UCI-tony-macdonaldTony MacDonald, director of Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute, is the guest speaker at a November 25 event hosted at Brookdale Community College, by Red Bank-based NJ Friends of Clearwater.

From press materials furnished by New Jersey Friends of Clearwater

A guest lecture on the challenges facing protectors of coastal life and habitats. An ongoing volunteer cleanup effort at a local brook; a community planting of erosion-inhibiting beach grass — and of course, the annual holiday party.

It’s all on the coming weeks’ schedule for New Jersey Friends of Clearwater, the Red Bank-based grass roots nonprofit best known for its summertime Clearwater Festival of music, vendors, and environmental education. The all-volunteer organization established in 1974 (as Monmouth County Friends of Clearwater) is a year-round endeavor for the people who conduct beach clean-ups, teach sailing skills, deliver presentations at area schools, and help spread the word on controlling pollution, here in a region where extraordinary natural resources have shared space with one of the nation’s most concentrated population centers.

The year-end flurry of activity begins this coming Monday, November 25, when the Environmental Club at Brookdale Community College teams with NJFC and  the Monmouth County chapter of the NJ Sierra Club for a presentation on Environmental Challenges to the World’s Oceans, featuring Tony MacDonald, director of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University.

Scheduled for 6:30 pm at the Warner Student Life Center on BCC’s Lincroft campus, the public-welcome event is preceded by a cash buffet at 6 pm inside the SLC’s Twin Lights Room. MacDonald — a veteran attorney for environmental organizations and causes, and the former director of the Coastal States Organization — came to Monmouth in 2005 with the creation of the Urban Coast Institute, described as “a forum for research, education, and collaboration in developing and implementing science-based policies and programs that support healthy, productive, and resilient coastal ecosystems and communities.” The guest speaker will lead a discussion on the adverse effects of “increased drilling for oil and natural gas, over-fishing, increased recreational use, jumbo container ships, the need for expanded port facilities, and continued population growth and pollution” on coastlines, waterways and estuaries.

There is no admission charge to attend the event, for which NJFC recommends parking in Brookdale’s Lot 7 (alternate options Lots 5 or 6).

On Saturday, December 7, the Clearwater team will be seeking volunteers of all ages, to assist in a beach grass planting project at Sea Bright, where efforts to restore and fortify the borough’s beach continue apace in the year-plus since Superstorm Sandy devastated the community. All volunteers must register in advance for this event, by emailing Megan Molok at Once registered. you will receive your volunteer site and time of planting.

The following afternoon, Sunday December 8, all members of NJ Friends of Clearwater are invited to the organization’s Holiday Party, scheduled for 1 pm at the Eatontown Community Center (72 Broad Street). Included are a potluck luncheon, live music by festival performers, and a presentation by Dr. Jan Dash on sea level rise and climate change. For additional info, call (732)389-25572.

E’town is also the site of Clearwater’s next community volunteer project, a cleanup of the northern bank of Whale Pond Brook (northbound side of Route 35) that assembles in the parking area of the professional plaza at 10 Industrial Way East. Scheduled for the hours between 9:30 am and noon on Saturday, December 14, it’s a partner project between NJFC, the Eatontown Environmental Commission (EEC) and the Whale Pond Brook Watershed Association (WPBWA); designed as “part of the multi-year effort to restore/renew Whale Pond Brook Watershed…in preparation for creating an end-to-end Greenway from Eatontown to the Ocean.”

More information on this and other ongoing projects of NJ Friends of Clearwater can be obtained on the org’s website; go here  for details on becoming a member.