Galveston Island’s most important environmental asset is front and center for the new “Save Our Shores” (S.O.S.) campaign. The S.O.S. initiative is the latest green movement released by the Galveston Park Board of Trustees, the Galveston Bay Foundation and the City of Galveston. Together these three entities saw a need to help educate and promote environmental stewardship to visitors and residents alike. The main goal of this campaign is to promote the idea of minimizing our environmental footprint by removing items from the beaches at sunset and recycling aluminum and plastics. These simple steps are vital to a place like Galveston, as an island with so many natural resources and marine life that depend on an environmentally conscious community.
When visiting any coastal destination, I always try to be mindful of the plants, animals and eco-systems I am surrounded by. Sure, I still bring the essentials to the beach (i.e. beach towels, pop-up tent, sandwiches and a portable speaker for music) but I make a concerted effort to pick up every item and make sure trash has made it to the appropriate receptacle. Speaking of appropriate receptacles, Galveston has added tons of blue trash bins (that are painted with really cool ocean-related murals) as well as green recycle centers along the seawall for users to easily dispose of any trash or recyclables. Many places I have visited incorporate the slogan “Leave No Trace” or “Leave Only Footprints” but Galveston’s message seeks to look at the environment with a more holistic approach. Not only are beachgoers encouraged to clean up after themselves, but the beach parks (Stewart Beach and East Beach) are also encouraging all concessionaires to incorporate eco-friendly practices within their businesses. From eliminating plastic straws to selling more eco-friendly products, these small steps can make a big impact on this Gulf Coast treasure.
Galveston is also home to many environmental organizations such as Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN), Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary and the East End Lagoon Nature Preserve, just to name a few. It is obvious to me that Galveston Island takes its natural resources seriously and plans are only growing to make sure everyone who lives here, or visits has ample opportunities to learn, explore and participate in environmental best practices. As an eco-conscious person, these initiatives really make me smile. Many travelers are thinking more and more about these topics when selecting destinations to visit so it is great to see Galveston Island leading the way.
One of my favorite activities I try to do every time I visit Galveston Island is to kayak with an organization called Artist Boat. This is not your ordinary kayak rental place but more of a field trip into the bay side of the island with a unique twist! As the name suggests, these adventures are not just physical, they also include an artistic element, which is a perfect marriage of my interests, I like a little action mixed with a little creativity. After paddling through some of the beautiful coastal heritage preserve filled with plants, birds and marine life, your guide (and art teacher) finds a quiet area for everyone to rest their arms and put watercolor paints to canvas. It is so cool to let the natural beauty around you inspire your artwork, not to mention the peace and tranquility which are unparalleled. Artist Boat is the perfect way to spend a few hours becoming one with nature and leaving with an original piece of art!
Next time you are in Galveston, be sure to take in the abundance of nature this island has to offer and don’t forget to reduce, remove and recycle whenever possible. It is the responsibility of all of us to preserve the beaches, bay and marine life!