Q: Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?
I’ve been a member for a few years but decided to become much more active in 2015. I like to think that I value the environment and wanted to put those values into action.
Q: What are some local issues that are affecting your ocean?
In Palm Beach County, we deal with coastal development, dredging, climate change, habitat loss (sea grass, mangroves, reefs, etc.), pollution (plastics, chemicals, bacteria, etc.), and the occasional access issue. And we’ve recently started seeing the negative effects of toxic algae blooms that heavily affect other areas of Florida. Florida, in general, deals with the effects of poor water management (especially the management of Lake Okeechobee and related discharges) and the threat of oil exploration/drilling off our coast.
Q: What Surfrider projects have you worked on?
I’ve done a couple beach clean-ups, but I’ve mainly been working on our Blue Water Task Force program, developing partnerships with other organizations for lab space, scheduling our dedicated volunteers for collecting/processing samples, and of course, collecting and processing samples myself. I’ve also put a little time into an Ocean Friendly Restaurants program that we’re working to get up and running.
Q: What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience (i.e., campaign, program, victory)?
Since I’ve put most of my effort into our Blue Water Task Force, I’d say that I’m most proud of the growth of that program from a loose plan to do something to a relatively consistent and sustainable program with room for growth. That and learning more about the coastal environment, stewardship, and activism through experience and through interaction with other Surfrider activists at the local, regional, and national level.
Q: What is the most important thing you tell others about Surfrider?
It’s hard to say what the most important thing is as the most important thing may be different for each person. But Surfrider’s variety of programs and campaigns are, I think, its strength since volunteers can connect with the coastal issues they are most passionate about, and that variety of effort is what’s needed to address the complex issues affecting coastal preservation.
Q: Why are you a Surfrider coastal defender?
I'm a Surfrider coastal defender because my experiences on, in, and near the water inspire me to do my part to preserve it.