Episode 34: Casi Calloway the Executive Director of Mobile Baykeeper

Transcript:

Welcome to podcast episode #34 of the Mobile Alabama Business Podcast with Casi Callaway. My name is Marcus Neto. I own Blue Fish Design Studio. We are a digital marketing and web design company located downtown on Dauphin Street. I'm the host of Mobile Alabama Business Podcast where we talk to local entrepreneurs and business owners about their businesses and how they got started. I'd like to thank you for spending time with us today.

In today's episode, I sit down with Mobile Baykeeper's executive director Casi Callaway. We talked with Casi about how she ended up in the nonprofit world and specifically how she ended up in the environmental protection arena. She tells us about returning to the Mobile area after spending some time away to take Mobile Baykeeper to the next level. She also talks to us about a few of the initiatives that they are putting a lot of effort into. I do hope you enjoy this, so let's dive right in with Casi Callaway.

Marcus: Welcome to the podcast, Casi.

Casi: I'm glad to be here.

Marcus: I'm excited to have you on. I know we've talked about this for quite some time, so I'm appreciative that you're here.

Casi: I'm sorry it took so long.

Marcus: Not at all. To start out, why don't you tell us some bio. Give us the story of Casi. Are you from Mobile or how did you end up here? Married? Kids? Where'd you go to college, that kind of thing.

Casi: Awesome. I grew up in Mobile. My mother's from Mobile, so that's how we got back. She got to bring the daddy home. I moved to Mobile when I was about third grade, and I started at Julius T. Wright in fifth grade and ended up graduating there last class of girls only at Julius T. Wright, and then went off to college in Atlanta. I went to Emory University.

While I was there, I met this really interesting bunch of people who didn't look very much like me or act very much like me, but I was drawn to what they were doing and ended up going to Student Environmental Action Coalition Conference in 1989, Halloween weekend of 1989, it was at Chapel Hill, UNC Chapel Hill, and got bit by the bug.

I sat through the presentation on Earth Day 1990 twice, and it was amazing and had an amazing guy. I get home, and within a couple of weeks he called and said, will you be the, I was like, we'd love to have an Earth Day at Emory, would you be the Southeastern college campus coordinator for Earth Day 1990? I'm a junior in college, having a good time as a junior in college, too, a little crazy, but I ended up organizing five states' worth of colleges having an Earth Day, first time they'd celebrated it in 20 years.

Marcus: Wow, I did not know that about you. That's pretty cool.

Casi: It was pretty cool. I got my first migraine, yup, made my first C in college, maybe not my best hour for the actual scholastic part of my world, but it was amazing and I ended up going straight to D.C. after college to find my place in the world.

After a little bit, I started working with Clean Water Action and moved up through the ranks and worked on the local state and federal level all over the country on issues, fund-raised, lobbied, canvassed, organized. You name it, I got to do it, a little bit of all of it. It was a really cool world.

Marcus: Very cool. You graduated from college, from Emory. Married?

Casi: Yes, I came home in 1998 to become the director of Mobile Baykeeper and took a while to find that perfect man, went career first, and then Jarrett and I met in November of 2003, married in 2005, had Coleman in 2007. He just turned eight.

Marcus: Yay!

Casi: Super-fabulous, cutest, smartest, etc, etc.

Marcus: Well, I've got my cutest and smartest, too, so I know how that goes. It's really cool that you were able to find what it is that you wanted to do so early, because I know sometimes college doesn't take that, usually it takes years after that of career and maybe going down some wrong paths before you really decide on what it is that you want to do.

Casi: Under no circumstances do I take it lightly. I see it as my calling. I had so many friends who I could see changed how they saw me because I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up immediately as a junior in college. It was hard to watch that and to know that I had a path. It took me a while to get on the path and to know exactly what the job was going to be, don't get me wrong, but I have always wanted to do this.

Not until that day, that Halloween weekend of 19-, oh gosh, 1989, but that weekend changed my world. It was a big deal, and I do not take it for granted under any circumstances.

Marcus: Did you say what you studied at Emory?

Casi: I was a philosophy and ecology co-major, so it was philosophy first, which my father thought he was spending a lot of money ...

Marcus: Yeah, Emory's not cheap.

Casi: ... for a degree to "contemplate my navel." That's the direct quote.

Marcus: That's great.

Casi: I sort of might go to law school, but I did not. When I found environment, I had started taking ecology classes at Emory, they didn't have a full program, so it was a co-major program. Now, it's a full program. It's a huge deal at Emory now.

Marcus: Yeah, I graduated at about the same time you did, and I remember that environmental studies was really just something that was getting started at that point in time.

Casi: It was very new. You had to have a primary major, which was also perfect for my personality and what I ended up doing, what I do now. I really study people to know how you fit and how you're going to fit into this movement and why you're going to get involved in the environment here in this local community.

I think it's actually a part of what Mobile Baykeepers is, is that we are not your typical environmental advocacy organization. We match this community's desire and drive and passion and concerns and conservatism, to put it bluntly. That's what this community is and what we care about, and what we do is show how caring about the environment is conservative and it matches that passion and drive of our local community.

Marcus: Well, you're kind of going into my next question. You're the executive director for Mobile Baykeeper. Tell us about the role of Mobile Baykeeper in our community. What are some of the things that you all deal with or try to educate people on and some of the efforts that you all have?

Casi: Well, our big tag is "clean water, clean air, and healthy communities." It's just, we all want to swim, we all want to fish, we all want to drink clean water. That's all very obvious, and we firmly believe that everyone has a right to clean water and clean air. That is what drives that healthy community.

I think what's different about how Mobile Baykeeper operates is, we really do keep in mind that a strong economy is dependent upon a clean environment, upon clean air and clean water and all that good stuff.

Marcus: We found that out in a not-so-good way with the oil spill, right?

Casi: Yes, a $2 billion hit off one summer because of the BP oil disaster. That is the state's budget, two local coastal counties, 56 miles of beachfront property, that hit the state's economy in a massive way. I could go down that path and talk about how I feel about them taking money to Montgomery but whatever.

I think what we do is, we've worked on a lot different issues. We've worked on sewer in our waterways, we work on storm water issues. Of course, we worked on the BP oil disaster, and we're now working on making sure those funds that are going to come to our community are spent on long-term sustainable environmental restoration projects that essentially will make us resilient to the next disaster, be it a hurricane or another, we're not having another oil disaster in my lifetime, but man-made or natural.

Marcus: Right, I think it's been very interesting, because obviously you and I have talked but we do a little bit of work or have done work with environmental organizations here in the Mobile area in the past, so we know what some of the desires were for those funds. It wasn't just boring stuff, it was also things that would benefit the community as far as piers for fishing and walking paths and green areas and stuff like that. It's a shame that that's all been thrown up in the air with the decisions that were made.

Like you said, we don't have to go down that path. How did you end up at Mobile Baykeeper? You had this drive to go into the environmental arena, but is there a story behind that?

Casi: Depending upon who's asking, I generally have four or five stories as to why I wanted to leave Washington, D.C.

Marcus: What's the real ... ? Yeah, I know the reason for leaving D.C.

Casi: One of them was, it was 70 degrees in June and I was over the cold. That it's 80 degrees in December, I'm not really upset about it, but it doesn't feel like Christmas quite yet, I'll be honest.

No, I'd been in D.C. for eight years and just really wanted to get back to the South. I firmly believe this town, if you're from here or not, once you've been here it just drags you back in. I never expected to darken the door of Mobile, Alabama again as a permanent resident, and now I doubt very seriously I'll be leaving anytime ever.

I got home, I looked for jobs all over the Southeast, and it was one of these completely wackadoo, tiny world. The board president at Clean Water Action was my best friend's, from high school, from here, it's her uncle. I went to him, and I said, I want to come home, help me find a job. He said, well, your boss's cousin, boss in D.C.'s cousin, started an environmental organization in Mobile called, then, Mobile Bay Watch.

It's this completely tiny little world that I came down here and got to interview. It was weird, because I had been in D.C. for eight years, I'd been doing environmental work for ten or eleven at that point ...

Marcus: In Atlanta prior to that, so no small cities there.

Casi: I'm sitting in this interview, and they get a call and I end up being able to answer all of their policy questions and all the legal questions that they didn't know the answers to, because it's a volunteer-based organization created by moms and business people.

They looked at me and they were like, they don't realize that I'm from Mobile, I've said it eight times, but they don't realize I'm from Mobile, they said, now, don't get us wrong, we're not environmentalists, we don't recycle. It was interesting, so I just burst out laughing and I was like, okay, this is what my life is going to be. It's wonderful, because I'm pretty sure they do recycle now.

Marcus: Yeah, it's not such a new thing now as I'm sure it was back then.

Casi: It's been interesting. It's been an interesting ride and the organization has grown from, they told me they had 1,000 members, but when I put all the lists together into one database there were about 300, three times or four. We've grown so much. We have well over 4,000 members, close to 9,000-10,000 in our database now, but dues-paying members were much higher on that.

I think, we really are successful as being the voice for Mobile Bay in this community.

Marcus: Membership is somebody just pledging that they're with you, or is there something ...

Casi: Writing a check.

Marcus: It's writing a check. They're supporting your efforts and what you're trying to do to save, whether it be advertising that you do to educate people or actual projects that you do for cleaning up the water and stuff like that. Is that what the funds go to?

Casi: Yeah, we are a really lean organization. We grew, again, from a staff of me to, now, we're at a staff of eight. We grew a lot, as you can image, during the oil spill, but membership grew dramatically then and people gave significantly to the organization. We've maintained it since then, which was a challenge and a worry, but we've done it because the community really sees us for what we do and what we accomplish.
We work on, again, like you said, we're working on the Mobile Greenway Initiative to get trail system throughout Mobile County, city of Mobile. We're working on highway projects and making sure that every one of those are done carefully and responsibly and we don't dump mud into our drinking-water supply. We're working on tank farms. We do hardcore research into every issue, mainly so you don't have to.

Marcus: Tank farms?

Casi: Oil storage tanks that they want to build on Mobile River and the downtown area.

Marcus: Oh, okay.

Casi: We figure out what the laws are, what the balance is, what the protections can be, what we can ask for, how far we can push on an issue to move it forward and to make us a more progressive community.

Marcus: Now, I'm almost embarrassed to ask this, but I don't hear much about sewage being poured into Mobile Bay on the eastern shore anymore. Was that you guys that helped fix that problem?

Casi: You don't hear about it because they don't really report it very well on the eastern shore, but we do have some sewage problems on both sides of the bay. Baldwin County Sewer Service, the private sewer company, has made some big snafus with hooking in sewer to drinking-water lines three times. That was cool.

Daphne had improved dramatically. Right before we got here, there was a big lawsuit against the city of Daphne for their sewage, and they maintained it pretty well and I think they're on the rebound of doing a better job again. Fairhope is at or over capacity, so there are going to have to be some big changes made in the Fairhope area pretty soon. Mon Louis has had 9.4 million gallons of spills since January of 2014 through today, and they're looking at that one really closely and the bayou as well.

Marcus: All I will say to that is "ick."

Casi: Yes, "ick."

Marcus: Is there an area of Mobile Baykeeper that you're putting a lot of effort into? This can be anything from hiring to organization to, sales isn't really the right term for you, but increasing membership or increasing giving to the organization to, whatever, marketing, whatever you want to put on that.

Casi: Well, we are always on a mission to fund-raise, of course, to make sure we maintain and grow and continue to do all the things that the community asks us to do. We probably get three to five phone calls a week from somebody saying, or more depending, "I have problem A, help me fix problem A," and we do it. Last week, it was Bayou La Batre sewer calls through the roof. We get on it, dig into it, and figure out what we've got to handle.

I would say the two big things that we're going after for 2016, number one is membership, and it's not just about the dollars because $20 makes you a member, $10 if you're a student, but you may give a million when you win the lottery, but that gives us power. The more members we have, when we go to an elected official and we say, we have 5,000 members, we have 6,000 members, they go, all right, well, please come in and let me help you. That makes the difference.

The second thing is an education and outreach program that has a major monitoring component we're really excited about. It's SWAMP, "Strategic Watershed Awareness and Monitoring Program." We're starting it, and we got a grant to start it in the Citronelle High School area, so we're doing high school and the local community associations, the neighborhood associations, or smaller environmental organizations.
 
We're teaching them what a watershed is and how your life impacts a watershed, so you'll get litter components into it. Then, after we do that first big presentation, we'll come back again and say, who wants to take this to the next level? We're going to teach them how to do water quality monitoring, shoreline assessment, looking at how is the stream doing and not doing?

We're building out a website which we, of course, have been working with you all a little bit, too, trying to figure out how to make that web tool match with what, to make it really easy, so everybody, as soon as you post a picture of, "This is my waterway and I love it," take a picture and post it, it really connects the community more to their waterways for them to see it better. Also, if you find a litter dump, you get it organized, you get it cleaned up.

Marcus: There's some way of reporting that as well. That's cool.

My oldest son is, I guess, in some environmental club or something at Spanish Fort High School. I know that recently they went down on the Bayway, no, the Causeway, sorry, I always get the two of them confused, the Causeway, and he said that they filled, just in their own little area, they filled up a pickup truck full of trash, and it was just one parking lot.

Casi: Yeah.

Marcus: I think many people don't realize that watershed importance. If I'm in Timber Creek and I threw something down the sewer, then that's oftentimes going to end up in Mobile Bay, especially with the torrential storms that we have here.

The other reason why I brought that up is because it's cool that you're starting that in the high schools, because I find that oftentimes the students are very receptive to this kind of thing. It's their world to inherit, right? They're very keen on wanting to keep it as pristine and looking as good as it can.

Casi: I think, we do this education in grade schools and we teach the little ones, don't litter, and then they become middle-schoolers and we forget about them, and then they become high schoolers and we're toast if we haven't taught them something else or come back and reminded them of what they need to hear and know. I think that's the biggest thing.

Baykeeper hasn't traditionally gone into high schools, but there seems to be an opening for that. We're creating those programs into high schools. We're also partnering with the Mobile Area Education Foundation, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, and the Mobile County public school system to work with the Alma Bryant school in South Mobile County, because they have the signature academy and theirs is focused on coastal areas and coastal restoration areas.

I'll add this, too. You don't have to drop it down a storm drain. You drop it on a parking lot, it's going down a storm drain, and it will end up in my bay and your bay. Don't do it. More importantly, pick it up if you see somebody else doing it. Call them out.

Marcus: I think I may have asked you this before. There's tags on all the sewer drains here in downtown Mobile, and I don't remember what they say, I took a picture of them a couple of months back ...

Casi: They say, "This drains to Mobile Bay." "This storm drain drains to Mobile Bay." They're in a lot of different places around the area. You've got some for Dog River that say "drain to Dog River." You've got some in D'Olive Bay Watershed as well and some of the other areas. I think they've got them in Wolf Bay. We really don't recognize that that is not a trashcan. It is 100% a waterway.

Marcus: If you're here for Artwalk or Mardi Gras or anything that is an event like that, be cognizant that those things that you throw on the ground may end up in the bay.

I was very impressed. We're recording this on December 14th, I think today is, and this may not go live until January-ish, but Fairhope just a week or so ago had their parade. I love it, this is the second year in a row that I've been there after the parade has ended, and they immediately come through with a street sweeper and the guys to clean up, because, as you can image, there's a lot of stuff on the ground after a parade like that. I thought it was really responsible of them to come through immediately instead of waiting until the next day. Hats off to them for putting in that effort.

If you were talking to someone that wanted to be involved in nonprofit or environmental activities, anything of that nature, what's the one bit of wisdom that you would impart to them?

Casi: Well, I think, a little bit of two different questions. From a nonprofit world, if you are deciding to engage in running a nonprofit or joining a nonprofit, I'm always amazed at how people think of it as "easy" or "nice" or "happy."

Marcus: It's work-light, right?

Casi: Yes, and guess what.

Marcus: No.

Casi: Those people who think that need not apply at Mobile Baykeeper. It's a business. It's a real live business. It's a leaner business than you're going to see in a lot of other cases. You can look at anything that is comparative to us, and you're going to see fat and higher salaries and a whole bunch of other perks that you don't have at a nonprofit organization.

If you want to get involved in it, it's a business. It's a full-on, especially, it's really been the hardest thing for me, or it was the hardest thing for me to learn as an environmental activist, if you will, I didn't realize that becoming the executive director meant I was becoming the president or CEO of a business. I've learned it off the cuff and I have had some phenomenal people teaching me along the way, and I think that's the biggest thing that people really need to understand.

Often, we are committed to working harder and smarter and faster, because it took a long time to mess up the environment. It's going to take us a while to get it improved, and most of us want to see something change in our lifetimes, especially before our children are old enough to have children.

Marcus: Absolutely.

Casi: We want to fix it, so if you want to get involved in the environment, there are a million different ways. Mobile Baykeeper is one of many organizations that sets up activities for you to do. Get involved, small, big, bring your bags to the grocery store and reuse them, don't get a straw at the restaurants, little things like that that make a giant difference, but also get involved.

Marcus: I don't have this as a question that I normally ask people, but you just mentioned some things that I never would've thought about, getting a straw at the restaurant, obviously, taking bags to the grocery store or recycling the bags, if you will. What are some other things that people wouldn't necessarily think of that they might want to consider?

Casi: The hardest thing for us to really consider, if the plug goes in your mind it starts to change your world, but it's single-use plastics. If you walk up and down any street, what you're going to find in terms of trash or litter, especially in the smaller pieces, is single-use plastic, the spoon, the fork, the styrofoam box at a restaurant, a million little tiny things that add up like crazy.

You've got to ask, what can you do to reduce your footprint? What can you do to put less in that trashcan? It's also less in the recycling bin, but I'd rather focus on less in the trash can. Recycling is easy, and we've got stations in Mobile. In Baldwin County, you've got people who come by, in some of your cities you have people in Baldwin County who pick up at your curbside. There's always a place to drop off a recyclable, and there's always a way. You might just have to carry it a little farther than you meant to.

In Mobile, I don't know about Fairhope and Baldwin County, but in Mobile there are several companies that do curbside pickup for ... pay them some money. To me, it's worth it.

Marcus: We live in TimberCreek, and they pick up every week. It's nice. Daphne, I think, sets that up.

Casi: Fairhope has some curbside as well, and if you're not on the route there are bins. They don't have the recycling center, but they have drop-off locations throughout the areas. You've got them now in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, and the rest of the world is really catching up, or we are really catching up to the rest of the world in terms of recycling. I think, it is not hard but it makes a huge difference.

Marcus: Very good. What are some resources that you found helpful? You mentioned coming to an understanding that being the executive director of a nonprofit is very much like being president or CEO. I recognize you've been doing this for a while now. Are there any books or any resources that you found very helpful in honing those skills of organizing volunteers or raising funds or managing people or whatever the topic may have been?

Casi: I am the product of entrepreneurial parents. Mainly, my father is one of those people who, we grew up in the Amway business, I'll just put it all out there. All of my youth, I was raised with The Power of Positive Thinking, Think and Grow Rich ...

Marcus: Norman Peale?

Casi: Norman Peale was big.

Marcus: Napoleon Hill?

Casi: Zig Ziglar, you name it, we listened to him on tapes in car rides. I got to hear how the power of positive thinking was going to mean success in everything that we do. I look at my life and I know that, were it not for those books, though we of course tortured our daddy about making us listen to them, they really made sure I always kept that focus on "we can win."

What I do is not easy, and being able to win is rare. Really win, stop something or get something or build something or don't build something, it's rare. You've got to stay positive and stay focused. Focus on that prize, no matter how far or distant it is.

The other resource, running a nonprofit and running a business, that I learned from the best, is the Nonprofit Resource Center for Alabama, namely Allison Black and Blackfish-something. They've been incredible. I've heard her and a couple of other folks from their team present on board development and how to run a nonprofit and stuff that I ...

Marcus: You can't go anywhere else for that kind of education, can you?

Casi: No, it's not easy. There is a local organization. There's a South Alabama Coalition of Nonprofits as well, and frankly I got all mine through Junior League of Mobile. That was a tremendous resource, and they offer resources. At least two or three times a year, they get a trainer in for community organizations like mine and Allison is often brought in and several others that they get in here.

Allison's board training is, it's just tremendous. It's a great way for me to learn. I learned what I'm supposed to do with the 990 and what I'm supposed to not do with the 990. It's enabled me to rep my board in, to help them understand that they have some fiscal responsibilities they don't want to avoid and things along those lines. I've learned a lot from those folks.

Marcus: Very good. The audience for this is primarily entrepreneurs and business owners. There are other people, too. Obviously, there's no limit to who can listen.

This idea of having a positive, going back to your idea or your listening to Power of Positive Thinking kind of things, when somebody is going down the path of thinking of starting a business, they have to have a mindset of "I can do this." There are a lot of other things that go into that. You have to make sure that there's somebody that's willing to pay you for it and that you can provide what it is that you're offering and so on and so forth, but if you don't have that mindset of "I'm going to do this" or "I have the skill set to make it happen," then you're ...

Casi: You're doomed before you get started.

Marcus: You're doomed before you even get started.

We were kind of joking about this beforehand, because I know that you don't have a lot of free time, but what do you like to do in your free time? Do you have any hobbies?

Casi: Well, I have that really cute kid, and I love spending time with that really cute kid. He's fun and he's neat and he's a reader, so it's always wonderful to get time with family.

I'll be honest with you. You know this. You have a baby and you disappear from the world. Then, about the time I went to reappear in the world, Coleman was two and a half, there was that BP oil disaster. It sucked up the rest of my world, and my friendships changed and all that kind of good stuff. In all honesty, now, my head is above water, so now it's about going back out in the world and finding friendships and getting to go eat good food, there's great food in this town, and going out on dates with my husband.

Marcus: "Who is he?"

Casi: Exactly.

Marcus: After owning a business for a long enough period of time, you begin to understand that whole, "Who are you again?"

Casi: Really, rebuilding friendships and maintaining friendships, you've heard this a million times, if you don't take care of yourself you can't take care of anybody else. Running a business is the exact same thing. You've got to make sure your house is clean and you want to go home to it. It's been amazing. That's what I'm looking forward to over the holidays as well, which is terrible.

Marcus: Yeah, just having some downtime.

Casi: Yup.

Marcus: Give us a look at an average day. What does that look like for you?

Casi: Average day is rarely average. We ask this question when we interview people. What do you do, how strictly tied are you to any to-do list that you make in a day? Often, you'll walk into Mobile Baykeeper, you'll have your "I'm going to do A, B, C, and D," and by B your world has been unearthed. It can be very hectic and very daunting, because you get that one member concern and it changes your whole focus.

Basically, we get in the office ... I'm an early riser, so I generally get up, go to gym before my family is up, and then I get home, get ready, and then get them up, get my child to school, get my husband up. He likes to sleep.

Then, we head into the day. I try to get to the office early. I like that hour before anybody else is there, and then get through emails, get through my to-do list and get it started, and then really work hard to make sure I'm connected with the team, because I honestly also believe that you're only as good as your team. If your team's got all the resources they need, then all of you can be and see real success.

A typical week, I work really hard not to have more than two night meetings a week.

Marcus: I know that's hard in your line of work, because there's a lot of involvement in the political side of things as well as the social side of things as well.

Casi: Volunteers need to meet after work, so that makes it hard, too. You've got volunteers who can have meetings.Their committee meeting or their whatever meeting is going to be between 6:00-9:00, and that's when I want to be home with my baby, too. I'm really good at being there on the weekends. We work it all out.

A typical day is really a lot of emailing, a lot of phone calls, a lot of writing, and then I pretty much can be in a situation where I'm in meetings from 8:00 in the morning until 8:00 at night.

Marcus: Oh, sounds like a lot of fun.

Casi: It really is. It's really, getting to meet and work with people I get to work with, it's pretty incredible.

Marcus: That's cool. Where can people find you?

Casi: Mobilebaykeeper.org is our website, "Mobile Baykeeper" on Facebook and Twitter, and then office number is 433-4229 or 433-4BAY.

Marcus: Very good. Any immediate needs that people need to know about and keep in mind? This may not go live for a month-ish. Any immediate needs that you think you'd like to put some feelers out, if anybody who's out there is interested in volunteering for something or if there's some fundraising that's needed or if you just want people to join and be a member?

Casi: Well, we all get started working on, we host the Grandman Triathlon in June, and there's a lot of work that goes into that upfront. We'll host Bay Bites again, which is our big fun fundraiser which is the food truck festival we've had down here. We're trying to find a place in Baldwin County, so you can help us with that.

Starting in the spring, we'll start doing cleanups. We try to get people, we have all the tools and resources for people to come pick it up and go out into your neighborhood and organize your very own cleanup. You're staring to get people back outdoors, you're starting to get them connected to the waterways, so that'll be a big chunk of what we do in the spring.

Marcus: It's a great way to meet people, too.

Casi: Oh, absolutely, and then April is our month. We generally speak to group after group after group, telling them what Earth Day is all about, and it always ends up being a whole lot of fun. If you're not involved, get involved in some way, shape, or form. There's always information and an activity to get involved in with Baykeeper.

Marcus: Absolutely. This area does depend very much on the environmental resources that we have to us through the bay and the beach and also all the inland areas, whether it be hiking or whatever. Just be cognizant of that as you're going through life.

I want to thank you for coming on the podcast. To wrap up, any final thoughts or comments you'd like to share?

Casi: No, thank you so much for having me. This has been a wonderful opportunity.

Marcus: Well, I appreciate your willingness to sit with me and share your journey as the head of a nonprofit. It's been great talking with you.

Casi: Thanks for having me.