Coastal Stewards is a Summer Youth Employment Program funded by President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the National Park Service, and the Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club. The program is managed by the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and Delmarva Low-Impact Tourism Experiences. Partner organizations include the Lower Shore Workforce Alliance, Assateague Island National Seashore, Assateague State Park, the Maryland Conservation Corps, Worcester County Tourism, and Grow Berlin Green.
What it is
The Coastal Stewards program is an outdoor summer employment opportunity for local high school and college students in Maryland on the Delmarva Peninsula aimed at increasing diversity & youth employment in the environmental and outdoor job field. The program is led by a partnership between the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) and the National & Maryland State Park Services (NPS & MSPS) at Assateague Island and is funded largely by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with contributions from the aforementioned organizations. Currently Harrison Jackson & Carrie Samis from MCBP, Angela Baldwin from MSPS & Nick Clemons from NPS are the coordinators and supervisors for the program but they receive help from others in and out of their organizations.
What they do
Each year around 15 students are hired to help promote environmental stewardship, community outreach and an appreciation of local history, culture and environment. They do this in a variety of ways; from working on Assateague Island National Seashore as interpreters for visitors to helping band brown pelicans in the Chesapeake Bay; the Coastal Stewards are involved in almost every facet of the environmental field .They meet with local, state and national leaders such as the governor and attorney general of Maryland, to directors and supervisors at the national EPA headquarters. They assist with research and studies done on Brown Pelicans, Seabeach Amaranth, and other local wildlife with the Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and MCBP Staff. They also attend local and statewide events to inform visitors and residents about local wildlife around the Delmarva Peninsula such as the Blue Crab, Whelks and Horseshoe Crabs.
When they work
The stewards work heavily during the summer, from the end of June to the beginning of schools in late August. The work day typically goes from 10 – 4 on the weekdays, carpooling time is based on how far away everyone lives from each other and the driver, however because we work outside that is always subject to change based on the weather! The stewards also work many weekends doing events in the community but we always make sure to log hours carefully so no one is working to much, we try to keep the hours between 30-40 hours per week.