Hear Us Roar
October 2021 Issue
One Hundred Miles
Fighting For Our Coast
Megan Desrosiers and the staff of One Hundred Miles
Pictured Above—One Hundred Miles Staff (left to right): Kate Grinalds (VP Philanthropy); Alice Keyes (VP Coastal Conservation); Stephanie Chewning (Coastal Education Coordinator); Susan Inman (Coastal Advocate); Megan Desrosiers (President & CEO); Beth Sutton (Development Coordinator); Tonnia Switzer Smalls (VP Operations); Catherine Ridley (VP Education & Communications and not included in the photograph)
Those of us living along Georgia’s 100 miles of beautiful coastline may sometimes take our gorgeous surroundings for granted. Fortunately, there is a team of women working every day to protect our area’s incredibly diverse environment. From lobbying in Atlanta and Washington D.C. to educating individuals on small steps they can take, the staff of One Hundred Miles never stops fighting for a future when our coast has thriving communities, protected landscapes and secure wildlife. Meet Megan Desrosiers and the staff of One Hundred Miles…
When, how, and why did One Hundred Miles come to be?
One Hundred Miles was founded in 2013 by a group of people who love our coast and felt that Georgia needed a conservation organization that could build a broad coalition of support for its protection. We started as a team of two; today, we have eight staff members based in Brunswick and Savannah and a dedicated board of 12, all working towards our shared mission of protecting and preserving Georgia’s 100-mile coast through advocacy, education, and citizen engagement.
When did you first know you wanted to fight for the environment?
Most of us have had a connection with the natural world since our childhood. For all of us, the origin of our connection is different. Some of us are inspired by a specific animal, like shorebirds or sea turtles. Some feel most at home when we are immersed in nature, surrounded by vast, wild landscapes and wilderness—and we want to pass that on for future generations. And still others of us do this work because we have seen the impacts pollution and disregard for environmental laws have had on communities that have been suffering for generations. While each of us joined the fight for the environment for our own various reasons, our careers have opened our eyes to allow us to see the comprehensive impacts of environmental exploitation. This is a wild coast, especially when you compare it with our neighbors to the north and south. Living and working to protect the environment in coastal Georgia is an amazing gift that each of us is grateful for every day.
Megan, what is it like to have an all-female staff?
I have never worked with a team as talented, dedicated, or hard working. We are passionate, but we listen to and learn from each other. We get our jobs done while balancing our families. We understand that the impacts of our work affect real people living in communities that need some kind of help. So, all of us start everything we do with open hearts and by listening to the people around us. From there, we develop strategies to connect them to the decisions being made that impact their own lives.
What is your biggest battle right now?
We have a lot of battles. Two of our biggest fights right now are our campaigns against proposed mining in the Okefenokee Swamp and the Camden County Commission’s plan to launch rockets over Cumberland Island National Seashore. We’re also continuing to work on projects to conserve loggerhead sea turtles and North Atlantic right whales, two of our coast’s most iconic and imperiled species.
How can our readers help fight for our coast?
We always want to build our coalition of advocates who care about protecting this special place as much as we do. They can sign up for updates about our work, which include many ways to take action to protect the coast they love, at OneHundredMiles.org. Our website also has opportunities to join as a member, sign up for one of our public programs, become a volunteer, get to know our staff and board, and learn more about our issues.
We’re Roaring about…
Despite the challenges, there’s still so much to celebrate for our coast. Today, more of us than ever before understand the need for a healthy environment and the importance of making our voices heard. We’re proud to have an advocacy network more than 16,000 members strong, standing with us and speaking out on the issues that matter most. And we’re entering our third year of our Youth Environmental Leadership Council (YELP), which is a dedicated group of coastal high school students who serve and give back as leaders and advocates for our 100 miles. These are the people who inspire us to keep going when things get tough.
In the months and years ahead, we’re excited to keep fighting to make a difference, and we hope all who love this incredible coast will join us.