‘Ocean Friendly’ and ready to protect

  • Contributed photo

    Heather George

  • Contributed photo

    Rebekah Magers

LIHUE — Two new people have been added to the executive committee of the Kauai Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, in an effort to expand the organization’s outreach and to replace long-time member of the committee, Robert Zelkovsky.

“(Zelkovsky) was a dedicated Blue Water Task Force sampler of Kalapaki Bay, Beach Cleanup and Net Patrol participant,” said Gordon LaBedz, who also sits on the committee.

He continued: “(He) was one of the longest-term members of the executive committee and was active in all Surfrider’s programs.”

Media outreach and communications was one of the main jobs Zelkovsky covered during his time on the committee and both of the new members, Heather George and Rebekah Magers, will be helping pick up the slack in his absence.

In addition to helping fill the role of communications and public relations, George is bringing her expertise as a longtime leader in the Waterkeeper Alliance and Magers brings her involvement in Ocean Friendly Restaurants to the table.

“I’ve been involved in environmental work for 19 years (focused) on ocean and water conservation and clean water,” George said. “When I moved here from Los Angeles three and a half years ago, I said ‘I have to do something local.’”

She’s been involved with Surfrider since she made the decision to get involved in environmental conservation on the island and works full time as the grant manager with the Waterkeeper Alliance.

As a member of the executive committee, George plans to increase involvement in beach cleanups and net patrol events, as well as being a point of contact for Surfrider Kauai.

“It’s a constant need for cleanups. People send emails asking if they can help out,” she said.

Magers is leading the Ocean Friendly Restaurants campaign within the Kauai Surfrider Chapter and got involved with the organization because she was originally starting her own campaign to remove straws and polystyrene from restaurants.

Some of her ideas down the line for generating interest in the program including hosting pau hana nights at restaurants around the island that promote ocean friendly dining.

“We’re trying to inspire more interest in our restaurants to become members,” she said.

Criteria for becoming an Ocean Friendly Restaurant include no expanded polystyrene use, following proper recycling practices, using only reusable tableware for onsite dining, and no plastic bags offered for take-out or to-go orders.

“Volunteers are going to be directed my way, if they have ideas and want to do anything that involves restaurants on this island,” Magers said.

The rest of the recently appointed executive committee are veterans to their seats, with Barbara Weidner re-elected as chair, Gordon LaBedz re-elected vice chair and Cynthia Welti re-elected as secretary.

Carl Berg continues to act as senior scientist and leads the Blue Water Task Force.

  1. Janine K Rands March 29, 2018 7:48 pm Reply

    This is so wonderful to hear, and know that others are passionately moving on ridding our communities of Foam and plastic! I too are working hours per week, getting our county cities on board with a Polystyrene Ordinance. Now, In San Luis Obispo County, we have five cities with an ordinance, and working on the last two cities, while we are making plans to take this to the County level.

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