The older I become, the more I realize how incredibly wonderful it was to grow up in Martin County and where I get my sense of environmental activism. Yesterday, I attended Stuart Kiwanis with my dad, to see Congressman Murphy speak, and while I was there I saw the choice for this year’s Kiwanis holiday ornament, “Save Our Beaches.” This brought back a flood of memories as this program influenced me greatly as a child.
When I was 10 years old, the SAVE OUR BEACHES (SOB) program was getting into full swing in Martin County. You can’t see the entire shirt but you can see part of it (SAVE) below in this family picture where my father, brother, sister and I were trying on hats from the attic.
According to the History of Marin County, the original SOB campaign was brought forth in 1969 by civic-minded people who realized that although the ocean beaches along Hutchinson Island were available to local people, this would not continue unless measures were taken…
This same group had first fought to approve a set back line to protect the dunes of the beaches from development and were successful before the county commission and state making Martin County the first in the state to achieve this beach set-back protection.
So the group was already geared up and organized to implement the Save Our Beaches (from developers) program. With the advice of the Army Corp of Engineers, the group started organizing to purchase eight 100 foot strips of beach from the St Lucie/Martin County line to today’s Sailfish Point.
With great enthusiasm and leadership, the group found a way to raise money privately along with matches from the county and federal government. Most impressive was that the school children of Marin County raised $36,500; this was so outstanding that the youth movement contributions were recognized by the White House and even won a Freedoms Foundation award. I remember giving my nickels and some of my birthday money to this cause and feeling like the beaches “were mine,” throughout middle and high school…
These eight strips ensured the parking and public beach access we all enjoy today!
As I left the Kiwanis meeting, I bought an ornament, having seen it on the way out. It brought a tear to my eye when I read the insert, it reads:
“As the Treasure Coast faces once again a continued threat to one of our most valuable natural resources, the St Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon, it is a great reminder, on the 40th Anniversary of the “Save Our Beaches Campaign” to recognize how much a determined community was able to accomplish in the efforts to save a precious and valuable resource for all.”
To purchase or learn about the ornament please see below a reading from the Stuart Kiwanis website:
“Each year the Kiwanis Club of Stuart designs and sells ornaments that represent a historical part of Martin County. Kiwanian, Virginia Lane Hill designs the ornaments. The ornaments are made by ChemArt, the same company that makes the ornaments for the White House. ChemArt is the last remaining ornament maker in the United States. Each ornament is laser cut, dipped in 14 K gold and hand enameled for a beautiful and long-lasting finish. Each ornament is accompanied by a history brochure which gives detailed information about the featured topic.
The current and past years ornaments, if not sold out, are available, year around, at The Stuart Heritage Museum, 161 SW Flagler Avenue in Stuart.”
This year’s ornament: 2014 Save Our Beaches Campaign – 40 years (http://kiwanisclubofstuart.org/Page/14261)