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3rd Annual SUP YACS Recap

3rd Annual Stand Up Paddleboard Race, Ride and Relay to Benefit Young Adult Cancer Survivors (SUP YACS)

Nearly 70,000 individuals between the ages of 15 and 39 are diagnosed with cancer each year.  In additional to occupying the ‘no man’s land’ that exists between pediatric and adult oncology, these individuals face unique, long-term side effects that often go unaddressed.  On Sunday, July 27th at Montrose Beach, we took a stand against young adult oncology where nearly 100 folks registered for our 3rd Annual Stand Up Paddleboard Race, Ride and Relay to Benefit Young Adult Cancer Survivors (SUP YACS).  The sun was shining, the air was warm and the water was (mostly) flat - everyone from the racers to clinic participants had a great time.  Most importantly, True North Treks and the Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center will receive proceeds from the day to continue the diligent work they do to better young adult cancer survivor lives.  We were fortunate to raise over $10,000!!!

We couldn’t do this without the expertise of Kayak Chicago – Dave Olson and his crew expertly set up the race course, keep participants safe and teach newbies how to paddle so they can participate in the races next year.  Mary Lou Cerami taught IndoBoard Balance Bootcamp while Duane Hanson kept us dancing on the sand with his DJ skills.  Dr. Jennifer Reichek and Jonny Imerman emceed the day for us and continue to fight for young adult cancer survivors every day in their day-to-day jobs at Lurie Children’s Hospital and Imerman Angels, respectively.  A HUGE thank you goes out to the Pacifico team for sponsoring our afterparty at the Dock at Montrose Beach where local band, Rendition kept us moving and grooving well into the afternoon.  The Pacifico beers were deliciously cold and the Pacifico giveaways were a highlight, as they are every year. 

Raffle prizes this year were provided by Neiman Marcus, the Goodman Theatre, the Shedd Aquarium, Mr. and Mrs. Smith Comedy, Boltwood restaurant and Main Street Outfitter.   A huge thank you to all of volunteers who make the day run so smoothly!  Get ready for next year’s race by taking classes offered at Kayak Chicago and Chicago Paddle Company. 

View more photos from the event

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BAREFOOT WINES BEACH RESCUE @MONTROSE 5.31.14

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BAREFOOT WINES BEACH RESCUE @MONTROSE 5.31.14

Summer has finally arrived, folks, and Surfrider Chicago celebrated with Barefoot Wines at Montrose Beach on Saturday, May 31st. The Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project, now in its either year, helps keep beaches, rivers, parks and lakes across America “barefoot friendly.”  Chicago was one of 15 stops across our great country this year and we had all the great makings for a perfect day: dedicated volunteers, beautiful sun-filled skies, a great after party featuring local band, Alewife, and delicious wine for those over the age of 21. Local SUP experts, Kayak Chicago, gave us the use of 5 SUP boards to also ensure it wasn’t just the sand that benefited from our efforts. Surfrider supporter, Jack Johnson, just happened to be in town that evening and graciously donated 2 free tickets to his show for some lucky volunteers! 

From broken glass to car parts to cigarette butts, over 50 volunteers worked diligently to ensure that Montrose Beach and the surrounding areas were barefoot friendly. After all that hard work, volunteers were graciously rewarded with a celebration event at the Dock at Montrose Beach.  Entertained for two hours by the surf-inspired music of Alewife (alewifemusic.com), folks enjoyed wine, bubbly and free appetizers courtesy of Barefoot Wines. 

This was Chicago Surfrider’s fourth clean-up with Barefoot Wines and we certainly can’t wait until the fifth!  For more information about the Surfrider and Barefoot partnership, please check out http://www.surfrider.org/partners/entry/barefoot-wine.  Our next event will be the largest paddle-out Chicago has ever seen on Saturday, June 21st at Montrose Beach.  Stay tuned for more information! 

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CHICAGO'S PLASTIC BAG BAN VICTORY 4.29

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CHICAGO'S PLASTIC BAG BAN VICTORY 4.29

After several years of starts and stops, an important step was taken in Chicago as the city's aldermen, led by Ald. Joe Moreno, voted to institute a ban (effective Aug 2015, for smaller chains Aug 2016) on single-use plastic bags. The language in the ordinance exempts restaurants, and retail stores with two or fewer locations and less than 10,000 sq. ft. Affected stores will be required to provide reusable or recyclable bags.

So … in 25 words or less, we simply swap free plastic for free paper. This makes for a very tepid victory in the overall Rise Above Plastics campaign of Surfrider's, since it does nothing to reduce the mindless, mounting single-use waste, and nothing to incentivize consumer behavior toward reusable shopping  bags (the way a per-bag fee would). The Chicago Chapter will take this for what it is: Phase One of the campaign to bring this city up to the level of other cities globally that are banning plastic and instituting fees on paper and promoting reusable. We will remain patiently vigilant and activated on this issue going forward. More work to be done.

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noaa marine debris workshop

On February 20th and 21st, Surfrider Chicago joined with roughly 40 individuals representing over 30 U.S. and Canadian governmental, not-for-profit, higher education, and corporate entities in an effort to shape the Great Lakes Land-Based Marine Debris Action Plan, which is an initiative to regionally support The Honolulu Strategy, a results-oriented framework of action with the overarching goal to reduce impacts of marine debris over the next ten years. 

The meeting was held at the US EPA Region 5 in downtown Chicago and, among other notable participants, Nancy Wallace, Director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, and Dr. Sherri A. “Sam” Mason of SUNY Fredonia, the researcher that collaborated with 5 Gyres to conduct the first-ever survey for plastic pollution within the open waters of the Great Lakes, were present. The principle focus of the workshop was to review and refine goals and objectives developed through the May 2013 Great Lakes Land-Based Marine Debris Workshop held in Cleveland, OH, and to begin to flesh-out implementation strategies. 

Key feedback from Surfrider Chicago included the need to place emphasis on waste reduction strategies, including consumer education about making better choices, and establishing targets that are logically sequenced so that all plan objectives can be achieved on time. A draft Great Lakes Land-Based Marine Debris Action Plan reflecting input received from participating stakeholders will be circulated for review in either March or April 2014 and Surfrider Chicago will continue to participate in shaping the final plan. We will also need to establish implementation strategies that Surfrider Chicago, and perhaps other Great Lakes chapters, can take ownership of.

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