I am writing to you from the annual national operators meeting for the Blue Flag Program held this year in Mexico.
We are gathered here-a group of participants who don’t necessarily have much in common. Some are citizens of freezing countries not use to the scorching Mexican heat and others who feel right at home. Some members bring years of experience and some are new younger members with eager and ambitious eyes. One thing in here is for certain: everyone shares a strong will and motivation to improve and grow the Blue Flag program.
Many discussions here are vast and involve various issues. Some of which are familiar to us (dogs at the beach, vandalism, disability access); and some less relevant to us in Israel like the hundreds of kilometers of shoreline in Canada. Ultimately the members are able to come to conclusions about the Blue Flag program, and are able to move forward with a new year and new possibilities.
There is a lot of information to share from the annual meeting, but I would like to share with you one incident that occurred to me this morning. The BF national operator from Trinidad and Tobago came up to me, gave me a big hug and said “thank you” with a smile. I replied, “You’re welcome, but what do you have to thank me for?” Then I was reminded of last year meeting, when I introduced the video that came from the municipality of Netanya for an activity on the BF beach for the severely handicapped. The handicapped participants came from a special residence in Jerusalem; and for some of them this was the first time they had ever visited the sea. They entered the water with the help of the lifeguards and the amphibian chairs and lay out on the warm sand. There was not one eye that remained tear-less after watching the video. The Blue Flag national operator from Trinidad and Tobago told me that when she returned from the meeting where we watched the video together, the first thing she did was go to her manager and ask him to create a similar activity on their BF beach. And so it was. A similar event was held on their BF beach where local lifeguards helped the handicapped participate in specialized water activities. The event was widely publicized and even became an article in the New York Times.
The national operator from Trinidad and Tobago greatly thanked me and I was excited to see the positive effect of sharing ideas during the national operators meeting held each year.
I am extremely proud of the work accomplished in Israel regarding the Blue Flag, and like all the members of national meeting, I try to aim high and raise the environmental bar to new standards.
Every vessel needs some TLC, the R/V Mediterranean Explorer has received hers over the summer break. Over this period the “MedEx” has gotten brand new paint splashed on hull and deck, new AIS class B transmitter (now possible to see … Continue reading →
“On a blissful Monday morning I awoke to a cheerful call from Danielle (EcoOcean office manager), who brightly stated “make sure you eat some bread before sailing, you never know how sea sick you’ll get!” On that note, I boarded … Continue reading →
“My expectation for these past 2 months with EcoOcean has far exceeded its goals. Once arriving to Israel I was hesitant to begin such a grand adventure, which not only included exploring a beautiful country but identifying my professional persona.
The first 4 weeks were intense; learning about every facet of the organization along with creating a presentation and EcoOcean folder to be used for an indefinite period of time. EcoOcean made me feel valued and reiterated that my contributions would be useful. My supervisor Danielle was organized and had a distinct vision of what needed to be accomplished and that structure made me extremely productive. She taught me to be self-reliant as well as creative in a refined way. Lessons I’ve learned from her will help me excel in any career I wish to pursue.
As the weeks progressed we began to examine fundraising: grant and proposal writing. I learned what a proposal entails as well as what an LOI (letter of inquiry) means. These skills are imperative and I could not have learned them in a more supportive environment. Documents and presentations where created so future managers can reference these guides when pursuing funding. Knowing that my contributions will have a lasting effect is elevating.
EcoOcean’s staff is kind, supportive and extremely different which makes the work environment invigorating. Their sense of dedication is contagious and only makes those committed to the cause pursue higher goals and bigger ideas. Being environmentally active, EcoOcean was the perfect fit for me. I want to thank the entire organization for giving me an experience I’ll never forget.”
Thanks MIrka for your continual work at EcoOcean, helping us all pursue our daily tasks. You were a great addition to our team this summer and we all appreciate your dedication and willingness to learn. Have a wonderful trip back home! -EcoOcean staff
What do you do on a scorching mid-july summer day?! Go to the beach, of course! Well, Not exactly so for Mrs. Orly Babitsky. This week, she conducted one of her periodical unannounced site visits to check up on the status of the Blue Flag beaches/marinas. Thanks to Orly and the local participating municipalities for keeping our Blue Flag beach up to par.
Some words from the FEE coordinator in Israel, Orly Babitsky. “On a hot July day, the small local community of Eilat had gathered on the Ha’shhafim beach for their first “Blue Flag” ceremony. Daniel (EcoOcean CEO) and Orly (National Program … Continue reading →
Mirka spent the day with Galia Pasternak, who is completing her PhD. in Marine Litter Monitoring.
“I met with Galia on a scorching July afternoon. She was kind, friendly, and respectful to my lack of knowledge when it came to coastal litter. She explained that for her PhD she tracks litter; she monitors the different types of waste and how it affects the local ecology. She also elaborated on how often she collects data, her hypothesis on the original trash thrower and the range of which we would be counting and monitoring waste; approximately 100 meters.”
“As we neared our destination- a beach close to the port of Haifa- it became apparent that coastal littering was prevalent and abundant. Before reaching the shore line, trash completely covered the edges and crept onto the dirt road. Once arriving I was astounded to see such an eclectic mound of trash. There was everything from diapers, to tires, to boat cleaning supplies, and cigarette butts. The most astonishing and ample trash article was cups. I have never seen so many plastic cups congregated upon the ocean’s edge. Small thin plastic cups. Considering our small range of data collection, I tallied around 120 cups.”
“Not only is that disgusting but it brought on mixed emotions including anger, despair and hope. I’m angry with that lack of respect unpracticed by our peers; I felt despair because I worried it was too late to change what we’ve already done. But then after meeting Galia and seeing the work she does and the dedicated and determined team alongside her, I realized there is great hope for our future. With devoted people like her, knowledge will be shared, a light with be shown on the shrouded mess that is coastal litter, and our oceans can be saved. “-Mirka Narod
The 2013 WEEC conference was held in Marrakech, Morocco. 2400 participants arrived from all over the World, more than 105 nationalities, to participate together in the 7th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC 2013), for 5 days in June. The Conference … Continue reading →
Have you registered yet? Whats the challenge: Attempt to consume no single-use plastic during July. Follow : plasticfreejuly.org
Register as an organization or an individual and “like” our post once you do!! We are up for the challenge, are you …?
Plus, share your ideas here on how you plan to stay plastic free this month!!