By: Kylie Cooper & Jacqueline Gonzalez Photo by: Rachel Benavides
- Surfrider Foundation – The Surfrider Foundation works with local governments and other environmental-focused associations to resolve issues related to beach access and maintaining a clean and safe beach experience for all. The organization also commits resources to support efforts such as storm drain stenciling and environmental education regarding the impact of pollution on our oceans and beaches. Its various programs, such as the Ocean Friendly Restaurants Program, aim to increase awareness, drive changes in behaviors, and ultimately create scalable impacts to reduce plastic and water footprints.
- Texas Sealife Center – Dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of coastal and aquatic wildlife, the Texas Sealife Center was formed out of the need for additional wildlife support in the area and the growing number of animals admitted to wildlife centers. Beyond the rehab work in its fully functional wildlife hospital, the center is home to native plants and the animals who rely on them for survival. In just six years, plants such as lantana have returned to the area, along with birds such as painted buntings, thanks to the center’s hard work.
- Coastal Bend Audubon Society – Envisioning a culture of conservation in which the shared appreciation and stewardship of nature enriches our community and lives, Coastal Bend Audubon Society is working to help our environment. With a focus on birds and other wildlife, CBA advocates for the restoration of ecosystems. Its North Bay Sanctuary, ranging 75 acres, is currently being restored and features prominent habitat styles, two wetlands, and abundant wildlife. Youth education, nature field trips, and seminar presentations also aid in its overall mission of appreciation, conservation, and restoration.
PROTECTION & CONSERVATION
- Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program – Dedicated to researching, restoring, and protecting the bays and estuaries of the Coastal Bend, this non-profit encompasses 75 miles of estuarine environment along the coastline. Outside its mission to carry out the Coastal Bend Bays Plan, CBBEP offers environmental education programs such as Delta Discovery, designed for children to discover nature, Coastal Bird Program, which manages nesting areas along the coast, and the Land and Conservation Stewardship Program, which owns over 13,000 acres of land for conservation and protection.
- Texas State Aquarium Wildlife Rescue Center – Each year, thousands of protected, threatened, or endangered species along the Texas coast become ill or injured. The Aquarium’s Wildlife Rescue Center and animal care program rescues, rehabilitates, and returns stranded marine mammals, sea turtles, raptors, and shorebirds after they are injured in the wild. If an animal is not releasable, the team works to find proper long-term solutions. In the past three years, the Center has rescued, rehabilitated, and released more than 2,500 sea turtles.
- Coastal Bend Companion Bird Club and Rescue Mission – Formed by a group of community members in the early ’80s, the Coastal Bend Companion Bird Club and Rescue Mission encourages interest in and advocates for companion birds through education and communication with pet owners, breeders, and the public. CBCBRM strives to promote the welfare of all birds by providing monetary donations for the rescue and rehabilitation of wild birds and placing displaced, lost, abandoned, or abused companion birds in foster care until permanent adoptive homes can be found.
- Beach Keepers – When the Allen family began taking regular trips to the North Fish Pass Jetty to pick up trash, they realized more help was needed to keep our area beaches clean. Their grassroots efforts led to the creation of Beach Keepers, which now consists of over 1,500 volunteers who organize clean-ups and have removed thousands of pounds of trash from area parks and beaches—thanks to the Beach Keepers’ commitment and passion.
How to Get Involved:
- Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries hosts regular clean-ups throughout the area. Volunteers are always needed, and an updated schedule of when and where they happen can be found on its Facebook page.
- Coastal Bend Audubon Society is seeking volunteers to help with the North Bay Sanctuary restoration project. These workdays and special habitat improvement projects do not require experience. Register to volunteer on its website.
- Volunteers are always needed for the Surfrider Foundation’s beach clean-ups. The organization participates in a number of “Texas Adopt a Beach” clean-ups throughout the year. Becoming a member of the foundation also aids in its efforts.
- Texas Sealife Center has a wish list of needed items on its website, which can be dropped off at the center. This nonprofit is completely volunteer-based, with no paid employees, meaning volunteer opportunities are endless and come in many forms.
- In an effort to achieve environmental enrichment, Texas State Aquarium and the Wildlife Rescue Center aim to provide a stimulating life to its animals. You can find its enrichment wish list online and drop items off at the aquarium.
- Beach Keepers is always accepting new volunteers to come out and participate in clean-ups. You can find its next scheduled event on the website, and locals are also encouraged to host their own clean-ups.
To view the other nonprofits published in our December issue, check out the full feature!