Surfrider’s Alys Hoyland, Michelle Hall and Lilly Woodbury, centre, accept a generous donation from the Jamie’s Whaling Station team in Tofino. This spring, Jamie’s and Surfrider have two remote beach cleans planned as part of a team-building experience. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Jamie’s Whaling Station donates $100K to ocean NGOS

“It’s not just about contributing the funds, it’s actually about getting physically invested too.”

Several environmental non-profits and oceanic research groups are already experiencing a prosperous 2019 thanks to generous cheques handed out by Jamie’s Whaling Station.

The Tofino and Ucluelet based whale watching and adventure tour company recently announced it would be gifting close to $100,000 to non-profits working in the region. Clayoquot Action, Clayoquot Clean Up, Tofino Saltwater Classic, Raincoast Education Society, Strawberry Isle Marine Research, Surfrider Pacific Rim Foundation, and the Ucluelet Aquarium all made the list.

Cetacean researcher Jim Darling with the Pacific Wildlife Foundation and marine acoustics researcher Benj Youngson at the Coastal Ecology and BioAcoustics Society (CEBAS) also received funds from Jamie’s.

Youngson said the CEBAS uses acoustic methods to answer ecological and biological questions in the marine and terrestrial environment.

The Jamie’s bequest enabled the research team to purchase a hydrophone, a long-term underwater acoustic recorder.

“When left on the sea floor, this type of hydrophone allows us to record underwater sound for several months at a time. All organisms produce sound, known as bioacoustics. Collecting year-round bioacoustics data allows us to learn about the animals that live and migrate in Barkley Sound,” explained Youngson.

“We are very appreciative for Jamie’s support for this project, as without this donation, this project would not be possible. We look forward to sharing this data with visitors, staff and our local community.”

Surfrider Pacific Rim received over $30,000 for their ‘Love Your Beach Clean’ programming this year.

Chapter manager Lilly Woodbury said they plan on using some of the donation to establish ‘Love Your Beach Clean’ signage in Tofino and Ucluelet.

“We want to increase our impact and inspire tourists to be beach ambassadors. We’re trying to engage people in doing their own clean ups and not just when they are organized, but every time they visit the beach to do a five-minute beach clean,” said Woodbury, adding that the hashtag for the initiative on Instagram is #5minutebeachclean.

Remote clean ups are planned for Clayoquot Sound and Barkley Sound in the summer, notes Woodbury. Surfrider is also partnering up with Jamie’s Whaling for a couple team-building sessions at Lone Cone Hostel in the spring.

Jamie’s director of operations Corene Inouye said the team is really looking forward to getting more involved with Surfrider.

“It’s not just about contributing the funds, it’s actually about getting physically invested too,” said Inouye.

The donated funds were collected through the company’s ‘Research, Rescue and Education’ fee, a $3 surcharge that is tacked on to each passengers’ adventure tour fare.

Since implementing the fee in 1997, Jamie’s has raised over $1 million for ocean-minded non-profits.

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