December 21, 2009

Calling All Ocean Lovers! Volunteer program starts soon!

The renowned Sanctuary Steward Program prepares citizens to become high impact marine educators, community organizers and resident experts on issues affecting the Monterey Bay. Stewards help to educate the greater community on issues such as pollution prevention, marine debris, habitat conservation and marine fisheries.

Program participants receive a professional level education from highly renowned Marine Biologists and Conservationists. In turn, Stewards make a personal pledge of 50 volunteer hours per year to volunteer for Save Our Shores.

Our highly trained Stewards are poised to take leadership rolls in hosting beach clean-ups, making presentations and attending special events. To read more about program requirements please read the Steward Job Description and Volunteer Pledge.

Who are the Stewards? Our Steward program is made up of people from all walks of life. We enjoy the help of retired business folks, professionals, and college students.

Who should apply? Anyone who is enthusiastic about the ocean and interested in working with the public! We are looking for leaders. We need volunteers willing to lead clean-up events and host tables at community festivals.

Under age? With in the Steward Program anyone under the age of 16 must have an adult partner to volunteer with. Parent/child teams are encouraged to apply.

Apply Now! Application deadline is January 31st, 2010.

"The ocean provides me many things-reflection, sustenance, playtimes-and because of this, and by the laws of mutual respect, I want to give back to the big, blue ocean in whatever way possible, while encouraging others to join me along the way." Colleen Bednarz (Class of 2009)

"I live blue because my brain tells me that there are countless convincing reasons that water quality is imporant, and my heart tells me it is the right thing to do." Greg Pepping (Class of 2009)

"I was volunteering at the Oakland Boat Show and I talked to a guy about the North Pacific Gyre and the giant trash heap. When I showed him photos of the trash piling up on the beach, he started to cry. I knew right then that this information touches people's hearts and once they learn about it, they want to make a change in their own lives to make a difference" Bonnie McKinney (Class of 2009)

"We have a motto in my family. We can't do it all, but we can all do a little. Every little bit helps. I can't do it all, but I can do my part." Rachael Anderson (Class of 2008)

December 15, 2009

FAQ: What can I do to fight overfishing?

With the screening of The End of the Line coming up tomorrow, people keep asking me what they can do to help control the problem of overfishing and poor fisheries management. Here is my answer.

#1) Support your local fishermen. We are so lucky to live on the California coast where we have sustainable fisheries right in our backyard. Every fishermen on the California coast abides by many regulations in order to maintain healthy stocks of fish. So go to your local harbor ,farmer's market or fish market and buy local fresh fish. If you want to stick to the grocery store, choose local with New Leaf Market where they team with FishWise to provide fresh sustainable fish.

#2) Ask! Inquire! Seek Out! When you are in a restaurant or a grocery store ask where the fish you are purchasing came from and how it was caught. These are the two main factors that determine sustainability. When in doubt choose fish from USA waters, we have more fishery regulations than anywhere else in the world so most of our fish is sustainable. If you want to get specific, download a Seafood Watch card from Monterey Bay Aquarium and carry it around with you.

#3) Spread the word. Talk to people about choosing sustainable seafood and leave Seafood Watch cards at restaurants with your bill. The only way we can fight this battle is if we get more people involved. If you want to get active in the Save Our Shores sustainable seafood campaign contact me at

December 14, 2009

Behind the scenes of "The End of the Line"

This Wednesday is the exclusive screening of The End of the Line at the Rio Theater at 6:30. While I was searching for more information on the movie, I ran into an interesting series on Babelgum all about the film. The first episode is behind the scenes of the movie and gives you a really good background of how the movie came to be made and why they were so passionate about making it. Click here to watch it.

I continued to watch the whole series and it really digs deep into some of the issues that are only mentioned for a moment in the movie.

I hope you all can make it to the movie on Wednesday, make sure to stick around for the panel discussion afterward to get all of your questions answered and to learn more about what you can do as an individual to save our fisheries for future generations. We also have some great raffle prizes we will raffle off at the end of the evening.

Also, you can listen to KZSC or KUSP to win tickets on air!

December 11, 2009

Blackout in Santa Cruz The Day After "No Impact Man" Screening A Coincidence?

With the electricity going out in parts of Santa Cruz last night, I am sure everyone who came to the "No Impact Man" screening got to feel what it would be like to be Colin Beavan and his family. No lights, no refrigerator, no TV, no heat. Thankfully it was only for an hour or two, not one year!
The screening on Wednesday night was a huge success, over 500 people showed up and they were sold out! It was great to see so many people come and support such a great and unique movie.
Our board member Wallace "J" Nichols introduced the film by talking about his 20 mile walk he took to get to the screening that day. He left at 8am in the morning from his home in Davenport and got into Santa Cruz around 5pm!

After watching the movie, I found myself really wanting to try to be "no impact". I do ride my bike to work on occasion, I have a compost bin, I put on a sweatshirt before I turn up the heat, but there is so much more I could do! This movie really left me feeling inspired. Seeing this family (Colin, his wife and his 2 year old daughter) do "no impact" in New York City in an apartment building means that anyone can do it! My favorite part of the movie was when Colin's wife, Michelle, saw a TV in a thrift store and looked at it longingly then told the camera "I think ours was a little just reminds me of our TV."

Here is the family in their no impact SUV!

December 7, 2009

No Impact Man Giveaway!

Save Our Shores is excited to co-host the screening of the innovative film "No Impact Man" this Wednesday, December 9th at 6:40pm at the Del Mar Theater in downtown Santa Cruz. Click here to watch the trailer.

Tickets are $5 in advance or $7 at the door. You can buy tickets online.
OR you can enter to win a free ticket from Save Our Shores! Today we are going to give away one ticket to the screening through this blog! All you have to do is leave a comment after this blog post with your first name and email address and we will pick the winner Wednesday morning. Good Luck!

December 3, 2009

Lights, Cocoa, Action!!

For the past few days we have seen boaters up on the tippy top of their masts stringing their holiday lights while trying not to fall off! This is a serious business with some stiff competition. Last year we saw everything from surfing Santas to flaming outrigger canoes!

Join Save Our Shores for our annual Holiday Party and watch the lighted boat parade in the Santa Cruz Harbor this Saturday, December 5th from 5pm-8pm. We will be celebrating a year of great volunteers and clean beaches! We will have the three C's: Hot Cocoa, Cookies and Coffee so come on by the Save Our Shores office at 345 Lake Ave. Suite A and celebrate with us! Everyone is welcome, see you there!

December 2, 2009

Plastic and chip bags and cigarette butts, oh my!

Every beach cleanup we host, we have everyone involved take tallies of everything they collect on the beach. This list of 47 items includes everything from fishing line to shopping carts. Looking back at this year's numbers, it is pretty shocking what we have collected so far:

At the #1 position - Cigarette Butts 25,217 pieces

Most people think that cigarette butts are made out of paper and will biodegrade quickly, the truth is they are lined with plastic and take 2-5 years to break down. The interesting thing is, smoking is illegal on all Santa Cruz beaches. If you see anyone throw a cigarette butt on the beach let them know the beach is not their trash can and offer to guide them to a trash can nearby.

#2 - Firework shells 22,342 pieces

Obviously most of these are from our Star Spangled Beach Cleanup on July 5th. The beaches are littered with evidence of the wild times from the night before. Not that I don't enjoy fireworks on the beach, but it would be great if people could cleanup after themselves...

#3 - Plastic Pieces 15,148 pieces

These include any piece of plastic that is indistinguishable as any other plastic item on the list. These plastic pieces are one of the most dangerous things that can end up in the ocean because they are often mistaken for food by sea birds or sea turtles and they are not able to digest them which can lead to death. This is why we tell our volunteers that every little piece counts when you are doing a beach cleanup.

#4 - Plastic food wrappers 8,883 pieces

Everyone loves to have a picnic on the beach, but if that includes a bag of chips of candy wrappers they can get blown away by the wind and left behind. When you are planning a picnic on the beach make sure your food is secured and opt to pack a ocean friendly picnic with reusable dishes and utensils and fresh fruit or vegetables instead of food that comes in a disposable bag.

And finally coming it at #5 - Styrofoam Pieces 7,608

This includes pieces of Styrofoam that are indistinguishable from other Styrofoam things such as to-go packaging, packing peanuts and buoys or floats. Styrofoam is another dangerous thing to go into the marine environment because, like plastic, birds, fish or sea turtles can mistake it for food. This is why the whole Monterey Bay has instated a ban on Styrofoam to-go packaging. Now when you go to a restaurant anywhere in the Monterey Bay they must provide a non-Styrofoam package. Since the ban has been in place we have seen a huge decline in Styrofoam food containers but unfortunately the pieces will stick around for a while.

What do you think of our top 5 items we pick up on the beaches? Is it what you expected?

December 1, 2009

Our Favorite Kitty Makes it on the Local News!

This is the story of Krusty the harbor kitty who used to hang out right outside of the SOS office. Krusty would howl outside our door and we would bring him food and water but we started to notice he had something wrong with his eyes. They almost looked like they were sealed shut and she would tremble when we got near because she couldn't see us. We soon found out that Krusty's owner was looking after him every night but unfortunately did not have a place to live.

Then we met Chris who had also been concerned about Krusty so we started to work together to get her the help she needed. We all fell in love with Krusty and knew he needed special attention so we (the employees of SOS) scrounged up some money and decided to pay for the surgery. Krusty is still in recovery for the next few days but we are told she is looking around and very happy. We can't wait to see her when she gets back to the harbor!

Here is the clip of the news story:

November 18, 2009

The Low-down on Local Seafood for Sale

I went down to the docks today to find out what the fishermen were selling. Right next to Johnny Harborside's Restaurant, there is a building where local fish is processed for sale. There I met Hans from H&H Fresh Fish. They prepare all of their fish right here in the Santa Cruz Harbor then sell the fish at the local farmer's markets. You might have seen them before, they specialize in sustainable seafood and they make a killer fish taco (featured at the recent dinner market at Kelly's Bakery that Save Our Shores co-hosted).

There was also a sign next to the building about fresh fish for sale at Far West Marine which is sold by a guy named Joe. He wasn't in today but here is the sign of everything he sells to the public. Hans said he sells mostly wholesale but he will sell some retail.

November 17, 2009

SOS Eats at the First Sustainable Sushi Restaurant in California (and Maybe the U.S.), Tataki!

While SOS staff was in San Francisco for the Green Festival we decided to eat some guilt free sushi at the sustainable sushi restaurant Tataki.

Most of the Save Our Shores staff has stopped eating seafood because of how much we know about the state of most fisheries of the world, but we were excited to eat seafood we knew was sustainable. Casson Trenor, one of the owners of the restaurant, is a friend of SOS and the author of Sustainable Sushi: A Guide to Saving the Oceans One Bite at a Time, so we knew all of the fish on the menu went through a thorough screening.

We started with the Crab Croquette which is deep fried crab with sweet potatoes and a sweet sauce, major hit with everyone! Then we shared a few rolls but our favorites were the double-double, tataki deluxe, reggae roll and the hot potato roll. They all came with a great sauce and were very flavorful. Although the actual restaurant was smaller than most, the decor was very vibrant and exotic. Most of the walls were full of all of their amazing media coverage including an article in Time Magazine.

So if you are like us and feel like there is no place to get real sustainable sushi, visit Tataki if you are ever in San Francisco, you will not be disappointed!

The Staff of SOS after a very yummy sustainable meal!

November 16, 2009

SOS Ventures to the Green Festival

This Saturday, the staff of Save Our Shores traveled up to San Francisco to the Green Festival!

It was overwhelming how many great new inventions were there, like this vertical planting system. It has individual capillaries of water and soil behind the matting and there is a pump at the bottom so everything is watered properly. This one is called the Inka Wall Garden by Inka Biospheric Systems (

They also had some really interesting things made out of recycled materials. These are purses made out of old inter tubes from tires.

After browsing for a bit, we went to the main stage to see Amy Goodman from NPR's Democracy Now! speak.

Leaving the talk we all felt inspired to work at the local grassroots level to help our community achieve change for the greater good. It all starts at a local level, that is why Save Our Shores has lasted so long, last year we celebrated our 30th anniversary of advocacy and citizen action in the Monterey Bay Area and we will keep fighting for another 30 years to get more protection for the ocean and healthier beaches for our community.

We walked around and found our board member Wallace J. Nichols at his booth for one of his many non-profit groups called See Turtles. They work to save sea turtles around the world by spreading awareness about their fragile breeding areas and the dangers of plastic pollution linking to sea turtle deaths. Here is a picture of part of the staff of See Turtles, J. Nichols and our executive director Laura at their booth.

We had a wonderful time at the festival, it is great to see so many people working towards a more sustainable lifestyle. One thing that we loved was we didn't see any plastic utensils, cups or plates at any of the food vendors, they all used compostable materials, which is leaps and bounds ahead of most plastic-loving festivals. You got a discounted ticket if you traveled by bus or bicycle, which is a great incentive to use alternative transportation. Lastly, all of the vendors in the festival went through a strict screening through Green America's Green Business Network so you can be assured that everything you buy or sample has sustainability in mind. We are looking forward to the next Green Festivals and thanks to the organizers of this festival for making such a great event!

November 13, 2009

Fishermen are getting crabby!

For the past month we have seen the fishermen preparing their crab pots for the crabbing season this year which started last Saturday for sport fishermen and start tomorrow for commercial fishermen. Unfortunately since crab have such a consistent up and down cycle, they are not to optimistic about this year's catch. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported on it today:

There was also a article in the Sentinel today about sport fishing with reports of good crab fishing out on the bay: The sport fishermen have strict limits (10 crabs per person at a minimum shell size of 5 and three-quarter inches) so it is different for commercial fishermen. We will be talking to the fishermen next week and get a report on the beginning of the season.

We will let you know when they are for sale here in the harbor but I suspect it will be as early as tomorrow afternoon. Support our local fishermen and buy some delicious crab down at the docks in Santa Cruz Harbor.

April 8, 2009

Offshore oil drilling -NO WAY

It's time to speak up to keep our coast free from offshore oil drilling. On April 16th in San Francisco, Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar will hold a public hearing to get input from the community on what they believe the country should pursue in regards to offshore energy resources. We need people to come up to the hearing and express their support for protecting our ocean and for keeping drilling away from our coast. The hearing will be held at the University of California, San Francisco's Mission Bay Conference Center, Robertson Auditorium at 1675 Owens Street. Doors open at 8am and the hearing will run until 8pm with a noon rally in support of the ocean. Please attend and speak up to keep our ocean healthy. For more details go to