On Saturday, July 16, almost 175 volunteers converged on Ryckman Park in Melbourne Beach to help plant a native buffer on the shoreline of the Indian River Lagoon. SeaDek joined the Sebastian Inlet chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, as well as The Melbourne Beach Garden Club, Maple Street Natives, the Florida Native Plant Society, the Brevard Environmentally Endangered Lands Program, the Brevard Lagoon Coalition, and the Town of Melbourne Beach to establish a fertilizer-free buffer and restore habitat by installing beds of Florida-native plants along the shoreline.
The health of the lagoon has a tangible effect on the community, both in terms of business and personal use, and it was clear by the attendance and enthusiasm of volunteers that there is a healthy contingent of people who are ready to get involved and take action.
“There are lots of people wanting to help, but the fact is that there are not always avenues available for people to get involved, even if they want to,” said Jason Gardner, co-owner and VP of marketing at SeaDek. “People left this event feeling as if they personally made a difference, and while this was just one stretch of shoreline, we are hopefully building momentum for these everyday activists so that we can continue with this project and create more like it.”
Besides the help of sponsors and volunteers, special thanks goes out to Nick of the Marine Resources Council for his support and dedication, Mayor Jim Simmons for all his hard work, and organizer Nicole Perna of the Barrier Island Center in South Melbourne Beach, who was instrumental in the success of the event.
With eyes on the future, and after the outpouring of support from the community, organizers are looking to bring the event to new locations in the area. Stay tuned to the Surfrider Foundation’s site, as well as the SeaDek Blog for more opportunities to get involved.