Yesterday, Marriott Vacation Club held the “We Care for Our Coastline” philanthropy event at the Marriott Barony Beach Club in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Through Marriott’s partnership with South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Adopt A Beach program, the event was dedicated to coastline conservation and cause awareness.
Coastline preservation is an active concern to many members of the community, as more than 40 groups were in attendance. These groups included community and business leaders, local officials, school groups, and more. Speeches given at the event focused on the importance of involving the community and local businesses to help service groups preserve the coastline of Hilton Head Island.
Guest speakers included Steve Riley, the Town Manager for the Town of Hilton Head and Bill Miles, president and CEO of the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.
Marriott Vacation Club also spoke at the event and announced that they have adopted 3 miles of Hilton Head coastline. This is in addition to their previous adoption of 3 miles, with their total contribution now just over 6 miles of beaches and inlets covering almost 50% of Hilton Head’s 15 miles of coastline.
Marriott’s leaders urged community members to participate in their effort by adopting sections of the remaining 9 miles of coastline.
Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications for Marriott Vacations Worldwide, Ed Kinney states, “As Marriott Vacation Club approaches its 30th anniversary, Hilton Head Island was our first destination and from the very beginning we have been committed to a culture of caring for our communities through involvement in many impactful programs. […] Hilton Head Island is well-known for its pristine beaches and as one of the largest employers on the island, Marriott Vacation Club provides opportunities to continue making a lasting impact in many areas and caring for our coastline through the South Carolina Adopt A Beach program is a great fit and something we’ve been doing informally for many years,”.
The South Carolina Adopt A Beach organization also encourages the community and its businesses to follow Marriott’s lead. Hilton Head Island’s coastline and beaches are currently available for adoption in one-mile increments. In order to adopt a mile of beach, the organization must commit to cleaning the beach at least 2 times a year for 3 years and keep a log of the cleanings though an online reporting system. Beach clean-ups help remove garbage and debris that would have otherwise traveled into the ocean, potentially harming ocean wildlife and plants.
Marriott Vacation Club’s timeshare resorts have lead up to 4 beach clean-ups per year since 2010. These beach “sweeps” are thanks to the efforts of 251 Marriott employees’ 295+ hours of clean-up.
Both Marriott and the Adopt A Beach program feel that educational events such as “We Care for our Coastline” will help create awareness for this program and the cause.
Director of Coastal Services at DHEC’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, Dan Burger commented, “Like all coastal states, South Carolina needs to balance the promotion, access and use of its beaches with environmental stewardship, outreach and education, […] Hilton Head Island has a long history and strong reputation for environmental stewardship, and the beaches here are some of the finest in the state and country. However, even the best beaches need a little extra care and that is where our Adopt A Beach partners play an important role.”.
To learn how you can get involved or donate to the South Carolina Adopt A Beach organization, visit https://www.scdhec.gov/environment/ocrm/adopt-a-beach.htm or contact the Adopt A Beach coordinator Sarah Latshaw at email@example.com .