Local youth organizes ‘Stand Up 4 Water’

We have so much to learn about our water.

Blow-Out finalist Fiona Wylde is turning her love of the river into a learning experience for fellow young people.

Wylde, 16, has put together a July 22 event, Stand Up 4 Water Awareness (SUP4Water), for youths who want to spend a day learning to stand-up paddle and finding out more about water quality on the Hood River waterfront.

“It’s going to be a great day, jam-packed and full of fun stuff playing on the water,” said Wylde, who spoke from the Event Site beach after she was the lone female to finish the June 25 Blow-Out race from Stevenson to Hood River. She competes internationally in windsurfing and stand-up paddling.

WHEN AND WHERE

SUP4Water is July 22 at the Event Site

Hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Cost for SUP4Water is $20. Register at standup4waterawareness.com.

Wylde said, “We will start the day with stand-up paddle instruction, followed by lunch, a tour of the waste treatment plant, and then everyone will come back and perform tests on water samples,” from sites including The Hook, Waterfront Park and the boat basin, with help from Veoli Water, a water quality testing company from Portland.

Registration starts at 9 a.m., and the day will conclude at 3:30 p.m.

Wylde has help from a $1,400 grant she received in May from Gorge Soup for Kids, a nonprofit event in which young people “pitch” their entrepreneurial ideas to a group of adults, over soup, and the proceeds from the meal are turned into the grant funds.

Wylde said last week’s E.coli alert at the Event Site served to raise awareness about the need for events such as hers.

“Having seen how these hundreds of people are here for this Windfest event, playing on the water, and when you realize how just yesterday no one was allowed to go in the water, it severely affects the community.

“So that’s one of the things we’re really going to talk about throughout the day; how clean water is so important to our community and how you can keep it clean and become a little more aware,” Wylde said. “We can use this as an example to show how really lucky we are to be able go down and jump in the river whenever we want to — almost — because some of these things (pollution incidents) do happen and sometimes you have to be aware and pay attention.”

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