A few weeks ago, I hosted my first BrittFit beach bootcamp and clean up. Despite being nervous about how everything would turn out, the event was a conservation and fitness success! By the sweat and support of 22 boot campers, we raised over $200.00 to be donated to the Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation is an outstanding organization that works in numerous ways to protect coastal ecosystems around the United States.
Additionally, we filled up 15 buckets with trash, plastic debris, and litter from the beach. All of us were shocked to see the amount of cigarette buds and food packaging so carelessly left behind on the sand. What if someone came into our own homes and littered the way that we do to our beaches?
Coastal ecosystems in California are home to many different marine and terrestrial species. From waterbirds such as the snowy plover, least terns, and the brown pelican – to dolphins, seals, and many other aquatic species. Not only do the beautiful coasts provide wildlife with habitat, but they also protect our state from the damaging effects of many storms, provide numerous forms of employment, and are an important natural resource for food.
As beach pollution continues, we not only jeopardize the immediate well-being of fish, birds, and other forms of wildlife, but we also jeopardize our own futures. And when marine ecosystems begin to suffer, we too will feel the long-term effects; whether now or in the future. Unhealthy coasts can cause trophic cascades within delicate food webs as well as interfere with many ecosystem services that we depend upon.
However, it was such an honor to have so many people come out and sweat to protect our coastlines. I am blessed to be able to combine fitness in a way that not only burns calories, but that also provides opportunities for others engage in conservation. Cheers to many more beach bootcamps and fundraisers ahead!