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Our 2022 Year in Review

It’s been another successful year for the Eastern Long Island Chapter. We have seen growth in many different areas, from our core volunteer program to our Blue Water Task Force to our beach cleanup program. We wanted to share some of the highlights that make us proud!

Blue Water Task Force (BWTF):

  • More sites and samples: This was our 10th year sampling on the East End of Long Island!  We have grown from around 70 sites this time last year to 80 sites now. In total, we collected and processed a whopping 1,789 samples, the most we’ve collected in one year!
  • Less plastic: In partnership with Peconic Baykeeper, we acquired the equipment needed to sterilize reusable materials. This has saved us over 2,000 pieces of single-use plastic so far!
  • More awareness: We released our 2021 Eastern Long Island Blue Water Task Force Water Quality Report and held a press event to raise awareness for the report, which was covered in the Sag Harbor Express.  We continue to look for ways that we can get our data in front of people who use our sites recreationally.
  • Volunteer Appreciation: We hosted our first-ever BWTF volunteer appreciation event, where volunteers met the leaders of our program, toured the lab, and enjoyed a pizza party to thank them for their continued efforts.

Representatives from the Surfrider Foundation Eastern Long Island Chapter, Concerned Citizens of Montauk and Peconic Baykeeper gather at Long Beach, Sag Harbor to raise awareness of local water quality issues and our annual report.

Some of the Blue Water Task Force volunteers and staff at the Peconic Baykeeper office for our volunteer appreciation pizza party.

Ocean Friendly Gardens (OFG)

  • Our two Ocean Friendly Gardens in East Hampton continue to bloom beautifully and provide a solution for stormwater runoff in areas that previously would be flooded after a heavy storm.
  • The EH Village bioswale near Town Pond got additional plants to increase biodiversity and add visual interest throughout the seasons, increase coverage, and provide a natural buffer between the garden and the turf lawn.
  • We hosted a handful of educational opportunities with East Hampton Middle School Surfrider Club, Playful learning, and other volunteers to teach people about the benefits of bioswales.
  • We have plans to start an OFG Committee to help with maintenance this spring!

Ocean Friendly Garden volunteers cleaning up the Methodist Lane bioswale in the spring, and some of the native organisms that benefit.

Ocean Friendly Restaurants: 

Our dedicated summer interns made a valiant effort to recruit Ocean Friendly Restaurants this year. They contacted about 40 businesses which led to some meetings and interest, however, none have officially signed up yet! We are hoping to start a new committee soon to get some of our year-round volunteers to help with this program.


Rise Above Plastics:

  • Skip the Stuff: We started a new campaign this year called Skip the Stuff in East Hampton. Learn more here.
  • Beach Cleanups: We nearly doubled the impact of our beach cleanups this year with help from 491 volunteers (up from 261 last year) and thanks to their efforts, we cleaned up over 1,000 pounds of debris during our chapter cleanups!
  • North Fork Beach Cleanup: We acquired the data on an additional 3,000 pounds of debris from the North Fork Beach Cleanup, organized by the Greenport Gazette!


Community Engagement and Awareness

In early 2022, our chapter set a goal to “build capacity.” So, we set out to find ways we could create awareness for our chapter, get people more involved, and have fun together!

  • Core volunteer training program: We held two training sessions in the spring to recruit dedicated volunteers to help us run beach cleanups, table events, and more!
  • Summer interns: For the first time since 2019, we were able to bring back our internship program and had two amazing interns help with our events and programs this summer.
  • Surf socials: Our chapter expanded by introducing a new initiative this year: we hosted a few “surf socials” in the summer to encourage our members to come out and surf together.  
  • 20th Annual Surf Movie Night: Our annual tradition continues with new fun additions, like a surf swap, live music, and food and beer vendors.
  • Member holiday party: We held our first chapter holiday party to boost member recruitment, and it worked! 51 people attended and celebrated with us.

Core volunteers helping out at the 20th Annual Surf Movie Night.

Left: Summer interns Lyla Forman and Annabelle Dominguez tabling at the Rell Sunn surf contest in Montauk. Right: Lyla and Annie learning how to collect water samples for the Blue Water Task Force.

Our Women’s Surf Social, led by Liz Sans (center, with orange board) in July at Ponquogue Beach.

Photos from several of our cleanups this summer, with our newly branded cleanup bags. They were made from a local, woman-owned business in Greenport called Just Burlap Bags.

We are really happy to see how our chapter has grown over the last year. We hope to stay engaged with the community in 2023, so we can clean more beaches, test more water, and hopefully achieve more campaign victories!