As I breathed in the salty air, hundreds of drums beat together in the black night to create a delicious rhythm while the ocean breeze cooled the masses of people, all dressed in white, dancing, singing, laughing, or throwing flowers and candles into the waves. Though I was a young girl, I vividly remember these sounds, sights, and smells from a New Year’s Eve long ago with my parents and grandparents standing together on Ipanema beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil waiting for midnight. Impressed strongly upon me that night is a belief that has remained with me to this day by the words that my Brazilian grandparents spoke into my ear: the sea should be honored and respected. I realized that all of the thousands of people assembled together on the beach that night magically making the beach glow white were there to honor the sea, too and usher in goodness in the presence of its purity.
I love the sea for its beauty, for the many great gifts it gives all of us, for the amazing creatures and plants that live in its depths, for the incredible miracles that continue to be discovered in its deep black waters once thought barren of life, and because it plays a very large role in my own spirituality – as indeed it does for many cultures of the world.
With a lifelong deep love for all animals, the environment, and writing, I earned my B.Sc. degree from Texas A&M University in Wildlife & Fisheries Sciences and a Minor in English. I’ve since had the good fortune to work for groups such as Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, the National Parks Conservation Association, and An Taisce, The National Trust for Ireland. While I lived in Dublin, I had the great fortune of being able to walk every day to the Irish Sea from my home and visited holy wells dotted throughout the country – places revered for thousands of years as sacred freshwater connections to the source of Earth and the elements.
So inspired by the story of the founding of Surfrider by a group of people who cared and the impressive grassroots network of supporters that Surfrider has engaged since who achieve meaningful impacts around the globe, I am truly honored to join the Surfrider Foundation and pour my energy into obtaining funding for our projects to protect the oceans, waves, and beaches that we all love.