Local community members concerned about the status of coastal setting founded Keepers of the Coast, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, in 2007. Our local beaches are home to sea turtles, the Anastasia Island Beach Mouse, countless shore birds including the Least Tern, gopher tortoises and simultaneously provide a number of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors as well. From the countless recreational activities of our beaches and coastal systems to the many festivals and small events that highlight the quality of life enjoyed by people who spend time in North Florida we are dedicated to enhancing our choices for future generations.
Keepers of the Coast began as a small group of residents concerned about local conservation issues, specifically those affecting the beaches and oceans so important to the founding members. It was decided that the top funding priorities would be to focus on coastal education and stewardship projects. To that end, Keepers of the Coast set out to organize the first annual Sea Turtle Education Festival during the month of April, just prior to the sea turtle nesting season, which runs May-October. The positive community response to the Sea Turtle Festival further instilled in founding members’ minds how educating the public is one part of conservation work, but actually conducting stewardship is another piece of the puzzle that’s just as important. Keepers of the Coast then organized beach cleanups prior to and during the sea turtle nesting season to further engage the community in playing an active part in caring for their local beaches, not only for their own recreational enjoyment but also to the benefit of the coastal wildlife that utilizes this important habitat. Keepers of the Coast has also supported a multitude of small education or conservation projects including, installation of cigarette butt container at beach parks, bringing Title I students to the beach for a day of learning, supporting 4H Marine Ecology program, and working with local community groups.
Keepers of the Coast is always in the process of further developing its long-term plan of action. With so many items on the conservation and sustainability “to do” list it’s definitely a large task! With that said we are embarking on a new initiative to bring sustainability to North Florida. Keepers of the Coast will continue to enhance the daily choices we make about plastics, decreasing our dependency on one time water bottles, and to bring sustainability to area events. We are always identifying an action plan that allows for a paced growth with assessment over time to ensure that donated funds are utilized for worthy and unique local conservation needs. If you feel you can contribute in the future development of Keepers of the Coast, please contact us, we’d love to hear from you.