Anne Marie Moquin founded Beaches Go Green in 2018, which is a local nonprofit dedicated to promoting environmental education and awareness within the community through various events and school club initiatives.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I grew up in Michigan and always had a love for animals and being out in nature. That has remained a passion of mine throughout the years, and I’ve always wanted to do something that allows me to share that love with others
What made you want to start Beaches Go Green and when did it get its start?
In 2018 I sat down and watched this documentary called “A Plastic Ocean” with my girlfriends one night, and afterwards I felt like so much of what we were doing in the world was self-centered.
A lot of us are operating on autopilot and we don’t pay attention to what we are doing or if it’s even working.
Initially, I just thought I would be talking to schools about the environment, but from there it just exploded.
I didn’t have any environmental background, but I’ve learned so much in the last four years.
What are the primary goals of the organization?
The number one goal is to offer an outlet for environmental education and awareness.
Another one of my goals with Beaches Go Green is to keep it simple.
I’ve gone from trying to save the planet by recycling to now thinking that recycling is really a small solution and instead investing in reusable products.
If we can give people small tidbits to make a difference, we will see good things follow.
We try to make it easy for people to make a change.
How have you seen the initiative grow over the years?
We had five clubs in local schools last year. We have really shifted the focus to our students, because if we get them thinking the right way, that can have the biggest impact.
We’re going on our fourth year at Ponte Vedra High School and our third a Nease and looking at involving five more schools this year.
Our tag line is “Be the change,” and seeing that change is just amazing.
One of our biggest programs for students is our reusable bottle program. We’ve handed out 12,000 bottles in four years.
What do you enjoy most about the work you do?
Typically, we award two scholarships ever year to local students that have volunteered and been part of supporting environmental initiatives.
This year’s applicants were so good that we gave out six scholarships.
To hear how being part of the club has influenced them has been great to see.
What have been some of the biggest challenges faced?
Creating awareness is a hard thing to quantify.
Change is just not coming fast enough, and it can get exhausting swimming against the tide all the time.
People don’t like change but sometimes you have to get uncomfortable to make things happen.
What do you enjoy most about living in the North Florida area and what do you do in your free time?
I love to travel to nature destinations and going on beach walks. You can never have too much nature in your life.
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