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.
Nick Clemons is a Park Ranger at Assateague Island National Seashore.
This seashore is part of the National Park system and has been protected in order to help preserve the sandy beaches, salt marshes, maritime forests and coastal bays that make up the 48,000 acre park. Nick leads tours and educates visitors about protected places, to help preserve a healthy ecosystem where plants and animals can thrive.
By sharing his passion and knowledge, Nick inspires thousands of visitors to care for and protect this special place. On any given day he may be telling stories about the horseshoe crab, an ancient-looking animal native to the mid-Atlantic, or using a beach seine with students to explain how scientists check to see who is living in the water to inspire people to care for animals and the seashore.
Thanks to the protection of National Seashores and places like them, people can enjoy the beauty of healthy beaches for generations to come.
Project Green Teens is a dedicated group of teenage volunteers focused on improving the environment in and around their neighborhoods, parks, beaches and schools in Virginia Beach, VA.
Volunteers gather from 14 different area schools to lead community-based events. These could include beach cleanups, building oyster reefs, and educating their peers and the public on the importance of sustainable practices like re-using and recycling.
You may see their members working with their schools to use compostable or re-usable cutlery and dishware or participating in their annual Dumpster Dive event to raise awareness about recycling. Project Green Teens works to reduce the amount of plastic entering the ocean, keeping that environment cleaner and healthier for all to live and enjoy.
Mandy Dey is a biologist with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
She has spent more than 30 years studying the red knot, a shorebird with an amazing migratory range. Each year, during the more than 9,000 mile journey from southern South America to the Arctic, red knots make an important stop along the shores of the Mid-Atlantic coast to feast on horseshoe crab eggs. It is this feast that provides much needed fuel for their long journey and enough energy to keep them healthy in the arctic before warmer temperatures arrive.
Mandy has worked with a team of scientists from all over the world study this remarkable bird and help them understand their reliance on a healthy Mid-Atlantic shore ecosystem and thriving horseshoe crab population. She also works with citizen scientists, volunteers from the community that help study and protect these animals and the habitat that they rely on. Under her supervision volunteers help weigh, measure and tag red knots to help the international team of scientists monitor the population.
Interested in protecting and restoring our amazing seashores? Become a Shore Hero!