In mid-January, Surfrider and the Oregon Coast Aquarium hosted a Marine Debris Education Workshop. The workshop, supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program, included members of more than 15 organizations representing nonprofits, zoos and aquariums, academia, marine reserve community teams, and our local waste hauler, Thompsons Sanitary. Unfortunately, due to the government shutdown, our federal agency partners were unable to attend.

The meeting comes two months before the first major update workshop for the Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan (check out this blog post on the interim Plan update from last year). Only four of the organizations at the Education Workshop were involved in the original development of the Action Plan, so we began with an overview of the education and outreach portions then moved into discussions of each organization’s programs.

Many of us in the room communicate on a somewhat regular basis, but we still learned a lot about each other’s work by taking dedicated time to connect. Most of the conversations focused on building collaboration and strengthening partnerships. When we come back together in March for the Action Plan Update, the outreach and education folks will lay out a two and a half year plan for our work in Oregon (along with the broader marine debris practitioner community).

Stay tuned for a full report on the Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan Update!