Our Tofino Neighbours: Verónika Miralles Sánchez
We like to feature people who are not only doing an awesome job as part of our team at the Wickaninnish Inn, but also in our wider community. Our local Surfrider chapter works to protect our ocean, waves, and beaches through activism, education, events and campaigns that unite us. Their incredible crew includes Verónika Miralles Sánchez, the Pacific Rim Chapter Coordinator.
Born in Port Moody, B.C., Verónika Miralles Sánchez grew up between Canada and Mendoza, Argentina, where much of her family still lives. Verónika says her interest in environmental and social activism started when she was young. The forest she used to play in with her siblings and friends was logged for new housing developments and the change this created in their neighbourhood really made an impact on her. By high school, she was active in environmental work in Vancouver and remembers witnessing the conflict over logging in Clayoquot Sound and the interest it sparked across the world.
She went on to study at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, where she finished a Master’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology, focusing on social and environmental movements. During that time, she often visited the west coast of the island, but moving here wasn’t in the cards until just a few years ago. In 2016, Verónika and her husband made the move to Ucluelet to get out of the bustle of city life; they jumped in with both feet, not even a job prospect lined up! Initially she made do with a variety of jobs, simply glad to be out of the office.
Of course, it has worked out wonderfully and Verónika quickly integrated into the community, putting her many skills to use. Over the years she has been volunteering with Surfrider as part of the “Stitch ‘n’ Beach” group, making reusable bags out of second-hand linens in order to reduce waste and raise awareness of single-use plastic bags. The group began as a way of supporting the Co-op grocery stores in Ucluelet and Tofino who were inspired to ban plastic bags at the tills in 2017; since then, it has continued to support the community in finding alternatives to other single-use items like saran wrap and wrapping paper. Her work with Surfrider is coming full circle this year as her first experience with the organization was volunteering at the MUP Clean Up just two years ago—and now she’s organizing it! (Mark your calendars, it’s one of Pacific Rim Surfrider’s biggest cleanups of the year: April 22, 11AM-2PM)
Verónika just started her position with Surfrider at the beginning of March, but she brings valuable experience to her job. Her previous position in Vancouver was for the Faculty Association at UBC in conflict resolution, and she notes that the common goal in all of her work experience has been “looking at how people interact and work together to meet their goals.”
Surfrider holds many events throughout the year, be sure to take a look: https://pacificrim.surfrider.org/events-calendar/
At the Wickaninnish Inn, we are proud to be a part of supporting the great work Surfrider does; it’s inspiring to see how our united efforts can create positive change. And we are grateful for people like Verónika who come forward to make them come to fruition. On behalf of the community, we applaud you!