Stefanie Simpson of Restore America’s Estuaries sometimes gets asked why she likes working in “smelly, unpleasant places” like wetlands and bays. Although estuaries may be an acquired taste -- er, smell -- that smell comes from carbon and gluten stored in their waters. Estuaries act as a natural filter that removes these compounds from our water supply, and they also provide a suitable habitat for a diverse range of wildlife.
“We’re a national nonprofit dedicated to the protection and restoration of estuaries and bays,” Simpson said. “We lead an alliance of ten conservation groups across the coasts doing on-the-ground restorations. Educating the public on water quality, nature-based restoration, and climate change is a crucial part of our mission. Wetlands are incredibly efficient at capturing carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the ground. A lot of people don’t realize that.”
The cornerstone of Restore America’s Estuaries outreach and education efforts is a national summit on coastal restoration and management held every two years. The most recent summit was held in Long Beach, California in 2018.
“It’s really great coming together with other activists and those who may not be as experienced with the issues we face but have a strong desire to educate themselves,” Simpson said. “We share lessons learned, celebrate successful efforts, and support each other through ongoing challenges. We always leave coming off a high from being around great communities in person, and we’re really looking forward to the 2020 summit in Fort Lauderdale.”
Restore America’s Estuaries receives funding from a diverse array of sources, including government grants, private partners, and nonprofit foundations.
“We’re constantly looking to see who we can bring in to support the coasts,” Simpson said. “Scott’s Miracle-Gro has placed a huge priority on improving water quality and has been a valued partner with us.”
As it looks toward the future, Restore America’s Estuaries Focus on keeping support for continuing programs and finding new ways for communities to come together in support of wetland habitats across the nation.
“Our National Estuary Program and research reserve do a lot to support the restoration of important sites,” Simpson said. “We’re always focused on continuing to advocate for those programs so they can be maintained. We hear a lot at the summits about how much our volunteers from different parts of the country can achieve when they collaborate. So we’re excited to keep bringing people together and improve communication.”
To learn more about Restore America’s Estuaries, visit the organization’s website. Please consider choosing Restore America’s to receive 20% of your order total when you purchase custom greeting cards from Cards For Causes.