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Beachwalk Project Raises Community Awareness around Watershed Revitalization

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What kind of computer do you choose when your work environment may be the Columbia River, or a Pacific coral reef?

If you’re anything like Beachwalk Project cofounder Robert Weinman, you opt for the most rugged and durable mobile technology there is to offer—a Panasonic Toughbook computer. As part of his team’s national clean water awareness campaign—the Beachwalk Project—Weinman approached Panasonic for a dependable mobile solution. Panasonic then donated two Toughbook 19 convertible tablet PCs to Weinman and his team.

The Beachwalk Project is composed of an experienced team that travels by foot and kayak for hundreds of miles along the major US coastlines and waterways. The team partners with local and national organizations, such as Waterkeeper Alliance and WaterAid, to raise awareness for the protection of “Everyone’s right to clean water.”

In its past, the team experienced a number of major pitfalls with technology, including one occasion following their first coastal paddle when they lost three video cameras and compromised two laptops. Weinman highlighted the benefit of now having durable mobile technology, “For us to have the Panasonic computers, they are just super solid computers,” he said.

Founded in 2007 by Weinman, his wife Evelyn and friend Stein Kretsinger, the Beachwalk Project has spent the past five years on two major projects focused on empowering youth, adults and whole communities to enjoy, explore and protect their regional watersheds. During their ventures, the team spoke with over eight thousand beachgoers, presented to over four thousand school children and was featured in many local and national papers and TV/Radio stations. The Toughbook computers’ embedded wireless capability helps the team coordinate regional adventures, communicate with media, collaborate with organizations and update their website while traveling.

The environmental challenges the team has faced include paddling 1,600 miles off the US Atlantic Coast, circling the US territory of Guam and paddling the rugged Oregon Coast which exposed their equipment to the harsh elements of land and sea.  This means extreme heat, direct sunlight, sand, salt and moisture. The computers have proven their reliability by outliving Weinman’s other laptops, and surviving numerous bouts of damage such as being rattled about in kayaks, and suffering falls from heights as high as three feet onto concrete pavement.  Even coffee spills, insects and rough handling from kids during presentations have failed to impact their rugged dependability.

Having the rugged Toughbook computers allows Weinman and his team to save money that might have been spent replacing or repairing their technology. This enables the team to focus more of its time on keeping the project running smoothly. Since securing the computers in 2008, Weinman has yet to consult Panasonic for technological support. He added, “They’ve been solid the whole way through.”

The team has more adventures in store, and more use to gain from the Toughbook computers. “We just started this new project called Oregon Summit to Sea and I’m back to using the Panasonic [Toughbook] for that,” Weinman stated. “We’ve had those things since 2008 so you know they’re good.”

If you are interested in finding out more about the Beachwalk Project or how you can get involved in raising awareness for “Everyone’s right to clean water,” please visit BeachWalk Project’s blog or find them on Facebook.

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