Earth Day: Our Day of Giving

Sunday is the Day of Giving for Mobile Baykeeper’s “Make a Difference Month”.  Today is even more special because it is the day of celebrating our beautiful Earth and God’s gift to us.  Today, we ask you to think about your gifts to the world. Last Friday at our Helen Wood Park volunteer event, we encountered the most amazing woman with the most wonderful set of friends and family members.  To honor her husband’s passing, the family asked folks to donate to The Nature Conservancy and the 100-1000: Restore Coastal Alabama partnership work in lieu of flowers.  Linda Harman shared an incredibly special letter her daughter wrote to the recently deceased Max Harman – husband of Linda and father to three amazing children.  I asked her to let me post it [on the blog] as an inspiration to each of you who reads this. 100-1000 Letter to Dad 2011-6-7.

The BP Oil Disaster of 2010 – just two short years ago – made many of us realize that our beaches may not just always be there for our children.  I have never had such an eye opening experience as the day my 2 ½ year old son with his big blue eyes and blonde hair asked me, “The beach is over, Mommy?”  At the time, oil was washing ashore regularly and the well hadn’t yet been capped.  He just wanted to go to the beach for the day.  I worried about his ability to spend the summer there as a 12 ½ year old (and beyond) bobbing in the waves by day and floundering at midnight.

So many things are different two years later and we still have tons to do to rectify the BP Oil Disaster and prevent any future disasters, but one thing is sure – we are all a lot smarter about how important the health of our beach is to our happiness (and economy, quality of life, etc.).

In planning for Earth Day, Mobile Baykeeper wanted to give the community something useful, simple, that would give you peace of mind and an ability to create a lasting gift to your families.

We proudly announce The Swim Guide app ( as our gift to the community.  This smartphone app is a fantastic way to give you direct information on the quality of the water at your favorite beach.  The Swim Guide is also a way for YOU to give back to your family by ensuring the beach is safe and healthy before you load up the beach bag, towels and sunscreen.

I want to be the parent Max Harman’s daughter describes to my son Coleman.  This is the least we can give back to future generations and, to be honest, to our parents.  Please use this app, this guide to safe beaches to create beautiful memories for your families.  Instill in your children a longing to be outside in God’s creation, to celebrate and cherish life and nature.

The Swim Guide is an app for iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® and Android (2.1 or higher) that makes it easy to explore and enjoy our waterways and beaches in Mobile and Baldwin counties.  Mobile Baykeeper, a fifteen-year-old nonprofit environmental organization with over 4,000 members, is the 3rd organization in the United States to launch this free app, which was developed by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.

Utilizing bacteriological monitoring data collected by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), Swim Guide is an easy way to check on water safety.  This free app helps you find your closest beach, know at a glance which ones are safe for swimming and share your love of beaches with your friends. Here are the app’s benefits:

  • Find your closest beach using list, map, or search tools
  • Discover a wide variety of beaches, ranging from city parks to nature preserves
  • Identify at a glance which beaches are safe for swimming (Green) and which are unsafe for swimming (Red) in real-time
  • Get walking, driving, or transit directions to the beach of your choice
  • Bookmark beaches for easy access
  • Invite your friends to join you at the beach using Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS text messaging
  • Report pollution or environmental concerns

Make a difference this Earth day, for the world, and in the life of a child.

100-1000 Letter to Dad list 2011-6-7