What a whirlwind year 2020 was! Through the ups, downs and everything in between, we made it our mission to continue the work beyond our walls. We had to pivot from our original plans, as many did. We went virtual, we connected through computers and yes, we even exceeded goals and set records in our conservation world. Through it all, we are proud of what we achieved and because you were critical to the successes, we want to celebrate those wins with you!
In the early months, we:
- Planned in-person workshops throughout South Carolina to help communities on their collective journey to fight plastic pollution
- Partnered on the Francis Marion National Forest Annual Cleanup, where we set a record by collecting the most debris in a single sweep (28,522 debris logged in the Litter-Free Digital Journal!)
Then COVID-19 hit, limiting our in-person and group efforts. So, we got creative by:
- Hosting a Solo Sweep Challenge in April, encouraging folks to participate in litter sweeps in their own neighborhoods and backyards with those in their social distancing “bubbles.” It became a family affair!
- Planning virtual workshops to teach community members how to facilitate their own solo sweep efforts (shout out to Richland County for pivoting from in-person to virtual workshops with us so seamlessly!)
- Serving as a community convener for virtual roundtable discussions around the topics of COVID-19, food security, sustainable fisheries and more
Along the way, we celebrated many milestones and wins, including:
- Releasing our 300th sea turtle, a Kemp’s ridley named Jasper
- Receiving generous funding to form Pam and D. Michael Wilson Plastic-Free Waters, a program to help mitigate plastic pollution impacts through outreach, community engagement and conservation fieldwork across South Carolina
- Partnering on the start of an ongoing saltmarsh restoration project in the West Ashley area of Charleston
- Officially reaching one million debris (and counting!) collected and logged in the Litter-Free Digital Journal since its inception (with 500,000 just in 2020 alone!)
- Holding a virtual March to a Million celebration with guest speakers, Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins of The 5 Gyres Institute
- Expanding our Conservation Assistant volunteer workforce to have assistants throughout the state of South Carolina
Thanks for being part of our journey to protect water, wildlife and wild places.
2021, here we come!