About UsLearn More About what we are About
Coastal Connections, Inc. was founded in 2017 to provide opportunities for people to create a connection with coastal wildlife. The Founder, Kendra Cope, noticed a need and want from the Indian River community to provide interactive and educational programs that contribute to the protection of sea turtles and their coastal habitats. She found an amazing group of dedicated and motivated women to start CCinc and give back to our environment. CCinc and its numerous volunteers pride themselves on being innovative and having the ability to integrate and communicate science and conservation initiatives to diverse audiences. It’s this quality that makes CCinc truly unique among Florida sea turtle conservation and environmental protection organizations.
The Treasure Coast is home to many coastal environmental gems including high density nesting beaches, the Indian River Lagoon, and various natural and artificial reefs which are important for recreational and commercial fishing enterprises. However, these ecosystems have become stressed as the area develops and the human population rises.
Danger to Sea Turtles
There are many threats to sea turtles and their habitats including light pollution, plastic and general litter, and improper human use of beaches. Part of Coastal Connections Inc.’s mission is to continue this successful recovery by connecting more people to wildlife.
Here in Vero Beach, plastic waste is found in the stomach of practically every turtle investigated by Coastal Connections. As a community we cannot ignore this plight. Our seas cannot absorb our plastic waste and our marine life cannot digest it and remain healthy.
A Lagoon in Distress
The Indian River Lagoon is the most biodiverse estuary in North America. The largest threat to this 156-mile body of water is the reduced water quality from non-point source pollution, man-made hydrologic distribution, loss of habitat, and an increase in invasive species.
Sea Turtle Experiences
We use education and guided sea turtle interactions to minimize threats like light on the beach and plastic debris. We also promote new human habits that will not negatively affect the environment, and conduct cleanups to reduce the amount of litter.
Photo © Joe Rimkus Jr.
Plastic Reduction Programs
Coastal Connections, Inc. is working hard to spread awareness about the harms of single use plastic on our coastal ecosystems, provide eco-friendly alternatives for them, and guide the public on how they can make simple life changes to reduce their plastic footprint.
Save The Lagoon
To restore the IRL’s water quality we are working every angle: litter cleanups, stormwater pollution education, living shoreline restoration including oyster recycling, removal of invasive species, and all around promoting the health of the Lagoon.
Photo © BLV Marketing
Board of Directors
Kendra Cope, M.S.
President and Founding Director
Mari Shiel - Marketing Advisor
Becky Vickman - Marketing Advisor
Chris McGuire - Community Advisor
Laurie Connelly - Community Advisor
Kate Maingot - Fundraising Advisor
Todd Hopkins - Scientific Advisor
Quintin Bergman - Scientific Advisor
Cori McWilliams - Youth Advisor
Olivia Lazorik - Youth Advisor
New Partnerships & Funding
We are proud recipients of a NEP grant to fund our new Shuck-N-Share program and the Endless Summer License plate funding to grow and enhance our cleanup effort. We have also added a number of new partnerships!
We successfully opened our second boutique storefront. Please visit both locations – inside One Sotheby’s Real Estate at 1006 Beachland Blvd. or inside the Purple Plum in the Indian River Mall.
WINNER of Environmental Awareness Award
In 2019, we participated in the Vero Beach holiday parade and took it by storm. Our float was made from 85% recycled debris from beach cleanups and became the “Trashiest” float in the parade. Because of our innovative idea, CCinc was awarded the very first Environmental Awareness award which has become a new category for future parades.
A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free (800-435-7352) within the State. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the State.