Surfrider’s Michelle Hall and Lilly Woodbury, left, accepted a big cheque from the Jamie’s Whaling Station team in Tofino. In the New Year, Jamie’s and Surfrider will embark on a remote beach clean together as part of a team-building experience. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Jamie’s Whaling Station gives big to local non-profits

Over $80,000 in visitor fees donated back to community.

Christmas came early for a few local non-profits last week thanks to sizable cash donations courtesy of Jamie’s Whaling Station.

This year, Jamie’s donated over $80,000 back into the community to ocean-minded organizations like Pacific Wildlife Foundation, Raincoast Education Society (RES), Surfrider Pacific Rim Foundation, Clayoquot Clean Up, Ucluelet Aquarium, Pacific Rim Marine Search and Rescue Society, and Strawberry Isle Marine Research.

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 fares.

“We explain to [the tourists] where the funds we are donating go to. It’s our way and their way of giving back to the local community that they are visiting,” said Jamie’s director of operations Corene Inouye.

For years, Jamie’s has been one of the key supporters of the RES’s field school program, which delivers hands-on outdoors science programming in partnership with the Wickaninnish Community School.

Mark Maftei, the newly appointed executive director for RES, said they are hoping to expand this programming to Ucluelet for 2018.

“We are really grateful for Jamie’s support of our organization, and their continued investment in our community. They are amazing partners and I am really excited to keep working with their whole team in the year to come,” said Maftei who recently moved to Tofino from Bamfield with his family.

Surfrider leads Michelle Hall and Lilly Woodbury were stoked to receive a cheque on behalf of the foundation for $21,000.

They plan on putting the donation towards their lofty 2018 clean up schedule, which includes: youth clean ups, monthly community clean ups, waste management at surf events and community events like TFN Days, six remote clean ups, and a team remote clean up with Jamie’s staff.

In 2017, Surfrider received $14,605 from Jamie’s, which they put towards operating 46 beach clean ups.

“We want to have more of [the Jamie’s] crew on our team,” said Hall. “Instead of just accepting money from businesses we want to get them to be part of the change and participating.”

Inouye said the remote beach clean with Surfrider is mandatory for all staff.

“It’ll be fun. We’re going to give everybody the day off and close up shop for an overnight,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity for us to get away, make a difference, and get involved.”

Since 1997, Jamie’s has raised over $1 million through the “Research, Rescue and Education” fee.

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