RVERSPORT RIVER PROTECTORS & PROTECT MONTEREY BAY
Your vibe attracts your tribe
My mission is to connect people with nature through stand up paddle and other outdoor sports while educating them on the current issues that are polluting our waterways and oceans. This advocacy is collaborative in design, to build a much larger cultural synergy of youth and adults to problem solve environmental issues in all types of liquid settings. The foundation is empowering the next generation through mentorship and the core is indigenous wisdom of stewardship.
Brent has built his work around the lifestyle sports industry for the past 24 years in North Carolina, California and Oklahoma. His perpetual interest in learning new endurance sports started in 1994 in triathlon evolving into all types of racing including open water swimming, off-road triathlons, ultra-running, adventure racing, paddleboard, the list is long. He worked as an expert level USAT coach for 12 years and has been a race announcer/host at endurance sports events from North Carolina to Hawaii over the past 22 years. Brent’s involvement in ocean advocacy began in 2014 with the issue of single-use plastics in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (The largest US National Marine Sanctuary off the central California coast).
Brent and his wife recently moved back to Oklahoma after being gone for 28 years to be closer to family. His new position in the paddle sport world is Lifestyle Director at www.riversportokc.org.
RiverSport River Protectors
In 2020 after moving back to my home state of Oklahoma I joined the team at River Sport OKC. Mike Knopp executive director at www.riversportokc.org gave me the green light to create an environmental initiative to address pollution impacting our local waterways in Oklahoma County. The initiative is called the River Protectors – Riversport OKC . My ancestry is Cherokee and most people wouldn’t know that 39 Native American tribes are based in Oklahoma. Teaching stewardship is very much a natural part of my life.
We have begun the process of collaboration and education to start addressing single-use plastics and Styrofoam which are littering this 5km of the Oklahoma River. In 2020 over 200 people volunteered in waterfront clean ups in Oklahoma County. We have been using the Litterati – The Global Team Cleaning The Earth | Litterati app. to build a data base of the trash we are removing . We have already pulled over 50,000 pieces of trash since 2020.
We are structuring more educational programs for youth on our local environmental issues built around the outdoor lifestyle and kicking off more speaking engagements in the community. In 2021 We will be organizing more water based cleanups from stand up paddle and kayak at our 3 separate locations in Oklahoma City, Lake Overholser, and Lake Hefner.
Protect Monterey Bay
Protect Monterey Bay is a non-profit committed to building the first-ever California Marine Sanctuary in the Monterey Bay. This initiative began in 2016 with my idea of creating a simple sticker Protect Monterey Bay designed by James Deleon and printed by Shawn Adams owner of Santa Cruz Monterey Signs. I told JD and Shawn I have an idea that is purely altruistic NO MONEY. They said awesome let’s do it. I passed these out in all the coastal communities surrounding the Monterey Bay for 4 years.
The general call to action was based around the number of single-use plastics flowing into the Monterey Bay as a direct result of over-tourism in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. This kick-off was simply from me noticing and picking up trash from the kelp beds during paddleboard sessions in the Carmel and Monterey Bay. I had encountered a large group of humpback whales in September of 2014 while paddle-boarding which changed me forever when one spy hopped 25 yards away and looked me right in the eye.
I created the first Stand Up Paddle ocean clean-up of kelp beds in collaboration with the local Surfrider chapter in August of 2015 which evolved to above and below water cleanups at Point Lobos State Reserve one of the most iconic coastal California State Parks. Later came the evolution of more stand up paddle cleanups in the rivers feeding into the Monterey Bay and Carmel Bay.
The final straw began in 2017 with the escalation of cruise ships coming into the Monterey Bay and anchoring off the small coastal community of Monterey, CA. Yes, this is a National Marine Sanctuary, but the protections provided do nothing with these massive polluters. This non-profit is being designed around local authentic business persons in the community that want to problem-solve our issues and empower the next generation of youth to do the same.
Featured Articles – Protect Monterey Bay
Read more about Campaigns in our blog
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Apr 04, 2019
Earth Day Climate Action: Plant-Based For The Planet
Apr 20, 2020