Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park was awarded the Marine Education Award for Outstanding Organization by the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA). The award was presented on Friday, July 16, at the 2021 NMEA Virtual Conference. Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park received the award for their leadership and strong commitment to supporting marine education through their actions, including education for school groups, teacher workshops, the Junior Friends Program, and their Citizen Science Marine Debris Program.
The organization makes education a priority, providing hands-on science programs to all Palm Beach County students free of charge. The Environmental Education Program provides experiential science instruction and activities to educate, excite, and involve students, teachers, and visitors. The Friends host more than 5,000 Palm Beach County Students annually and connect virtually with more than 10,000 students through monthly virtual field trips.
In June 2018, the Friends introduced the Citizen Science Marine Debris Program, which was designed to increase awareness of the global marine debris issue and provide an avenue for people who want to take action. Since its inception, park visitors have collected and recorded more than 2,500 pounds of marine debris, which mostly consists of microplastics.
“We are honored to be recognized on the national level and to receive this award from the National Marine Educators Association,” said Veronica Frehm, Executive Director of Friends of MacArthur Beach State Park. “We are incredibly lucky to be able to use our beautiful park as a living laboratory giving the students the opportunity to see, hear, feel, and completely immerse themselves in nature. It is because of the dedication to quality programming and the hard work of the staff, board, and volunteers that makes it all possible. It is an incredible team and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, Palm Beach County’s only state park, is situated on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Lake Worth Lagoon. The Park is made up of 438 acres of pristine coastal land and contains four different communities or habitats including seven species of plants and twenty-two species of animals on the endangered or threatened list. MacArthur Beach is truly an “Island in Time”.