“Every Surfrider chapter has a core of volunteers who, when asked, will step up and get things done. If a chapter is fortunate, like the Emerald Coast Chapter, they may also have a leader who understands what needs to happen and makes it so, long before most folks would even notice the opportunity. In the Emerald Coast Chapter, this person is Susan Forsyth.
Susan first joined our chapter at the very onset of the BP oil disaster. She found our chapter in a state of emergency, desperately attempting to learn about the disaster and hopeful that we could protect our friends, families and beaches. Like many, she was dismayed at the shortcomings of local, State, and Federal disaster response. Rather than simply worry, complain, or try to ignore the impending crisis, Susan immediately embraced the opportunity to engage.
To say Susan has done tremendous things for our chapter and our beaches would be an understatement. Her efforts have, at times, been Herculean. Physically, she has dug countless sampling ditches, patrolled many miles of beach on foot, endured storm wind and rain -and frequently, all of these occurred after midnight on isolated stretches of beach. No citizen in the State of Florida has documented more NRC oil reports than Susan. Beyond the numbers, the accuracy of her reporting has earned the respect of Coast Guard and local officials.
That Susan was willing and learned to do these difficult tasks is amazing. However, this is not even the tip of the skills that Susan brings to our efforts. Having personally done or witnessed nearly every task associated with the oil disaster response on our beaches, Susan has made herself uniquely qualified to interact with official responders, command, and political leaders.
And, wow does she interact! Public meetings, congressional offices, research symposiums, coffee shop meetings and even some, deep cover, late night rendezvous. Susan is a vital link. Not only does she link our chapter to the response, but she is constantly linking officials, scientists, politicians, and citizens. She goes way beyond getting things done. She makes sure all the heads are talking with each other. She asks the questions others are not allowed to mention. She disseminates the latest research findings. She gives praise and encouragement to everyone who is deserving, regardless of their affiliations. Susan has become a crucial link for the health and safety of the Gulf Coast and we are all better off for her efforts. Thank you Susan Forsyth!”