2014 Year in Review

November, 2014

2014 has indeed been a big year for the NEC—and looking at where we were one year ago compared to where we are today, it is pretty inspiring. Thanks to ever-increasing levels of engagement from individuals, organizations, and businesses, and with support from the California Coastal Commission, Humboldt Area Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, and numerous partners, we have been able to leverage limited financial resources to more effectively protect and celebrate our treasured North Coast.  We are forever grateful. Thank you!

Throughout the year, our growing team has provided environmental education to hundreds of youth in our region’s schools; engaged over 1,000 community members in cleaning up our waterways and coast; rallied for intact ecosystems, healthy communities, and climate action in our neighborhoods, media and halls of government; and we’ve celebrated all species and the biosphere upon which we depend through art, music and direct action. 

The year has shown the immense power of working together—and together we can create the change we need to see us through the many challenges we are facing.



Engaging Youth Through Place-based Environmental Education 

In just over six months, the NEC’s educational programs have blossomed thanks to the Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail grants program and support from individuals like you—not to mention the amazing work of our MC (Master of Curriculum) Justin Zakoren. Since April, Justin has delivered the NEC’s Clean Beaches, Healthy Communities curriculum to nearly 400 students in seven summer camps and twelve classrooms throughout Humboldt County. In looking at thank you cards from the kids he teaches and the pictures from the sessions of their awed expressions, it is clear that the work is promoting transformative change.  

A huge thanks is in order as well to Tibora Girczyc-Blum and SCRAP Humboldt for the passion and endless hours in creating our first (Re)debris Coho salmon sculpture made of marine debris gathered at local beaches. The aluminum and plastic-scaled fish has been swimming around schools of the human variety to help illustrate the connection between the choices we make and the impact on the world around us. 

In the years ahead, we will continue to provide quality environmental education throughout the region. Your contributions help keep North Coast youth informed and engaged in caring
for our bioregion and our planet.


Coastal Programs and MPA Outreach

This year brought an expansion of the NEC’s media reach. We began co-hosting KHUM 104.7 FM’s “Coastal Currents,” airing each Wednesday at noon, and posting to Lost Coast Outpost with “Your Week in Ocean.” Additionally, the NEC’s marine protected area outreach and education reached new heights (see page 6). A whale-themed thank you to our Coastal Programs Director Jennifer Savage for your media savvy and for every day diving into issues and events important to North Coast beaches, rivers, bay and ocean.  


Taking Action for Clean Beaches and Trash-free Seas

This year we celebrated the 35th year of the NEC’s Adopt-a-Beach and Coastal Cleanup program, and the 30th anniversary of our collaboration with the California Coastal Commission for Coastal Cleanup Day.  Over 900 volunteers scoured beaches, sloughs and rivers and removed more than 6 tons of trash. This huge effort honestly would not be possible without the generosity of our members, sponsors, and committed volunteers. We thank you!  We also send a huge thanks to Brandon Drucker and Jennifer Savage for stepping up big-time and doing such a splendid job coordinating such a kick-butt day of action!


Marching with All Species for Free Rivers and Climate Action

Thanks to those who took part in the All Species Parade, marched in solidarity with the People’s Climate March, and co-created the UnDam the Klamath street theater performance! A big shout out to James Hildebrandt for his artistic and theatrical expertise and enthusiasm, to Gregg Moore and Bandemonium for help with the storyline and the great tunes which set the stage, to Tibora and SCRAP Humboldt for their great space, resources, and creative energy, to Madison Peters and all who did such beautiful artwork, to Jack Nounnan for spreading the love of renewable energy, and of course to all the folks who stepped up the day of the parade to take part in grand street theater with a powerful message.



Safeguarding Wild Places and Working Lands

Large-scale marijuana operations and other intensive land use activities are a continuing threat both on public and private lands throughout our region.  With your support, the NEC will continue to work with organizations, agencies, and individuals to prevent threats to forests, waterways and wildlife by leading trespass grow cleanup and prevention efforts, taking a stand for responsible land use, and seeking other strategies to bring life back into balance after decades of neglect.  

Given that legalization may be proposed in 2016, the year ahead promises to be critical to reign in an industry before it’s too late. We need your help to stand up to mega-grows and other moneyed interests. 


Protecting Watersheds, Promoting Sustainable Communities and Safeguarding Scenic Views

Despite the efforts of a property-rights-dominated County Planning Commission, the NEC continues to fight for sustainable development and protection of farms, forests, and watersheds through Humboldt County’s General Plan Update and other initiatives. We also know how to roll up our sleeves to take the necessary action to protect scenic views—both through policy and in getting the appropriate permits to remove fallen billboards. Despite the ups and downs of local politics, one thing is certain: we need your help to keep the pressure on local decision makers so that environmental protection and sustainable community design remains at the forefront of this region’s
land-use decisions. 


Supporting Humboldt Baykeeper

One of the NEC’s central functions is to support our region’s hard-working organizations.   No doubt that Humboldt Baykeeper ranks at the top and we are proud to act as their fiscal sponsor so they can continue to safeguard Humboldt Bay through education, citizen science and enforcement of laws to fight pollution. Jen Kalt, who became director of Humboldt Baykeeper in January, continues her role as one of the most respected advocates on our team. Thanks to her devotion, Baykeeper continues to be the go-to organization for all things Humboldt Bay. In April we welcomed the splendid Jasmin Segura as Bay Explorations Coordinator – although the bay tour season is wrapped up for the year, they will be offering some great tours come spring. 


Bon Voyage to Brandon!

Well, with all the great and amazing successes, we also have big news that we have pretty mixed feelings about. After several years of exemplary service in so many different capacities, we are losing one of our own to the wide world beyond (well, to the SF Bay Area at least). Brandon Drucker joined the NEC at the height of Coastal Cleanup craziness in September, 2012. He has proven himself to be a critical part of the team, and he has provided a much welcome and cheerful balance to the oft-times heavy atmosphere that comes with being around even a few jaded enviros. Brandon, until you make your way back to these haunts, we will miss you! We wish you luck on the grand journey that is ahead!


NEC Crew Kudos

Huge props to those behind the scenes of the NEC: to our EcoNews crew—Morgan Corviday, Sid Dominitz, Terry Torgerson, Midge Brown, and Karen Schatz; to our ever-reliable EcoNews Report engineer Fred McLaughlin; to our fairly new office crew—Cherry Sripan, Madison Peters, Sydney Stewart and our Eye on Washington intern Meredith Garrett; and to our dynamic administrative duo, Anita Gilbride-Read and Chris Beresford. 

Thanks again to the NEC board who all help so much to guide this ship of changemakers: Larry Glass, Bob Morris, Chris Beresford, Jen Kalt, CJ Ralph, Richard Kreis, Scott Greacen, Dan Sealy, and our newest members Gary Falxa and Keytra Meyer!


The Year Ahead

We are proud to work with so many committed individuals, businesses, and organizations towards a more resilient future for all of our planet’s communities. We need your help to continue to take action on environmental issues that matter most on the North Coast!



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