As we pull away from the shore, our arms ache as we get used to the stroke of our paddles. Our initial hesitation to the cold water and the remote possibility of falling off our kayaks are gone as the fresh smell of salt fills our lungs. We feel empowered to continue on, stroking in unison towards our destination. Once we are on the kayaks, it is always surprising how adventurous we feel, even just a few hundred feet from shore. Being in such close proximity to the water gives us a perfect perspective to observe the various life forms and the elaborate details that both land and water have to offer. As we bob up and down from the choppy waves slapping our boats, we feel vulnerable, yet extremely connected to our environment and its natural beauty.
The Flotsom Flotilla Forays are one of The Watershed Project’s most recent and exiting way to get people connected to their local watersheds. Over the last few months we have had the opportunity to offer several Bay Area corporate groups a remarkable team building field day. This program brings participants from local businesses and offers them a chance to take part in a kayaking adventure along the South Richmond Shoreline. Participants usually have little to no experience kayaking and various degrees of awareness about watersheds and the remarkable beauty that San Francisco Bay has to offer. These forays, which help shed light on the issue of marine debris, have been possible thanks to a grant from the California Coastal Commission and a growing partnership with REI and its outdoor school.
One of the corporate groups we invited this year was Livie & Luca, a local company that makes great shoes for kids. After their exciting adventure with us along the San Francisco Bay shoreline, Amie Garcia, co-owner and CEO, wrote about their experience on their blog:
“I am so grateful that Livie & Luca was able to participate in this unique program & partnership between The Watershed Project & REI. It was a perfect combination of some outdoor fun and physical activity combined with insight and education on our local watershed. All of this, including time spent cleaning up the bay, made for a truly amazing and unforgettable day.”
Programs like this are possible thanks to public funding and 2014 taxpayers, who are now able to donate to the Protect our Coast and Oceans Fund via “checkbox” on the California state tax form. Funds raised by this program will be awarded to organizations involved in marine and coastal education through the California Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail Grants program.
Other groups such as Veolia Water and the Fred Finch Youth Center Therapists will also participate in the program this year as well as our hard-working, passionate community interns. Check out our Facebook page to learn more about our adventures. We invite you to come out and join us for our next “Bring Your Own Boat Adventure” during Coastal Cleanup Day this coming September.
To reserve a spot in a Flotsam Flotilla Foray for the last free corporate foray of the season please contact Juliana Gonzalez before May 1st.