For many Eckerd students, the Waterfront is the starting point for adventures with friends. From the boathouse, equipped with paddle boards and a dragon boat, to the boat launch that attracts many anglers and jetty jumpers, the area is an iconic landmark on the campus of Eckerd. But starting this semester, there’s a new addition to the decor welcoming marine students: a reef-safe sunscreen dispenser created by a partnership between Eckerd’s Environmental Responsibility Committee (ERC) and Stream2Sea, a company specializing in environmentally friendly cosmetics.
According to his website, the company’s founder, Autumn Blum, launched Stream2Sea during a 2015 diving trip. what people put on their skin and the negative effects it can have on them and the environment around them. She then created Stream2Sea to develop more environmentally friendly skin care products such as hand sanitizers, soups and sunscreens, some of which were created right here at the James Center.
The Florida-based company also invests in activism activities, such as creating an ordinance to ban reef-harming chemicals in cosmetics in the Florida Keys.
“I heard about Stream2Sea a few years ago and found out that he was actually an Eckerd alum who founded the company, which was really cool,” said the co-director of partnerships at Stream2Sea. ‘ERC, Chloe McKenna.
McKenna, along with the other ERC members, spearheaded this project to bring reef- and ocean-friendly sunscreen to the Eckerd campus.
“I think it’s an incredible idea,” said Waterfront staff member Reilley McHale. “With Eckerd students spending so much time outdoors, it makes sense to have one…it’s small but really sets us apart.”
For the ERC, their vision also goes beyond sunscreen. Their aim is also to raise awareness of the range of issues facing the oceans today.
“Consumer brands of sunscreen contain many harmful chemicals that not only impact corals, but other aspects of marine life as well,” McKenna said.
According to The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, standard sunscreens contain chemicals such as oxybenzone and nano-zinc oxide. These, and other chemicals, can damage sensitive coral tissue, deform young polyps, and cause coral bleaching once they are introduced to our coastal waters.
These chemicals can also affect other marine species, such as defects in mussel offspring, breeding fish populations, and can be transferred to young dolphins when they are born.
“Being right on the water, I feel like it’s such a relevant question,” Mckenna said.
McKenna’s ambitions with the ERC this year are to shine a light on issues such as harmful chemicals in skincare and other health products, as well as involving the Green Team, a collective of groups and Eckerd Environmental Clubs.
McKenna also hopes to install another reef-safe sunscreen dispenser at Kappa Field.
Other ERC plans for the future include Earth Week celebrations, screenings of environmental documentaries around campus, an addition to the Eckerd Butterfly Garden, and a possible “Day Anniversary” party. of the earth “.
So if you ever head to the waterfront, be sure to pack some reef-safe sunscreen and some knowledge of the oceans around you, too, courtesy of Stream2Sea and the ERC.