With a New Year already underway, I thought it would be a good idea to give you an update on where the Ikkatsu Project has been, where it is going, and the role that Klean Kanteen plays in the day-to-day things that are going on.
2016 was another active year for the Ikkatsu Project, with some amazing programs and opportunities along the way. The Freshwater Microplastics Testing Program that worked with Middle School students in the Puyallup River watershed was a groundbreaking success and will continue on into 2017. Several short films were released that detailed different aspects of Ikkatsu’s work and a trailer for the upcoming Roadless Coast film was posted online.
In addition to all of this, I was invited to make presentations about marine plastics at several conferences (Salish Sea, North American Association of Environmental Educators, Puget Sound Science Symposium, etc.), as well as meet with every member of the Washington delegation to the US Congress to work in favor of legislation that will benefit the health of Puget Sound and other Northwest waters. Beach cleanups were a monthly event throughout the year and served to get more people interested and involved in raising awareness about the issue of plastic in the ocean. Expeditions included a return to Washington’s Olympic Coast to survey some of the same beaches that we examined on the first Ikkatsu trip in 2012, as well as shorter trips to offshore and estuarine islands to catalog marine debris on remote shorelines.
In the upcoming year, I’ll be going back to Washington, DC, to continue efforts to improve the health of the oceans, organizing the second Tacoma Shoreline Survey and putting together a 4-week trip to Southeast Alaska that will transit remote beaches and document plastic debris in places that rarely see human visitors. The film, “Message in a Plastic Bottle,” has been accepted to both the Waterwalker Film Festival and the Reel Paddling Film Festival, putting the issue directly in the public eye and showing how paddlers can make a difference in the drive for a better planet.
Klean Kanteen has been a valued partner in all of these efforts and will continue to be an essential part of what is scheduled for the year to come. Water bottles and insulated bottles were raffled off at Surfrider conferences, given to volunteers at beach cleanups and presented as prizes to students in environmental programs. The message of reuse and conservation is central to what the Ikkatsu Project is all about and Klean Kanteen is a huge part of getting that message out in a consistent and practical way. Thank you for all you do and for allowing me to be a part of it.
I look forward to working with you more in 2017 and wish you a wonderful New Year!