Behind the Scenes at the NEC

Meet the minds and faces behind the NEC and learn what we’ve been up to.

Chelsea Pulliam, the NEC’s Outreach Coordinator and EcoNews Graphic Designer is feeling proud to have a full year of EcoNews design under her belt and is so thankful for the community’s positive feedback. In addition to keeping the community informed, she’s working hard on the NEC’s new waste reduction project: The Reduce Single-Use Pledge, which encourages restaurants to only provide single-use foodware upon request. Her next plan of attack is to reduce cigarette litter by collaborating with local bars and restaurants and offering low-cost cigarette butt receptacles to keep our streets and waterways clean. Lastly, she’s transforming the NEC office into an Eco Boutique and a community space for environmental education (once it’s safe to reopen to the public).

Casey: Casey Cruikshank, the NEC’s Coastal Programs Coordinator has been working hard to make citizen science and debris data collection an integral part of Coastal Programs.  By introducing the NOAA Marine Debris Tracker App, data collected in the county has had a significant increase. She has been working with a volunteer data analyst to learn how to operate a new interactive data visualization software to make the data available to volunteers and shareable in media. She started a Coastal Programs Advisory Committee where a select group of individuals gather to help guide and achieve Coastal Programs goals. She hosted a successful Coastal Cleanup Day that took place over the entire month of September to adhere to COVID regulations. Coastal Cleanup Month was such a success that we will be carrying that platform into future years. Coastal Programs have been expanded into three levels of participation. Trash Trackers is the new entry level program where anyone, anywhere can participate. Adopt-A-Beach and Adopt-A-Block are the intermediate programs where volunteers can attend to a specific location. The Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP) is the advanced level program where volunteers will facilitate their own scientific research within transects at locations throughout the county. 

Caroline Griffith, EcoNews Coordinator and Journalist, has been transitioning EcoNews to monthly publication and bringing new voices to the paper by building relationships and providing a platform for a diversity of contributors. Highlighting the voices of Indigenous, Black, Latinx and other People of Color and Queer environmentalists is a priority for EcoNews. To increase accessibility, Caroline is working to incorporate audio recordings of articles on the website and get funding for Spanish translation. In addition to writing for EcoNews, Caroline attends public meetings  to stay up to date on local policy and advocate for the NEC. 

Our HSU Work Study student, Brittany, is happy to continue to work with the NEC through the rest of this final year of school. During the semester, Brittany has continued to help write our weekly “Mindful Mondays” social media posts – nature based wellness tips for staying well during these tough times. Brittany has also supported the new Reduce Single Use pledge outreach, contacting local restaurants to encourage them to sign on. In addition to these projects, Brittany provides administrative supports – answering emails, updating memberships, listening to voice messages, monitoring social media, and more. Forthcoming, Brittany will be working on a poster for our educational watershed model diagram, and will be helping to create recycled eco-journals that will eventually be available for sale in our Eco Boutique! Keep an eye out for these projects.

The last ten months have been thrilling for the NEC’s Administrative & Development Director, Carrie Tully, as she has navigated her new position while sheltering-in-place. This transition would not have been possible without the support of her incredible team. Because of the strong foundation of communication that the group has built, they have been able to successfully navigate working from home in so many ways, including; recreating long standing projects such as Coastal Cleanup Day, and creating brand new ones like Trash-a-thon. She has been enjoying watching the staff work together to bring ideas to life despite being in such uncharted territory. Her goals are to continue building awareness around the important work that the NEC has always contributed to, while building bridges within the community to work towards further socio-environmental healing. She looks forward to connecting with more people when the office reopens.