It's the time of year when we like to look back on everything we have accomplished for our ocean, waves, and beaches. In many ways, 2023 was a banner year for our chapter, and we are all proud of what our volunteers have done. Here are some of the highlights!
Campaigns: We engaged in federal, state, and local campaigns in 2023, and really got to practice our lobbying skills!
- Washington, D.C.: We returned to Capitol Hill for Coastal Recreation Hill Day after two virtual years. Six members of our chapter went to Congress to ask for federal support on important environmental bills!
- Albany, N.Y.: We also got involved with New York State lobbying days. Our Chapter Coordinator and Mid-Atlantic Region Policy Manager went to Albany with our partners at Beyond Plastics! Several volunteers supported these bills by sending postcards to the Governor and calling their state senators and assemblymembers.
- Suffolk County, N.Y.: Locally, we joined a coalition to support septic upgrades in Suffolk County. We also presented Skip the Stuff to the East Hampton Village Board of Trustees and have a hearing planned in January.
Programs: Our robust programs continue to be successful with growing support from volunteer leaders!
- Beach Cleanups: We held our first July 5th Cleanup to raise awareness for "the dirtiest beach day of the year." We also held 13 other cleanups, sponsored a relic beach cleanup station at Ditch Plains, and partnered on the North Fork Beach Cleanup which collected over 3,000 pounds of trash!
- Blue Water Task Force: We sampled from 84 locations and collected 1,816 samples in 2023! This is more than any other year! Plus, we held a volunteer appreciation barbeque at the end of summer, and we continue to find new ways to spread awareness for our program.
- Ocean Friendly Gardens: We started an OFG Committee this year, a small group of determined volunteers who met regularly throughout the spring, summer, and fall to maintain our gardens. We also held a chapter meeting with guest speakers to share the importance and benefits of our native plant garden.
- Ocean Friendly Restaurants: We expanded from two active members of the program to seven businesses and will continue to grow.
- Rise Above Plastics: We started a committee of volunteers who met virtually to advance our plastic initiatives. Many of them helped with the OFR recruitment and plastics campaigns!
Community Engagement: We continue to play an active role in our East End communities and look for ways to expand our membership.
- Westhampton Fundraiser: We added a new fundraiser in the "western" side of our boundary, celebrating World Ocean Day at the Westhampton Beach Brewing Co., and recruited more members!
- Surf Socials: We continued our "surf socials" from last summer, where we organized a group surf session once a month from June to September. Surfers became members of our chapter, made new connections, and had breakfast on the beach after each session!
- Summer Interns: We were thrilled to offer two more paid internships this year. Brian and Vicki were both incredible assets to our chapter this summer and we are so proud of what they accomplished!
- Surf Movie Night: Our 21st annual event draws in our community every year, but in 2023, everyone got a membership included with their ticket! Our crowd loved the live music from Souliztik and thanks to the 20 volunteers who helped run the event, we had an amazing night!
- Mid-Atlantic Conference: Almost our entire Executive Committee traveled to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina to
- Holiday Party: We had our second annual member holiday party in Southampton, celebrating with 51 of our members!
We are so thankful to our core volunteers, our members, and our supporters for helping us achieve so much this year. This motivates us to start 2024 strong, and we can't wait to see what we will do next year!