Assateague Coastal Trust has a long history of environmental advocacy and action in the Delmarva coastal region, beginning with its landmark efforts in the early 1970s to preserve the unspoiled character of Assateague Island, which is now protected as a National Seashore.
PROGRAMS & PROJECTS.
The social and environmental challenges which society faces in the 21st century necessitate the need for our communities to come together and address these issues through many lenses. Understanding diversity, knowing the land and its sensitive environments, and building resilience to challenges, this is the essence of community. Throughout the year, ACT organizes many community events in an effort to bring the community together. For 10 years, ACT has hosted the nationally acclaimed Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Ocean City. Day paddles, kayak tours, a New Year’s Day beach walk on Assateague Island, and public outreach events are just a few ways we are trying to bring the community together. Many of these events uphold our dependence on the fragile coastal ecosystem and natural resources that characterize Delmarva.
The waters cannot speak when threatened or protest when polluted. Citizens can speak out, but often lack the knowledge to navigate the system or organize their voices into a compelling chorus. That’s where ACT comes in.
ACT’s Coastkeeper employs the full spectrum of advocacy activities on issues relevant to our mission. We are most effective as the conductor for grassroots campaigns where our role is to help focus and amplify the voices of the people directly affected by an issue or environmental threat.
The issues may vary, the forums may shift, and the tactics may change, but the underlying goals of ACT’s advocacy efforts stay the same: to protect our waters and the people, plants and animals that depend on them, and to hold polluters and policymakers accountable for their actions…or inaction.
Our JEDI Statement
Justice | Equity | Diversity | Inclusion
ACT envisions a future where our coastal waters and natural areas are clean, valued and protected by the people who live, work and play in the coastal watershed. Working arm in arm with diverse community partners, we protect the defend the health of Delmarva's coastal waters through advocacy, education, science and the enforcement of just and equitable clean water laws.
We believe every community in or watershed has both a right to clean water and an equitable seat at the table to protect that right.
At ACT, preserving and conserving our lands, waterways, and natural resources is both an ethic we espouse and a practice we promote. We encourage and facilitate efforts and advocate for policies that support people and organizations that are working to achieve a better tomorrow. We do not engage directly in large-scale restoration or resiliency projects, but we do what we can to fill critical gaps, promote the work of others, and provide demonstration-scale models for others to replicate.
Education is the key for all that we do at Assateague Coastal Trust. It is only by sharing our understanding of the challenges we face in our coastal region that we will be able to engage others to help protect it.
In 2003, ACT enhanced the education component of our mission with the creation of our Coast Kids program to provide environmental education and interactive nature experiences for area youth and their families. Offering monthly membership events and excursions around the region, a “Little Scientists” series for schools and community-based organizations, and most recently a “Nature Explorers” summer camp, Coast Kids allows ACT to educate and engage our next generation of environmental stewards.
Our Coast Kids program is all about experiential education – exposing our next generation of environmental stewards to the majesty, and fragility, of our coastal ecosystems, and teaching them the skills and behaviors through which they can best enjoy and protect the natural world that surrounds and sustains us.
Environmental Justice means equal protection from environmental and public health hazards for all people regardless of race, income, culture and social status.
Everyone who lives in, or visits, our coastal watershed should have the same access to clean water and feel included in the work Assateague Coastal Trust does to protect our communities from pollution. We strive to make certain everyone feels they have an equitable seat at the table and to fairly represent the diverse communities within our watershed by making our Assateague COASTKEEPER, Coast Kids, and Trash Free Assateague programs inclusive.
Assateague Coastal Trust, as an organization, recognizes the diverse demographics of our watershed and is committed towards an inclusive environment in the workplace, and on our Board of Directors.
ACT is committed to bringing Environmental Justice change to Maryland Department of Environment and other state agencies through improved policies and regulations that will advance Environmental Justice in Maryland.
On August 18, 2020 ACT, joined by community leaders, sent this letter to Governor Hogan outlining our concerns that Maryland was falling behind other states in addressing environmental injustices to communities that are predominately people of color.
On March 19, 2021 ACT, and partners, sent this letter to MDE Secretary Ben Grumbles recognizing MDE's efforts to establish EJ guidelines within MDE's offices, but we outlined needed critical regulatory and policy changes still needed at the state level.