These individuals are our Shore Heroes. They are people, just like us, that have made a commitment to creating and maintaining a healthy seashore. Some of them have chosen careers that help them conserve the animals or habitat of the seashore; others volunteer their time and energy for projects that preserve this ecosystem.
Chuck and Ellen Erbe volunteer to help stranded marine animals.
They are often first on the scene when a stranded marine animal washes up on the seashore and have been trained to assess the animal’s health and to work with local groups and organizations in the stranding networks to respond. Sometimes this means collecting the animal and transporting it hundreds of miles to the nearest facility with the capacity to care for it. Most stranding organizations, including the National Aquarium, rely on volunteers to be these first responders so that they can maximize their ability to help sick or injured animals.
They also help teach others about stranded animals and ocean health by volunteering at coastal outreach events. As part of the East Coast’s stranding team, their generosity in giving their time and talent has been essential to the success of these programs.
Tashonna Grant joined the Coastal Stewards program when she was in high school.
This program engages young participants to help promote environmental stewardship, community outreach and an appreciation of local history, culture and environment. Under the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Assateague State Park and Assateague National Park, Coastal Stewards help with research and studies done on Brown Pelicans, Seabeach Amaranth, and other local wildlife.
They also lead local cleanup events on our seashores and attend local and statewide events to inform visitors and residents about local wildlife around the Delmarva Peninsula including blue crabs, whelks and horseshoe crabs.
Tashonna also participates in several cleanup events along our coastline. She says, "One big challenge facing our oceans is trash. Cleaning up the coast helps protect sea turtles, birds, marine mammals and their habitat. The items we collect show us what's trashing our coastal treasures—from plastics to cigarettes to balloons."
Interested in protecting and restoring our amazing seashores? Become a Shore Hero!