Why and when did you get involved with the Surfrider Foundation?
Three years ago, Holly Parker came to a Surfrider meeting at Ground Floor Farm in my hometown. She was holding elections for the Treasure Coast Executive Committee.
I felt the sense of commitment to leave a better world for my children, and Surfrider made the most sense to me. I had a deep love for surf and the ocean, and so did they. I love gardening and really want to see the global shift to sustainable living. My passion since I was a kid was eco-friendly living and the Surfrider Foundation was speaking my love language.
What are some local issues that are affecting your ocean, waves and beaches?
We are facing a crisis in Florida due to Lake Okeechobee water releases. The releases are creating the perfect storm of toxic algal blooms, which scientists have now proven cause liver failure and brain damage. These releases bleed into our lagoon, estuaries, and ocean. It's a public health crisis.
The threat of offshore drilling off Florida coasts and plastic in our fish are also affecting us on both a local and national level.
What Surfrider projects have you worked on?
I have personally taken on the fight against plastics. I am working with local legislators to ban straws, polystyrene, and hopefully single-use plastics altogether and have launched the Ocean Friendly Restaurant program in our communities. I have been working to bring awareness to our community about cigarette butt litter on the beach.
Our chapter launched the Butt Board with Lucid Rides which has really pumped locals up about eliminating cigarette butts from our beaches and I've been able to partner with the paddleboarding community to give them stronger roles in our local chapter.
After a long fight over the last three years to find our groove, we now have a full executive committee and we’ve been finding huge success with fighting against offshore drilling. The Treasure Coast now has some skin in the game.
What has been the highlight of your Surfrider experience?
The highlight hands down was having my daughters with me in Tallahassee at the state Capitol campaigning during Oceans Week. They learned so much, and we got invited to the Senate Floor! Very exciting stuff.
What is the most important thing you tell others about Surfrider?
I feel like being a good steward of what God has entrusted to us is more critical than anything else. Surfrider members get it beyond most people. There's something so pure about being connected with the waves and the animals that live in them. It’s spiritual. You love it and want to protect that experience for others. Ocean advocacy just feels natural and easy for me. I love that the Surfrider Foundation has moved beyond just having a national voice, its international. The organization is strong and has the resources it takes to win.
Why are you a Surfrider coastal defender?
I am concerned the system is rigged, but regardless I can't stand by and do nothing. My heart aches for the animals devastated by our wake.
I love the people that gravitate to this organization. Some of the most amazing people I have ever met.