11th Hour Racing has announced seven grantees focused on restoring ocean health in the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Funded by The Schmidt Family Foundation, 11th Hour Racing’s grant program is committed to mobilizing the sailing, marine, and coastal communities to create systemic change for the health of our oceans.
As one of the seven recipients, Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, Inc is proud to join a select group of diverse organizations from all over the world addressing ocean health issues. The designated organizations are working on a wide range of projects, from research into micro-plastic pollution in Cambridge, England to oyster reef restoration in New York City.
The grant will enable YSF to expand a collaborative effort with Ocean Research and Conversation Association (ORCA) to build and monitor living shorelines in the Indian River Lagoon. Over the past year YSF students and volunteers have transported over 30 tons of fossilized shells in 60-lb mesh bags to sites along the western shoreline of the Lagoon just north of the Barber Bridge in Vero Beach. So far ten breakwaters have been built with the help of over 75 young sailors. As a component of YSF’s environmentally focused after school program, students sail to the site, disembark into the shallows, and strategically place the bags of shells, under the instruction and guidance of ORCA scientists who teach them about the challenges facing the Lagoon. The breakwaters serve to arrest shore erosion on Indian River Land Trust’s Bridge View Properties. They also provide a friendly habitat for renewal of the ecological life cycle that begins with sea grasses and small crustaceans.
This fall over 20 children will be certified by ORCA as Citizen Scientists qualified to monitor the living shorelines they are building. Restoring the Indian River Lagoon is a long-term effort. Educating young sailors about water quality issues, and teaching them hands-on solutions, is an investment in the future of our Lagoon that will pay big dividends over time. As future leaders and decision makers in our community these young sailors will be responsible to continue our efforts to conserve the beautiful Indian River Lagoon.
Youth Sailing Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, offering free instruction as a means to engage local children who would otherwise have no opportunity to experience the enjoyment and challenge of sailing. To learn more, volunteer, or make a donation, please call 772-492-3243 or visit www.ysfirc.org.