IICF Week of Giving: Cleaning Our Coasts
How The American Littoral Society and IICF are working to preserve our coasts.
The American Littoral Society was founded in 1961 with an important mission – to promote the study and conservation of marine life and habitat, protect the coast from harm, and empower others to do the same. Back then, our organization was made up of a small group of divers volunteering their services to the recently established research laboratory of the US Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife at Sandy Hook, in Highlands, NJ. Now, we promote the value of citizen scientists, working with our community to advocate for best environmental practices and care for the coast through advocacy, education, conservation.
More specifically, IICF’s financial support has helped us add 15 green-jobs for local youth, restore 2.25 acres of salt marsh habitat for marine life and birds, remove 10,000 pounds of trash and pollutants from New York’s shorelines and engage 800 volunteers.
In 2019 alone, we planted more than 112,450 native plants, treated 1,085,523 gallons of stormwater with green stormwater infrastructure, employed 21 local youth who come from demographics who are historically underrepresented in the conservation industry in green jobs, removed 63,000 pounds of trash and pollutants, connected over 29,000 people to the coast through NY state beach clean ups, volunteerism, and educational programs, and tagged 13,426 fish to track migration and growth.
Our Northeast Chapter, founded in 1980 and headquartered in Queens, is responsible for the protection, preservation and restoration of New York’s urban wilderness and the general health of the region’s coastal zone. Our major programs are the Beach Cleanup and the Jamaica Bay Guardian, which includes salt marsh restoration, educational programs, and youth programming.
Our beach cleanups have served as a prime activity for learning about the marine environment, its value to people and wildlife, threats to its productivity, and the actions people can take to improve it. Cleaning the coast and waterways not only helps us protect our wildlife by eliminating marine debris, but also allows people to continue to enjoy the coast as a vacation destination.
A beach cleanup provides direct and measurable benefits to wildlife and habitat. Removing debris that is impeding natural growth of vegetation supports the local wildlife, and mitigates hazards this debris poses to the wildlife through accidental ingestion or entanglement.
Our Jamaica Bay Guardian program involves caring for the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, which is managed by the National Park Service and is New York City's largest open space. Jamaica Bay is a significant component of New York’s ecosystem, holding over 12,600 acres of water, in addition to saltmarshes, water ponds, open bay and islands. It also serves as one of the largest migratory bird stop-over habitats in the United States.
These programs have been significantly aided by the efforts of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF). Over the years, IICF has provided us with incredible support through volunteering efforts and grant funding. For example, IICF volunteers in New York joined our Northeast Chapter and local partners on National Public Lands Day at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for a shoreline cleanup. Volunteers worked side by side with local community members, other corporate volunteers, and local environmental advocates to remove marine debris from the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
More specifically, IICF’s financial support has helped us add 15 green-jobs for local youth, restore 2.25 acres of salt marsh habitat for marine life and birds, remove 10,000 pounds of trash and pollutants from New York’s shorelines and engage 800 volunteers. These contributions have been incredibly valuable to our organization and our community.
We are honored to work with IICF and appreciate all the support they have offered us. This Week of Giving, we hope you’ll all join us as we work to keep our coasts safe and clean.