeves from Mandell Pinder, Scott Graham from SPARC BC, and Laura Griffith-Cochrane from the Ucluelet Aquarium.
The four day conference included workshops on plastic pollution, cedar weaving, youth programs, remote clean ups, the growth of Surfrider Canada, microplastic sampling, water quality monitoring, and Chapter Sustainability! The conference also included a diversity of activities, including a hike up Lone Cone Mountain, surfing, environmental documentaries, and of course – beach cleans! On May 20th, the conference attendees did a clean up on Clayoquot Island and also hosted the event “Hands Across the Sand”, which is a global initiative that is advocating for climate justice. Over 130 people joined the hand holding line, which covered an impressive stretch of the sand dunes on the Island! Surfrider also cleaned the beach on Meares Island near the hostel, and will be returning on World Ocean’s Day to finish a clean up of this area.
Huge thanks to the team at Lone Cone who made the event possible, including Anna Atleo for helping to coordinate logistics as well as Vera Little for cooking up amazing meals all weekend long! Additional thanks to Michelle Hall who was the main coordinator for the conference, her hard work and ambition made the weekend a massive success. This conference is the catalyst for the Canadian Surfrider Chapters to work more closely and come together more often, with the intent of heightening our impact through our unity!