Keepers of the Coast is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2007 by a small group of community members in St. Johns County concerned about the coastal environment. The "Keepers" partnered with the St. Johns County Habitat Conservation and began an Adopt-A-Beach campaign to raise awareness and promote coastal cleanups.
The top funding priorities for the Keepers originally focused on coastal education and stewardship projects. Both education and stewardship are still important to the organization today. This inspired the Keepers to host the first annual Sea Turtle Education Festival held in April, one month before the sea turtle nesting season begins. The success of this event further motivated the members to continue education and conservation and demonstrated the importance of stewardship. This eventually lead to beach cleanups, cigarette butt cleanups, and supporting other local conservation groups.
Now, let's fast forward to the Fall of 2020. After years of the Keepers keeping their beaches clean, educating, and involving the community, the next generation of members has taken the opportunity to continue this legacy. With the same passion for the original mission, in mind, Keepers of the Coast has welcomed a brand new team and overall look.
Meet the next generation of Keepers:
Kaileen earned her degree in Biology at the University of North Florida in 2019, primarily working on research related to how temperature-dependent sex determination in American Alligator egg development could be severely threatened by climate change. She has spent much of her time over the past few years volunteering at the Whitney Lab Sea Turtle Hospital and working for Beach Services in St. John's County.
"I'm a St. Augustine native, born and raised. I can't think of a better way to use my passion for science and conservation to serve the community I grew up in."
Summer is a St. Augustine beach local whose love for the ocean and conservation began at a young age. She attended Flagler College where she earned a degree in Coastal Environmental Science, and will soon be attending Florida Atlantic University to pursue a M.S. in Marine Science and Oceanography. In addition to Keepers of the Coast, she also works for St. John’s County Beach Services which has allowed her to have some incredible experiences with local wildlife. When she’s not working, she enjoys SCUBA diving and practicing yoga.
“I hope that Keepers of the Coast shows people that anyone can play a part, big or small, in protecting and preserving our coastal ecosystems.”