Advocacy: The waters cannot speak when threatened or protest when polluted. Citizens can speak out, but often lack the knowledge to navigate the system or organize their voices into a compelling chorus. That’s where ACT comes in.
The Coastkeeper employs the full spectrum of advocacy activities on issues relevant to our mission. We are most effective as the conductor for grassroots campaigns where our role is to help focus and amplify the voices of the people directly affected by an issue or environmental threat.
The issues may vary, the forums may shift, and the tactics may change, but the underlying goals of ACT’s advocacy efforts stay the same: to protect our waters and the people, plants and animals that depend on them, and to hold polluters and policymakers accountable for their actions…or inaction.
Education: Education is the key for all that we do at Assateague Coastal Trust. It is only by sharing our understanding of the challenges we face in our coastal region that we will be able to engage others to help protect it.
Our Coast Kids program is all about experiential education – exposing our next generation of environmental stewards to the majesty, and fragility, of our coastal ecosystems, and teaching them the skills and behaviors through which they can best enjoy and protect the natural world that surrounds and sustains us.
The Assateague Coastkeeper spends most of the time as an educator, both to raise public awareness about the threats we face in the watershed, and to guide the public and policymakers toward policies and practices necessary to effectively meet these challenges.
Conservation: At ACT, conservation is both an ethic we espouse and a practice we promote. We encourage and facilitate efforts to practice what we preach, and we advocate for policies that support people and organizations to become active environmental stewards. We don’t engage directly in large-scale restoration or resiliency projects, but we do what we can to fill critical gaps, promote the work of others, and provide demonstration-scale models for others to replicate.
The Swim Guide water quality monitoring program is an example of stepping in to a fill a gap. It provides information to the public on the safety of recreating in popular sites around our bays where other entities are unable to provide that service. Our Water Reporter program enables the public to join us as vigilant monitors of our watershed.