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Artist to share journey at March 11 event at UCC

Pete Clarkson's adventure to tell the story of things lost and found has come full circle.

The artist, a Pacific Rim National Park Reserve staffer, will present his story of a journey to see post-tsunami Japan through an artist's eyes on March 11 at the UCC.

Part of a documentary being filmed, because of his art that transforms tsunami driftage, Clarkson said he almost didn't make the trip.

"I had a lot of trepidation about it. I have a fear of tsunamis - I didn't know if I was ready to see it, firsthand," he said.

"I decided to go, and I'm so fortunate that I did. Through our search for the people, we got to meet and hear a lot of stories first-hand, and to see some of the areas that had been affected.There was a lot of lessons - it moved me, especially the stories of students that were in school when the tsunami struck," he said, describing the film as story of the objects, and people finding them and reuniting them with their Japanese origins, and those people.

"When I finished that trip, I wanted to come back and pay it back for my experiences and share those lessons with the communities here," Clarkson said.

Expect a wave of Japanese visitors on the West Coast in time for the third anniversary of the March, 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan. From Mar 8 -12, the Japan Love Project along with 73 students from the International Volunteer University Student Association in Japan will help remove debris within Ucluelet's municipal boundary, the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve (PRNPR), and possibly along the shoreline of Yuulu il at territory.

The JLP is an international disaster relief association established to assist with cleanup and fund raising for the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami event. The IVUSA is a Japanese student organization focused on disaster relief and volunteer work around the world.

It will be an opportunity for the public to hear stories and learn firsthand about emergency preparedness from people who were directly impacted from the March 11, 20122 earthquake and tsunami. The IVUSA students will provide a presentation about their program and experiences, Peter Clarkson will discuss his recent experiences in Japan, and Karla Robison, Ucluelet's manager of environmental and emergency services, will provide a presentation on Ucluelet's Marine Debris & Emergency Preparedness Program.

"The large participation effort is a reflection of the honorable spirit of the people from Japan. We thank the group coming in March and previous shoreline debris cleanup groups for their volunteerism, generosity, and resiliency. The community of Ucluelet is very grateful for the support the Japanese Government and Japanese people have provided with debris cleanup initiatives," Robison said.