Crescent Beach resident Jessica Gott walks her dog to the beach every morning and she is constantly collecting cigarette butts, straws, food wrappers, and a variety of plastic and other trash. As time passed Jessica became very concerned with the staggering amount of waste not only left by inconsiderate beach goers, but also that which had simply washed ashore. With guidance from local environmentalist, Adam Morley, this led Jessica to organize a group of family and friends to participate in the 2015 International Coastal Cleanup Day at Butler Beach. The St. Augustine Record documented the event and featured photos and comments from Jessica and her group of volunteers. She received such an overwhelming response and interest from additional friends, neighbors, and local community members that she began to organize volunteer beach clean up events on her own. As more people became involved the beach clean up effort led by Jessica continued to grow. One evening local businessman Paul Murray overheard Jessica sharing information on the dangers of litter to wildlife and an upcoming cleanup event. Paul instantly offered his knowledge on forming an officially recognized non-profit organization, leading to the creation of North Florida Coastal Caretakers. On January 20, 2016, the organization received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Per the Sunshine Law, we’re required to inform the public that NFCC holds regular meetings on the last Tuesday of each month. For location and time or changes in the regular meeting schedule, please visit our Facebook page.
Adam Morley is a captain and environmental educator with St. Augustine Eco Tours. A native to the area, he spent his childhood on the Matanzas River Basin where he found his passion for sustainability and environmental stewardship. He and his wife, Janine, started ANJ Recycling Service in 2008 and after selling it in 2015 he has continued to focus on ways to improve the quality of life here locally. Adam is a past president of the Friends of Anastasia State Park and is a board member on the Friends of Tomoka Basin State Parks and the Friends of A1A Scenic and Historic Highway.
Amber Distefano is truly inspired by our oceans and waterways all over the world. These bodies of water contain such substantial organisms that are so crucial to humanity, it’s easy to understand her point of concern for conserving them. Moving to St. Augustine in 2013 has made her an avid angler. Enjoying the beaches and intercoastal waterways almost daily and seeing the impact of pollution (mainly plastics) have influenced her to strive for making a difference. Though she does insist there’s TONS more to be cleaned and even more to do on educating the people on how, when and where, Amber believes it begins with beach and ICW.
Jessica Gott moved to St. Augustine in 2012. She quickly fell in love with the beaches here and felt she could do more to help preserve their beauty. Inspired by Adam Morley, she began organizing groups of friends and family to clean various beach locations and fishing spots along the ICW. The more cleanups she organized the more interest she received from the community. It became undeniable something more official needed to be created as an outlet for these folks passionate about keeping the beaches/waterways beautiful. With help from local businessman, Paul Murray, Jessica created North Florida Coastal Caretakers, a nonprofit beach/river cleanup organization.
Jenn has been a resident of Saint Augustine for ten years. Currently living in Vilano beach, she makes an active effort to clean up as often as possible as well as helping local organized clean ups with NFCC. A long time friend of Jessica’s, Jenn was excited to jump right in when Jessica created NFCC. Having worked in preschools and summer camps for 14 years, Jenn is passionate about educating children of all ages on how important it is to keep our beaches and waterways clean. She is also currently attending Southern New Hampshire University to obtain her degree in Anthropology with a focus on Environmental Sustainability.