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DHS news release

June 15, 2007


General contact: Bonnie Widerburg, 971-673-1282
Program contact: Jennifer Ketterman, 971-673-0431


"Beach Teach" campaign launches this week




Going to the beach should be a healthy and enjoyable activity, and a new educational campaign aims to help visitors avoid water-related illnesses during their visits to the coast.


The campaign, called "Beach Teach," was launched this week. It is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Human Services Public Health Division.


"We're trying to ensure healthy, informed opportunities for swimming and other recreational water activities along the coast," said Jennifer Ketterman, Oregon Beach Monitoring program coordinator.


Beach Teach uses colorful, lively materials to describe the beach monitoring program, how it protects people's health, and things everyone can do to help keep beach waters clean.


During the summer, the program regularly tests ocean waters at 20 recreational beaches for elevated levels of fecal bacteria, notifies the public if health risks are detected, and educates people on what they can do to avoid getting sick from playing in ocean water.


Ketterman said Oregonians will soon see and hear different elements of the campaign:

  • Second Annual Clean Beaches art contest -- 4th and 5th grade students from elementary schools along the coast drew pictures showing how ocean water becomes polluted or things people can do to keep the beaches clean. The winner, announced last Friday, is Tessa Hoelscher, a 5th grader at Seaside Heights Elementary School.
  • "The Beach is Not a Bathroom" -- full-size, colorful poster guaranteed to elicit a smile while expressing an important message about keeping beach waters clean. The poster, jointly sponsored by Oregon and Washington public health, will be posted at city halls, visitor centers, chambers of commerce, various parks, campgrounds, hotels, surf shops, and other retail establishments along the coast.
  • "A Guide to Water Quality for Oregon Beach Visitors" -- handy pocket-sized brochure that explains beach monitoring efforts, why water testing is necessary, how water gets contaminated and precautions people can take to stay safe and healthy while enjoying the beach.
  • Radio and TV commercials -- informational ads will air along the entire coast, Portland, Eugene, and southern Oregon throughout June and July.
  • Promotional items -- beach buckets, water bottles and refrigerator magnets will be distributed at outreach events along the coast to remind people to enjoy the beach and where to find information about beach water quality.
  • Web site -- anyone can listen to a commercial, download a poster or brochure at the Beach Monitoring Program Web site. These materials can also be obtained by calling 971-673-0431.

Oregon's Beach Monitoring Program and the Beach Teach campaign are funded by a grant from the federal Environmental Protection Agency. State agencies participating in this program are the Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.


Beach monitoring is one of many public health programs that focus on prevention and helping people manage their health so they can be as productive and healthy as possible. Information about the beach monitoring program is on the Beach Monitoring Program Web site.


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