Images courtesy of Kent Island Beach Cleanups.
“Many Hands of the Chesapeake” project illuminates the detrimental effects of single-use plastics; Mentorship program advances nonprofit’s mission
Last month, the Trust was honored to help Kent Island Beach Cleanups (KIBCU) celebrate the culmination of their “Many Hands of the Chesapeake” project, an environmental art sculpture commissioned by KIBCU and created by local artist Lucy Kruse from trash and debris collected during KIBCU’s beach cleanup events.
The project was funded by a grant from the Trust’s Community Engagement Mini Grant program, which funds activities that enhance communities and engage residents in activities that improve natural resources.
KIBCU also participated in this grant program’s unique Mentorship Program, established by the Trust in recent years to expand the circle of viable grant applicants. Through this program, KIBCU was paired with the National Aquarium, which served as a mentor to the small nonprofit throughout the project development and grant application process. In turn, the National Aquarium, an established grantee with a track record of successful applications, is eligible to apply for funding through the mini grant program.
“As a grassroots organization, we were very lucky and thankful to have had the opportunity to be mentored by the National Aquarium for the Community Engagement Mini Grant program. The growing issue of marine debris, specifically single-use plastics is a major concern for both KIBCU and the Aquarium,” said KIBCU President and Founder Kristin Weed. “Everything seemed to fall into place perfectly when, unbeknownst to us, the Aquarium joined the Aquarium Conservation Partnership where they started a campaign titled ‘In Our Hands’ where participating aquariums are beginning to shift away from single-use plastics at their facilities. In the meantime, we named our grant project ‘Many Hands of the Chesapeake’ focusing on educating our community on the detriment of single-use plastics. This joint partnership allows us to tackle this problem on both a small and large scale, all with a common goal to reduce pollution in our waterways. We believe this mentorship program allowed us to gain a better understanding of the grant application process, along with opening doors for additional partnerships with other like-minded organizations in our area.”
Kent Island Beach Cleanups was established in 2012 and now organizes a season’s worth of beach cleanups each year throughout Kent Island from March through November. The amount of trash required for the “Many Hands” sculpture was collected during a single cleanup in the spring of 2018. The sculpture is currently on display at the Queen Anne’s County Board of Education and will travel to 14 schools throughout the county along with educational materials on the detriments of single-use plastics and the importance of protecting the environment.
The Community Engagement Mini Grant Program is currently open and accepting applications on a rolling basis.