Salmon Run in Ventura: Running for a good cause

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Salmon Run in Ventura: Running for a good cause

Photo by Maria Barragan- Reporter

Photo by Maria Barragan- Reporter

Photo by Maria Barragan- Reporter

Photo by Maria Barragan- Reporter

Maria Barragan, Reporter

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Patagonia, Inc. hosted the 26th annual Salmon Run in Ventura County on Sunday, Nov. 3. The Salmon Run is a benefit event that encourages locals to help raise funds for environmental groups working on issues within the community, as well as to help restore and maintain the Ventura River. 

“Chipper Bro” Bell has been a volunteer at the Salmon Run for 25 years. Bell works at Real Cheap Sports, a sports shop located on Santa Clara Street in Ventura, which founded the Salmon Run. 

Bell said the name is intended to be taken as a pun toward the actual fish that go up the Ventura River.

“What I love about being here is that it pulls all of our nonprofits together. Whether it be the mountains or oceans or everything in between, or it can be the social or environmental movement,” Bell said. 

Steph Karba who is also part of the Patagonia team, is an environmental researcher who focuses on the environmental impact of Patagonia products. This marks her third year volunteering at the Salmon Run.   

“It’s awesome to volunteer for this event and just have a little more face to face with the awesome nonprofits that do work locally, and to support them and to sort of speak to the action and work that they are doing,” Karba said. “The Salmon Run is a way to support the groups that are trying to bring that restoration back.”

Los Padres ForestWatch Executive Director Jeff Kuyper said every year a nonprofit organization is chosen as a beneficiary of the run. 

This year Patagonia chose Los Padres ForestWatch to be their beneficiary nonprofit. 

Los Padres ForestWatch is the only local nonprofit organization in Ventura County that focuses on protecting the region’s public lands, according to their website.

“There wasn’t any organizations that focused on protecting this huge chunk of open space and all the benefits that it provides to our communities,” Kuyper said. “We wanted it to be a watchdog organization but also have ways for people to get involved with volunteer trash clean-ups.”

Kuyper said their newest program is aimed at youth. He said ForestWatch wants to get youth out in nature, to learn how they can become the next generation of conservation stewards.

Associate Dean of Students and Faculty Affairs at California Lutheran University Sam Thomas is a board member of Los Padres ForestWatch. He said his history in teaching environmental ethics for a decade has encouraged him to become involved in local and regional organizations that work on land protection, preservation and conservation.

“When you’re looking sort of north and northwest from campus you’re seeing the forest, those mountains off in the distance and the integrity of that land is really important…So it’s very important for people to know that it’s there and it is important for people to want to protect it,” Thomas said.