My guest today is Eric Magers, the Executive Director of Seaside Sustainability and the Founder and CEO of the National STEM Honor Society. (I think it’s fair to say that he has A LOT going on.)
Eric focuses on creating multiple ways for people to “get into” these organizations and give. By tapping into multiple motivations—like training, accreditation, and philanthropic behavior— and weaving them together, you can make it easier for people to get excited and become more directly engaged. This will enhance your ability to bring people in and stay financially healthy.
Eric and I had a great conversation that focused on exactly how his organization layers both motivations and revenue streams. We also discussed how to leverage virtual opportunities to expand outreach and engage stakeholders.
And, like Relish Studio, both of Eric’s organizations are part of the 1% for the Planet program. It is always great to chat with like-minded leaders who are also interested in improving the climate!
Hope you enjoy!
Check this one out. It’s a ton of fun.
National STEM Honor Society
Action Ask: Never underestimate your power to make the world a little bit sustainable. Know where every dollar you spend goes. Think globally and act locally.
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Engaging Stakeholders By Addressing ALL Their Motivations With Eric Magers From Seaside Sustainability And STEM Honor Society
My guest is Eric Magers. He is the Executive Director of Seaside Sustainability and is also the Founder and CEO of the National STEM Honor Society™. He has a lot going on. In both of these organizations, he has created opportunities to layer both motivations and revenue streams, creating multiple ways for people to come into the organization as well as give to the organization. This enhances their ability to bring people in and make sure that their organization is healthy from a revenue standpoint. They’re also a 1% for the Planet partner. My company, Relish Studio, is one of those as well. I had a great time talking with Eric. I hope you enjoy this episode.
Eric, how are you?
I’m great. How are you?
I’m doing very well. It’s great to have you on the show. We connected a couple of months ago on a quick call and got to learn a lot more about your organization, Seaside Sustainability. You’re associated or do a lot of work with the National STEM Honor Society™ as well. That’s cool.
Thank you for hosting me. I appreciate it.
It’s my pleasure. Tell us a little bit more about your journey into the nonprofit space, Seaside, and National STEM.
Thank you for the opportunity. I’ve been mission-driven for a very long time. Sustainability has been part of my life since 1970. My mom was pregnant with me on the first Earth Day. It goes way back there. I didn’t live a hippy, crunchy life my entire life, but I was instilled with the values of being a steward of the earth. I was a teacher for twenty years. In the last ten years of it, I created a program called Green Scholars. Green Scholars is project-based learning in sustainability for middle school and high school students.
We train lots of people all over the country. What the program does is it is giving students the opportunity to run a sustainability project in their school, district, or community that has actionable effects on their school. It’s not a course or a curriculum where the teacher has all the answers, and they’re pontificating and regurgitating information. It’s about students learning how to be a business person or run a project. Products range from sustainable food to outdoor gardens to hydroponics and aquaponics to complete waste reduction, building onsite compost systems, creating waste management systems, and solar wind power.
A couple of our schools reduced waste by 85%. We’ve had considerable energy reduction and water reduction. Campuses have been changed to sustainable indigenous planting. They don’t need water, pesticides, and herbicides. It’s an amazing program. That was a predominant part of my career for the last several years, and then in 2017, I left.
I had already started Seaside Sustainability in 2016, and then in 2017, I left teaching to put some energy into it and figured I wanted to have a bigger impact on the world. Sustainability is in my heart and soul. I wanted to have a bigger impact on more schools, students, and people by creating sustainable communities locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally, so I started Seaside Sustainability. It has been quite a ride ever since.
Do not just pump lots of crap into the universe just to increase your footprint sustainability.
You took a lot of the learning around Green Scholars and focused it on ocean-based sustainability. Is that accurate?
It is accurate. The Seaside Sustainability and National STEM Honor Society™ are both run pretty much because of COVID. Both of them are run on shoestring budgets and modeled after a project-based learning and internship program that we started with Green Scholars. Seaside Sustainability has an amazing internship program. For the National STEM Honor Society™, we’re trying to model it. They turn on their application and turn it off about six weeks later, and then they have about a 45:1 application to a higher ratio.
Seaside Sustainability is crushing. It’s based on putting students into actionable teams. We have fellow directors and a wonderful board. Many of our board members are volunteer staff as well. Half of our board works with our interns in all these departments, programs, legislation, projects, education, and Green Scholars. We also have a consulting arm, like marine sciences. We have all of these different projects going on simultaneously locally around Gloucester, MA, and Cape Ann on the North Shore of Boston, both regionally and nationally. We’re working with some international work as well.
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a lot of young nonprofit entrepreneurs as well as a couple of other organizations that are very similar to what you are doing in terms of bringing in kids and getting kids inspired to be part of the solution for climate change or other environmental causes. One that comes to mind is Cottonwood Institute, and the other is an organization called Shoulder to Shoulder that puts kids into volunteer capacities in communities. They get to work hands-on with the people that are going to benefit from those programs. The idea of both of these is to foster this love of nature and the nonprofit space as well as help build leadership. It’s great to hear that you’re doing that as well.
Our internship program and its foundation is we have an accredited internship in almost 1,000 colleges and universities, which means that students who attend those colleges or universities can get a pre-approved credit to be working for Seaside Sustainability. We have the same thing over at the National STEM Honor Society™. We don’t have that many. We surpassed 900, but there is a lot of work in getting that, which helps attract a whole different caliber of interns.
We also have volunteer interns. In the summertime, most of our interns are probably taking it for credit. Throughout the year at Seaside, it’s probably half. In the National STEM Honor Society™, probably a quarter of the students take it for credit. In both, we have a lot of professionals. We have people that have changed careers or are going back to school. I remember a moment when she demanded to be called an intern. She was 70 years old. She was like, “I don’t want to be special,” so she was an intern. She was in all of our meetings. It was cool.
Having the reality of us all being virtual poses a lot of challenges. In Seaside Sustainability, we have 58 interns. Over at the National STEM Honor Society™, we have 54. At Seaside, we’re not turning people away, but on the National STEM Honor side, we’re selective, but we are not at the 45:1 applicants. It’s amazing to put them into teams and give them a task of whatever it is, whether it’s business development or marketing or working in marine sciences locally or regionally. It could be all that. It’s exciting to watch and see them develop and build their leadership skills and 21st-century skills. It’s a great thing to witness. Both of the organizations are very STEM and sustainably-focused oriented. They work hand in hand together. I believe the best way to get sustainability into school is through STEM.
One of the things that I heard you mentioned, which I do very much love, is the idea of being able to tap into multiple motivations for people. This is something that we’ve been trying to get our arms wrapped around in terms of trying to discover ways to help other nonprofits figure this piece out. People tend to want to engage with nonprofits because it makes their hearts feel good or feel like they’re giving back. There’s that philanthropic component of it.
What you have done, which is fantastic, is that you’ve weaved in the training and the accreditation piece to that. That becomes this opportunity to tap into multiple components within our own motivational structure from a psychological standpoint. It’s powerful, and it sounds like you’re doing great stuff with it.
My favorite part about both of these organizations is the teaching aspect, but it’s not teaching in the sense of me pontificating what I know and people absorbing it. It’s supporting our interns, and our collaborative effort is creating teams. We’re supporting them in what they’re doing and creating a learning and teaching atmosphere that is collaborative and supportive. It’s wonderful. I appreciate you acknowledging that.
That’s one of our biggest assets other than the work we do. The way we carry out our work and our ethical ways of doing it is by encouraging our young audiences from around the world. Seaside attracts a unique type of person, and the National STEM Honor Society™ attracts a unique type of person, but both are international. We have interns that are all over the world. Sometimes, it’s challenging to get into a conversation with somebody trying to establish a conversation when they’re twelve hours away, but it works. We get it done.
That’s one of the things that I also hear your optimism and enthusiasm for is this opportunity that has come out of the virtual space that we’re all existing in at this point in terms of our ability to meet and interact in person and how that shifted and posed some challenging things in your organizations. However, it also opens up a ton of opportunities where you can reach people that normally you wouldn’t have been able to necessarily reach if your programming was completely 100% in person.
I agree with you. I’ve heard a lot of issues with unpaid internships. It’s challenging for a lot of people because of their need to make a living. One of the major advantages of this opportunity is they can do it from their bedroom or living room. They don’t have to commute. They don’t have to pay for any of the travel expenses. They just need a pretty strong Wi-Fi or phone internet.
It has become accessible to a lot more people than it was before because of this virtual aspect. We always had virtual people, but it wasn’t the norm. Now, we don’t have anyone in person because their offices were shut down. Both are completely virtual. It has leveled the playing field of who can be an intern with us. It’s exciting to see such a diverse array of people in both organizations.
That’s an interesting item of discussion there in terms of leveling the playing field. I like that language and the idea that an internship can be a very challenging thing to take on from a financial standpoint for a lot of people. I can imagine that short-term rent in the Boston area is probably not either accessible or inexpensive, and then you couple that with travel and set up costs and all of those other things. All of a sudden, it becomes a heavy lift not only because of those aspects but also the fact that you’re going to be working for free or trying to figure out short-term employment there as well. I love hearing that you guys have leaned into this virtual world. It has become more predominant, and that is an asset. It opens things up for a whole host of people that might not have been able to participate.
It’s sometimes a little challenging when people don’t have strong internet. It’s one of the main things you have to have, and you have to be a good applicant. We have some interns that do their internships in coffee shops. We have some that do their internships where they work when they get off, so they do their 3 hours, 4 hours, or 2 hours before and after the shift because they have a strong internet connection.
I appreciate you acknowledging that. It’s exciting to have a mix of people, races, and languages. In both organizations, if I average them, we probably have fifteen different countries and the same languages as their first languages. There are lots of English as a second language or English language learners. It’s exciting.
Tell me a little bit more about what the activities are that your interns participate in. Are they doing outreach? What are they doing in those two-hour periods of time that they’re online?
You need money to live. Be sure to achieve a good balance of having multiple income streams and doing your part in building sustainable communities.
To clarify, our interns work in both organizations. Let me clarify what my role is. In Seaside Sustainability, I’m the Founder and Executive Director. In the National STEM Honor Society™, I am the Founder and CEO. In both of them, it’s the same internship. We have leadership. They’re called fellows and directors, and then we have project managers and interns. We have about 54 or 55 interns in both organizations, but both are creeping up slowly together. We don’t want to get too big too fast.
Interns are expected to work in both organizations for a minimum of fifteen hours a week. They can work more if they’re getting credit. Sometimes, they work a semester and then work 30 to 35 hours a week. We don’t take interns that can’t work less than fifteen. It’s the number that works for us. The minimum with us is four months. It’s 15 hours a week for 4 months, and that’s about 240 hours. They can work more. Lots of our interns come on for four months, and they’re like, “I want to stay.” One of the wonderful things about working for both of these organizations is they constantly stand on the shoulders of giants and pass their work off to different teams and make the teams better. It’s exciting.
To answer your question, in both organizations, they choose 1 or 2 departments or projects they want to get involved with. Although, we encourage them to come at this with like, “What are my learning goals?” whether they’re going this for credit or not. What do you want to get out of it? We want to accommodate you. You’re coming here for an internship at both of these organizations. What can we give you as you leave and go into your next step?
In Seaside Sustainability, we have a program called Green Scholars. It’s project-based in learning and sustainability. We’re reinvigorating that. I used to train on it across the country. I’d go to schools or conferences and present on it. People would come and pay a registration fee, but with COVID, I don’t want to travel around and do training in this thing. Also, going back to equity and access, the only people that are paying me to go to their school and give them this training, generally speaking, are more affluent communities. I don’t want it to be for affluent communities. I want it to be for everyone. That’s why we’re putting Green Scholars on an online platform.
Our interns work on several projects in this redevelopment of it. It’s one thing getting training from me, an all-day eight-hour training, giving them all the materials, and then being there to be their support when I leave and go back to wherever I am. It’s a completely different animal for it being online. As you can imagine, there are challenges in creating this online curriculum structure. That’s what that group is doing. We have a legislation group. They work on several kinds of divisions of legislation. We’ve done a lot of single-use plastic legislation. Rockport, Massachusetts, is where our office used to be. We created with our interns one of the most comprehensive, single-use plastic bands in the country, which is amazing.
We’re doing a lot of single-use plastic legislation. Locally, regionally, and nationally, we’re working on a circular economy. We’re working on letter campaigns with legislators on both local, state, and national. Our interns are interacting with them. We have a marine science program. We’re a seabin distributor. A seabin is a floating trash can connected to a floating dock. It constantly sucks in floating marine debris. We’re a distributor for the Northeast, New England, and New York. It’s exciting.
We have a department that works on field research and field projects. We’re retooling that because of COVID. We’re taking this opportunity to write a lot of grants and determine what we want that to be. We have a human resources department. We have a department of six interns, and all they do is work on human resources. They onboard and do all the interviewing. If you can imagine 45:1 applicants to hire, there’s a lot of work that has to be done. It’s pretty amazing.
We’ve done a lot of consulting with schools in the past. Similar to our Green Scholars, we’re working on redeveloping that and getting into more schools. I put it on hold as well because I had to be there in person. This whole COVID thing is making us redesign things, which is exciting and more sustainable in general. We have a whole grant writing team. We also have a tech team. They work on all things tech to keep our organization running, everything from issues with Google docs to different plugins. We have a sustainability calculator as well, which we should be unveiling in the next few months. We’ve been working on that for a couple of years.
We also have a massive marketing department. Take a look at our social media on all the platforms and our newsletter. Feel free to subscribe. We have a great marketing department, and that’s run with leadership by two of our board members, John and Ashley. They’re wonderful. We also have a development team. They are working on the development of the organization and events.
That’s exciting. It’s cool to know that someone can come on, sign up as an intern for the four months, get 240 hours of experience, be able to take that into the real world, and apply it based on this immersive experience that they’ve had over the course of the last four months. I went to college in Colorado Springs at a school called Colorado College, and they are on the block plan. It worked well for me because I tend to get distracted if I have too many things coming at me at once.
We would take classes for three and a half weeks and then switch classes. You were getting a semester’s worth of instruction and credit in a three-and-a-half-week block. I know that might not work for everybody, but it was a great way to dive into something new or something foundational and fundamental that I needed to learn and be able to get steeped in that for such a very focused period of time. I love that it’s similar to the program you put together.
My partner at the National STEM Honor Society™ always says to interns, “You’re not picking up cleaning and getting coffee.” These interns are doing the work. The wonderful part of it is when you have a project that’s developing, we always have overlaps. It’s not like all the interns leave in May and come back in June. There are new interns coming on. They’re getting trained at the highest level. It’s like standing on the shoulders of giants. It’s a wonderful program. It’s super exciting.
It sounds like you, at least particularly with Seaside Sustainability, you’re not having any problems getting applicants there, so your intern list is full. It sounds like you’re moving pretty quickly in that direction at the National STEM Honor Society™ as well. You mentioned grants, so grants have become a component of a lot of the stuff you do to raise money and fund all of this stuff. I’m assuming there are also donations. Do you have corporate sponsors as well?
In Seaside, you’ve hit the nail on the head. It’s corporate sponsors, grants, donations, and events, although our in-person events have dried up. It’s a challenging time. Acknowledging that a lot of time, energy, and money needs to be going into our COVID crisis to get through this. A lot of granting agencies changed their perspective and their focus on COVID relief. It has been a challenge to keep the doors open, but that’s good.
The challenge with the National STEM Honor Society™ is that we started developing that a few years ago. As soon as I left teaching, I started developing the National STEM Honor Society™. We launched during a pandemic. You can imagine how successful we’ve been. Even though we get a lot of interest from schools, it’s more or less like, “This seems cool, but I’m pulling my hair out to figure out what tomorrow is going to look like at my school, so we’re not going to add anything more.” Their schools are not doing a whole lot more of adding programs.
Although the National STEM Honor Society™ is on a lot of people’s radar, they’re just trying to get through the day-to-day operations of going virtual or hybrid and what in-person looks like. There’s also grading, SATs, and college preparation. They’re like, “How do you do this with phys ed?” We have so many challenges, so the National STEM Honor Society™ is not the focus of many people.
In the National STEM Honor Society™, we have three income streams. Over at Seaside, we also have a store as well, but at the National STEM Honor Society™, we have a membership fee. It’s a very reasonable membership fee. It’s $295 per chapter per year. It’s not per member, so you can be a member of your chapter at your school. We do not require you to pay a fee to us. Each chapter could have a fee. We suggest that it’s not over $20. We suggested in our bylaws and our constitution that we like it to be nothing. We go and try to find some corporate sponsors or some donations. You don’t need to be charging the students because we want it to be equitable and accessible.
We have that $295 per chapter per year. We also have two departments of eCommerce. One is for public consumption. We’re about to launch that. It’s t-shirts and hats. We’re not trying to add a lot of junk to the world, but we try to get STEM fun and engaging. They’re interesting t-shirts, and I don’t want to say swag because it’s not like we’re not trying to throw a lot of stuff out there, but it’s fun, interesting, and engaging merchandise.
Over 90% of all garbage in storm drains ends up in the ocean.
On the other side, that merchandise is only for our chapters and our chapter members. It’s banners and things to recognize students, like pins, cards, certificates, awards, and also our member-specific merchandise, which are hats, t-shirts, polos, and hoodies. If you look at some of our competitors, they’re pumping out tons of crap, and I don’t want to pump lots of crap into the universe and increase our footprint. We’re a benefit corporation in the National STEM Honor Society™. In Sustainability, we have three commitments. One of them is sustainability. The other one is equity and access, which is ideas, inclusion, and diversity. The third one is community and connectivity. We want to support those kinds of institutions.
I commend the desire not to put a whole bunch of more stuff out there. It’s a challenge because that’s the thing you see people doing. They’re leaning on more branded materials that start to increase that footprint in terms of visibility. It’s good to hear that you’re on board with creating materials that are useful as opposed to just being out there.
We subscribe to the triple bottom line, which is people, planet, and profit. We want to be an ethical organization. My heart is in sustainability. That’s where I’ve come from. I want that to be something that we focus on. We’ve brought that into the National STEM Honor Society™. It’s not just environmental sustainability, but it’s also cultural and ethical sustainability. It’s not all about making a profit. We use our profits to better our world and not to line our pockets.
It also sounds like you’re creating this new generation of leaders who have had at least some contact with these types of thinking, which that in itself is paying it forward in a lot of ways in terms of these people who are interns that are going to go on to create businesses or work for a for-profit or not-for-profit companies and be able to take all of the learning and knowledge that you’ve contributed to them to those new organizations and hopefully, continue to spread that ethos.
I agree. It’s interesting because, on Seaside, we get a lot of applicants and interests in the environmental realm, but also a lot of business students and marketing students. Now, we’re starting to get HR students and technical students. At the National STEM Honor Society™, they’re not science, technology, engineering, or math students. They’re business students and marketing students. We get students interested in sales and go to school for sales. As students, they’re going to school for PR and eCommerce. Every one of our students in our video team is either going to school for video or that’s their interest when they go to school.
It’s the same thing with our website and IT students. We do a little bit of training on website and IT, but our platform is WordPress. Especially in the National STEM Honor Society™, they’re getting real-world experience here, but that’s what we’re doing in our chapter or in our school to increase their real-world experience in project-based learning in STEM. Our ethos or our organization of how we do business is exactly how we want our chapters to operate. We’re hopefully leading by example. It’s exciting.
I love all of the overlapping stuff that you have. We talked a little bit about dual motivations or multiple motivations in terms of bringing people in. The other piece that I’m seeing that you’ve done a great job of is layering a variety of different ways for income and revenue. Not only do you have the standard nonprofit donations, grants, and those types of corporate sponsorships or activities, but you also have a retail layer, so you can always lean on that diversity of revenue streams to help fuel your continued success.
I want to mention the Chair of the Board, Alan McCoy, over the Seaside. He’s the best. Also, my partner and President of the National STEM Honor Society™, Ken Hecht. I tell everybody that I have two major weaknesses or blind spots. One is marketing. I’m terrible about tooting my own horn. I never will. I’m doing it here because it seems like that’s what the focus is. The other is money. I’m not motivated by money. I’m motivated by the ideals and the direction. The good thing is I need that because you need money to live. That’s a good balance to have the direction and mission focus you were talking about and the multiple income streams, even in this challenging economy.
That’s what’s nice. When you’re diversified, it’s not like all your eggs are in a single basket, and if that basket gets broken, all of a sudden, you’re scrambling for how you are going to get more eggs. It’s always good. I always like to see the diversification of revenue streams and being able to lean on the idea that nonprofits can have a transactional revenue component. Knowing that that’s there and it’s something you can come back to and lean on and expand if desired is super cool. I have one question about that. You did mention those seabins. Are those something that you sell or distribute as well?
We did not produce them. They’re out of Australia. Our territory is New England and New York. Take a look at seabin, and if you contact them, they’re going to send you to us. They’re great. They are a wonderful idea. It’s a great educational product. They are a little expensive. We have a couple in Gloucester and one in Rockport. We’ve sold several. It’s a great educational tool.
If someone is looking at this product, do not forget that it is a great educational tool. If we have an outing with schools or a corporate group down in Gloucester or Rockport, we always bring them down in the seabin. That’s something that they remember. It is an amazing educational tool because it is an opportunity to talk about flora and fauna, sea life, protecting and being a steward, and the opportunity because it’s right there in the harbor or the dock. To go and empty it and get different groups doing it is an amazing opportunity.
Some people, when they look at the seabin, they go, “The price point is not affordable, so I’m not going to look at it.” We have 24/7 video cameras on it so you can see what it’s sucking up. They’re exciting. It’s a great product. It’s a great solution, although not getting the plastic in the ocean to begin is the ultimate. I’m going to put on my John Russo hat. John is a board member and also a co-director with Ashley. John is all about the circular economy. John and I collectively, although we’re trying to figure out how we do it, want to move some of our legislation into the circular economy to prevent plastic from being produced in the first place. It’s not our fault that it’s not being recycled. It’s a big sham. It’s the veil that has been pulled over our eyes for years, as you probably know.
You mentioned how the seabin is used as a teaching tool where you are analyzing the materials that get sucked up into the seabin and captured. It could be a research tool there to start to analyze what’s single-use plastic-type refuse versus things that might have had a little more longevity. My guess is that it’s almost 100% the former.
With that, there’s almost an opportunity to sell that as a revenue generator for some of these marinas and docks in terms of bringing people down to see what’s being collected. It’s a little bit of a reach, but it feels like there might be an opportunity for that pitch to be made in terms of you can recoup some of the costs because it’s going to bring people down to that location.
That’s interesting. I’ve never thought about that. You have to go to the unit, turn it off, and empty it. It depends on the location of the marine debris coming by, the amount of seaweed, where it is, and what flora and fauna are. It’s a conversation starter no matter who you’re talking to. From our personal experience, after a rainstorm, tons of cigarette butts come with those things. It is the number one found marine debris in the world.
You have millions of people smoking. They have this little butt, and they flick it on the ground. I never knew before getting into this work that over 90% of all of our storm drains in the country lead to the ocean. I never thought about it because I was like, “I don’t know. Why would I ever think about that?” I then realized that it goes into a stream and then to a river, then the lake, and then it finds its way into the ocean. That’s why there are so many darn cigarette butts. It’s because so many people are flicking a little one in the street.
That’s an interesting concept. People either perceive their contribution as being so small, either positively or negatively, that it doesn’t even matter. That’s true to a certain extent, except when you start to pile all of those little contributions together. It can make a huge difference. For example, my business, Relish Studio, is a 1% for the Planet partner. One percent doesn’t sound like much, but if everybody were to give 1% and look at the GDP, that’s an enormous amount of revenue given to environmental nonprofits in a given year.
That’s awesome that you’re 1%. I’m very impressed. That’s cool.
Never underestimate your power to lead a sustainable lifestyle and share it with others.
We always had a pro bono and philanthropic wing to what we do, but we wanted to formalize that. About a couple of years ago, we joined 1% for the Planet. Their motto is that everyone has a 1%, whether that’s volunteer time or some pro bono work that you can lump in or monetary donations. It’s always something that can be added to the global good.
Seaside is a 1% organization.
That’s awesome. That is good to know. To anyone out there that’s reading this who is looking for a nonprofit to contribute to 1% for the Planet, look at Seaside.
We’re right in the beginning stages of the National STEM Honor Society™ and working on what NSTEM cares about, our causes, what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it. We need money to be able to give, so it’s not a focus at the moment, but we will be doing some of that in the future as well.
There’s always an opportunity to do those things, and I encourage everyone to consider that.
I appreciate the plug.
We’re closing in on this episode. The overlapping things you are doing with both organizations that are a cool thing for other nonprofits to keep in mind are how they can increase the desire to participate based upon creating a secondary motivation. How can they add another revenue stream that maybe they hadn’t thought of before? It’s cool to see you leading by example in those areas, and I commend you for that work. It’s cool. How can people find you? What are the URLs for both of your organizations?
It’s Seaside Sustainability. Type that in, and you’ll get to us. Our website is SeasideSustainability.org. Both of the organization is on all social media. Type us in your favorite social media platform, and I’m sure we will pop up. National STEM Honor Society’s website is NSTEM.org. Both organizations have a whole lot of videos. NSTEM has a bunch of YouTube videos.
NSTEM has a lot of media platforms. Take a look at those. We’ve created the National STEM Honor Society™, not just for a high school program. It’s K to Career, so from elementary school through college. We wanted to produce STEM-focused students. If you know people in school at all levels and they’re STEM-focused, this could be a great chapter for them and their school and Seaside Sustainability, but Seaside is not a chapter-based organization.
It’s great that kids or young adults can potentially get college credit or some credit for their work with Seaside. That’s a great value add where you’re doing some great things for the planet and our oceans and getting a little bit of great training and some credit for your efforts.
We get asked a lot about volunteer hours. We work with high schools and colleges on volunteering. Also, the National STEM Honor Society™ became a member of the Presidential Service Award, so we can give those out. Seaside is right behind there. We’re in the process of unveiling both of those in the new year of 2021.
I’m excited to learn more and follow your progress. If you’ve checked out any of the episodes, in the end, I like to celebrate our conversation but also try to motivate our audience to take some action. One of the things that are missing in a lot of our conversations is what you should do. If you had one thing for our audience to do after reading this, what would you have them do?
I have my own mantra. Although it has been extrapolated and borrowed over a little bit, my own mantra is never to underestimate your power. How you lead and how you can share your sustainable lifestyle is super important. You can tell others. You can do something. If you have the ability to change something about your life to make it a little more sustainable, it’s amazing. Many people get caught up in the day-to-day like, “There’s so much to do. How do you do it?” Start somewhere and do it. Tell your friends and your family. That’s one.
Two is being a consumer. Know where you spend your dollars. Do a little bit of research on product A versus product B versus product C. It’s important that we all do a little bit better. You could be an informed consumer. You could spend 1% of your dollars to do that, or volunteering for 1% for the Planet does that too. Take a look at that. The statement that everybody knows is to think globally and act locally. How does the world influence your actions? What can you do right there in your family, kitchen, bathroom, house, property, condo, apartment, city block, or town? What can you do there, and how does it affect the rest of the world?
Those are all great things for people to do. I would encourage everyone to take at least one of those and try and make a change in how you’re approaching your day and make those happen.
Thank you, Stu.
Thanks so much for being on the show. I appreciate it. It’s good to talk with you again. I know that we talked about having some of your team on the show, and I’m looking forward to that as well. We will hopefully talk again soon.
Thank you so much too.
Have a great day.
About Eric Magers
As a teacher and experiential education trainer for over 30 years, I have been on the cutting edge of efforts to engage young people in STEM and sustainability. My passion is to motivate others through inventive project-based learning to join the crucial work of caring for our planet. When we create environments in our schools and communities that promote and value responsible action, youth are encouraged to become leaders in this work.
My work has garnered many state and national awards, and I have been recognized at the White House twice for my work in education. I was gratified to be nominated as Science Educator of the Year for developing Green Scholars, a curriculum that grew from one school into a national program for training students to be environmental leaders in their communities.
Since leaving my position as a public school teacher, I have founded and am now director of two organizations, Seaside Sustainability and the National STEM Honor Society. Both have the ultimate goal of infusing more STEM and sustainability into education systems all over the globe.
In addition to two Master’s degrees in education, I hold a Project-Based Learning Certificate from the University of Pennsylvania and a Leading Sustainable Innovation Professional Certificate from the University of Vermont.
I was born in the year of the first Earth Day to parents who instilled in me an appreciation of the fragility of our environment and our obligation to protect it. Growing up on the ocean and mountains of New England, I became passionate about being a steward of our earth. I like to educate others with a simple mantra: Never underestimate your power; be an informed consumer; think globally and act locally.