The Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation recently held an event in Bridgewater to celebrate the organization’s 25th year.
And like all good birthday parties, the evening featured balloons, candles and even a cake.
Brooke Nodding, Coastal Action’s executive director, said the celebration was appropriate given the growth the organization has seen over the last number of years.
“We’ve made it,” she said from the event’s location at the Best Western Plus Bridgewater Hotel & Convention Centre. “I’m very excited for what the next few years look like.”
Nodding has been a part of Coastal Action since 2001 and has seen the transformation first hand.
“When I first started, we had a full-time staff of about two with an annual budget of $150,000,” she said.
Now, Coastal Action employs 10 people year round and nearly 30 during the summer months.
“It’s rather impressive to see how we’ve grown and expanded,” said Nodding.
Coastal Action’s mandate has also expanded along with its staff; although located along the South Shore, coastal and marine team lead Ariel Smith said the organization punches above its weight.
“Things like our marine debris project are Atlantic Canada wide and have huge implications for our understanding of microplastic accumulation,” she said.
“Those types of themes for our projects are broader than just the South Shore of Nova Scotia.”
Nodding agreed, adding that Coastal Action has become a go-to resource for water quality monitoring and fisheries research.
In fact, Nodding and some of her colleagues have provided consultations with countries in Europe and South America while managing local issues.
But key among Coastal Action’s goals is enticing youth toward conservation.
“We’re trying to encourage and engage youth and get them passionate about environmental issues,” said Nodding.
She pointed to the mentorship of author and award-winning environmentalist Stella Bowles as an example.
Looking ahead, Nodding said she is excited for several projects this summer, including further work on Plastic Free Lunenburg and continued testing for the Lunenburg Harbour.
Work on Lunenburg Harbour is top of mind, said Nodding, given that Coastal Action was originally founded to help prioritize sewage treatment in Lunenburg County.
“We invite all stakeholders to the table to work toward a positive environmental solution,” she said of the process.