Thursday, June 3, 2004
Eat To Help The Hungry
When was the last time you were hungry, not because you were dieting but because you couldn’t scratch together the cash for a decent meal? Hopefully that’s never happened to you, but more than 10,000 people a month rely on the Food Bank of Monterey County for nutrition.
What can you do about it? Do nothing more than you might do anyway. Go out for dinner.
On June 3, National Hunger Awareness Day, 35 restaurants across the county will kick down 10 percent of their proceeds toward the Food Bank of Monterey County.
For more information about where to eat to help the hungry, consult www.food4hungry.org.
If you don’t think people are here are in need of a meal, know that the Food Bank, in one of the most fertile—and in some neighborhoods richest—areas of the world, distributes about six million pounds of food to the needy per year. According to the 2000 Census, 13.5 percent of the county’s more than 400,000 residents live in poverty.
Please Step Back from the Kayak
Though it may not always be enough to make a federal case, federal law does prohibit bothering several species of marine life, such as sea lions and otters. And in case that’s not clear to recreational kayakers, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) will have a small flotilla of its own volunteer naturalists in kayaks on the water every weekend this summer, just so paddlers know they’re not in a petting zoo.
“That disturbance does occur,” says MBNMS spokesperson Rachel Saunders.
Although the vast majority of contacts between the volunteers of the TeamOcean program are just helpful local diplomacy, Saunders says, some kayakers need to be told to steer clear of the marine mammals and sea birds that ply the coast here.
“They’re not cops,” she says of the volunteers. “They’re sort of friendly ambassadors.”
Last summer, some 6,500 kayakers were approached by TeamOcean volunteers off Monterey and in Elkhorn Slough. Usually it was just nice chatter. But also recorded by the naturalists were 127 incidents that qualified as an “individual wildlife disturbance.” Those incidents are reported to the federal law enforcement agents at MBNMS.
There are a total of 50 volunteers in the program, of which four are paid as leaders. Necessary staff time is paid for by the Sanctuary, and local kayaking outfitters and others lend gear.
With its rules and regulations under review for possible changes and revisions, TeamOcean happens to be just one initiative underway at the Sanctuary.
Some time in 2005 the Sanctuary expects to take delivery of a 65-foot research vessel that will be based out of Monterey harbor. The boat will be from the Shearwater-class of research vessels, one of which is already based at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Under specifications now being drawn up, such a boat will be able to reach the farthest boundaries of the Sanctuary within hours and be swift enough to travel the length of it—from San Francisco to San Simeon—in a day. Besides research and education, the boat is also to be used for enforcement. It will be a step up from the current MBNMS vessel, a smaller boat incapable of navigating in the open ocean.
The announcement of the new research boat follows several ongoing science projects, such as the October online launch of SIMoN, or Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network. Conceived as a tool for both the public and scientists, SIMoN provides a window into current local ocean research.
On Friday, June 4, the Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) meets at the Canterbury Wood Retirement Facility in Pacific Grove. The SAC is made up of community stakeholders and area government representatives. The SAC meets six times a year. It has 20 voting members and several new ones will be sworn in at the June 4 meeting