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Volunteer Spotlight: Michelle Sirota

This month, we're highlighting Michelle Sirota for her exceptional volunteer work with the Ventura County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. Michelle's dedication to ocean conservation is evident in her years of service and her passion for educating others about the importance of preserving our oceans. 

Michelle has played a vital role in supporting the Surfrider Foundation as a dedicated volunteer. As an integral member of the "C St." beach cleanup core team, she consistently handles the transportation of supplies, setup and breakdown, and volunteer check-ins, and serves as the official backup lead. Her commitment and reliability are essential to the smooth operation and success of these cleanups. Michelle's journey with the Surfrider Foundation began as a water sampler at Marina Park, eventually leading her to manage one of the Blue Water Task Force labs. Her positive attitude and exceptional organizational skills have significantly enhanced the efficiency and accuracy of our ocean water quality program, benefiting the entire community.

We asked Michelle a few questions about herself and her experience with Surfrider.

1. How long have you lived in Ventura County?
My husband and I have lived in Ventura part-time since 2017 and full-time since we retired in 2021.

2. What draws you to the ocean?
To me, the ocean feels calming and peaceful.

3. What makes you passionate about advocating for the ocean?
I think it’s important that we educate people about the need to care for our oceans. Not everyone understands the connection between the health of the ocean and the overall health of the planet. We need to spread the word.

4. What gives you joy volunteering for Surfrider?
I love meeting and working with the other Surfrider volunteers, but I get a special joy in seeing families show up for the monthly C Street Beach cleanup. It gives me hope to see kids participating and hopefully beginning a lifelong habit of advocating for our oceans.

5. What is your future hope for the health of the ocean?
My future hope for the ocean is that we can all work together to keep our oceans clean and healthy.

6. Anything else you want to share about yourself (education, career, hobbies)?
I have a BS in Geology from the University of Hawaii at Hilo. I am a retired science teacher. I 
taught Earth Science as well as 7th grade science in Glendale Unified School District.  I enjoy kayaking, hiking, camping, yoga and travel.