Courtenay activist fundraising for another trip to Japan

Courtenay activist Tarah Millen is about to spend months following her passion to save dolphins and whales from slaughter in Japan and Antarctica.

Courtenay activist Tarah Millen is about to spend months following her passion to save dolphins and whales from slaughter in Japan and Antarctica.Millen, a Cove Guardian and volunteer with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is leaving the Comox Valley on Oct. 12 to spend time with family in Ontario before leaving Canada, and she’s making one final push to try to raise more money.Millen has been raising money for her latest activism work, and she has been doing bottle drives every day for the past two months.”I’ve managed to do it largely on my own, with the help of my partner (Ryan Hughes),” she said. “He’s been invaluable. I definitely want to praise him for all the help he’s provided, no questions asked.”Millen can still do bottle drives up until Oct. 11, although her bike trailer broke this week so she can pick up fewer bottles.People can still donate their bottles and cans to Account 119-Cove Guardian at the Return-It Depot on Puntledge Road in Courtenay, and Millen says she would be happy to meet people at the bottle depot to sort their returnables if they want her to.Millen is planning to go to Taiji, Japan, Nov. 1 as a Cove Guardian to document and expose the annual dolphin drive hunt. There will only be two Cove Guardians there, and Millen is hoping to raise more money so she can extend her time in Japan.Millen has been criticized for going after the Japanese people, and she wants to emphasize that she is just as opposed to the seal slaughter in Canada, logging and other more local issues.”I love the Japanese people, and they showed quite a bit of kindness when we were there during the tsunami,” she said.As of Wednesday, Millen needs about $800 before she goes to Taiji and even more to extend her trip.She is hoping to make up the difference by collecting recyclables and doing anything else she can do to make some money.Millen is selling one of her paintings of two beluga whales for $200, and she has set up donation boxes at Blue Toque Sports Swap in Courtenay and Zen Zero in Courtenay.People can also donate money directly through PayPal on Millen’s blog at www.dolphinguardian.blogspot.com.By fundraising full-time, Millen has been able to get her passport, get an Australian visa, cover her plane tickets to Japan and Australia and cover three nights’ stay in Taiji. Millen thanks Nancy Hofer and the whole team behind Car Free Sunday, who let her set up a booth for free. In those four hours, she raised $350.While she is gone, Millen will be updating her blog at www.dolphinguardian.blogspot.com, as well as the website www.what2cando.com.To help Millen with her fundraising efforts, find out about her painting or arrange any bottle pickups or sorting, contact her at tarah.millen@hotmail.com.writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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