On my very first day with San Diego Coastkeeper, Waterkeeper Jill Witkowski came to me with an idea to change the way we tackle water issues throughout the county.
She envisioned pulling together a group of community members from throughout San Diego County who represent the diverse backgrounds and concerns of the region to better inform us of what local, water-related problems were out there.
As an organization that works to “find and fix” these problems, Jill saw a need for us make sure we were finding what truly needed fixing. There seemed no better way to identify these issues than straight from the individuals seeing them every day.
If I ever had any doubts about how motivated San Diego Coastkeeper was to making ideas become reality, it was quickly cleared up as we launched the application process for our inaugural Community Advisory Council just three weeks later at our Signs of the Tide event.
At the same time, the San Diego community wasted no time in showing me how devoted they were to protecting our water. In the one-month application window, we received 24 applications from a wide range of ages, professions, interests and locations. There were 24 applications for 10 seats on the Council.
Reading through the applications was one of the most inspiring and motivating processes. It’s amazing how many individuals wanted to be a part of enacting change in their community. Students and parents, legal professionals, college professors, and healthcare workers all voiced their concern over water quality and availability here in San Diego.
While we heard from drastically different communities and individuals, the concern for clean water availability was constant. From Oceanside to Chula Vista, we heard from people who were not only concerned about their water, but were willing to take an active role in protecting it. This was incredible to see and only made the selection process more difficult.
After four weeks of reviewing applications and meeting with candidates, we were left with 10 members of our inaugural Community Advisory Council. They will be responsible for representing their community’s concerns and working with others to develop solutions. Our Council members will also act as representatives of San Diego Coastkeeper, helping to educate their community and provide them with resources to be successful advocates for their water.
We are thrilled to welcome on our inaugural Community Advisory Council. We have a dynamic and passionate group and are excited to work with them in the coming months. If the last two months are any indication, the next year will be an incredible time at San Diego Coastkeeper and looks very promising for the health of our water.