Grace Gasper brings over 20 years of experience in conservation and the nonprofit sector to Friends of Coastal South Carolina. Through her years of experience she has gained a thorough understanding of the challenges of nonprofit management and development. Grace served as director of the medical clinic for The Avian Conservation Center for 11 years, has worked as a biologist on a variety of avian research projects across the country, and has been involved in swallow-tailed kite research in South Carolina for over a decade, including conducting kite research on Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge and the Francis Marion National Forest. Her efforts on behalf of conservation in South Carolina have been recognized by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Grace enjoys living in Awendaw, SC, adjacent to Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.
“Being part of Friends of Coastal South Carolina is exciting to me because the impacts of our work are significant and lasting. Because of Friends of Coastal South Carolina over 14,000 children a year learn about, and gain appreciation for, our natural resources. Work critical to conservation efforts on our refuges and the national forest happens because of our support. It’s grass-roots conservation at its best!”
Originally from Mooresville, North Carolina; Kristen earned her Master’s in Environmental Engineering and Earth Science from Clemson University. When she joined Friends of Coastal South Carolina in 2018, she was searching for a career that would allow her to share her passion for the environment and make a positive impact on conservation of our natural resources. Now, each day, she is able to share her passion for the natural world with students here in the Lowcountry.
In her first year as Education Programs Coordinator Kristen reached over 5,000 students. Kristen works hard to not only teach her students science, but also to infect them with her enthusiasm for protecting our environment.
Growing up Kristen would spend her time exploring the woods surrounding her house until her mother blew a whistle signaling “10 minutes until dinner”. Her love for the outdoors only increased with time. At Clemson, Kristen discovered camping and rock climbing. These outdoor explorations made her want to find ways to protect and give back to the places she had fallen in love with.
When not teaching in the Lowcountry, Kristen enjoys traveling to the mountains for hiking, camping, and rock climbing—still exploring until it’s time to come home for dinner.
“I believe that if we can spread knowledge of the environment and how to protect it, our young students can carry this knowledge with them for their whole lives”.
Alicia is a graduate from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Biology. Her passion for conservation and the preservation of our planet’s wonders has led her to South Carolina’s rich ecosystems. Her interest in Friends of Coastal South Carolina was derived from her belief that sharing knowledge with young stewards is the key to a cleaner, kinder future.
“With the right environmental education, children are the best ambassadors for environmental protection.”
Annie recently graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Marine Science. She is excited about the opportunity to inspire students to take care of the environment and share her passion for the ocean and coastal ecosystems. Annie’s favorite part of her internship has been developing her skills as an educator.
“There’s something so satisfying about finishing a lesson or program and feeling like I made a difference in the way a kid understands or appreciates nature.”