The Beaches Watch Board of Directors is honored to select Kevin Brown as its “2024 Friend of the Beaches” award recipient, and he will be recognized at the Beaches Watch 20th Anniversary Celebration on March 6, 6-8pm at Beach Diner.

Brown is a staple within the beach communities, serving inside and outside the classroom at Fletcher High School, where he retired in 2021. However, retirement is not in Brown’s vocabulary as you can still see him volunteering as part of the field team for Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol (BSTP) since 2013. He is the PR guy as he heads up outreach and public education for BSTP.

In addition to BSTP, he started the dune protection program in 2019. Brown saw a need to protect our dunes and through partnering with Jacksonville Beach and Neptune Beach, the cities provided PVC, ropes and signs. As the marine science teacher, Brown saw a need for more student involvement and with the assistance of Gary Kirkland and Roger Wood, they started the Marine Coastal Club as part of the Marine/Environmental class at Fletcher High School. The club and citizen volunteers worked together to install the barriers and signs. It was truly a group effort, which is one of Brown’s life mottos.

Brown also served on the Beaches Watch board from 2016 – 2022. His sea oats project grew out of his involvement with Beaches Watch to support its mission to preserve our “Quality of Life” for our beach communities. The sea oats project started in 2010 as a class community project. However, the significance of how critical sea oats were in preserving and protecting our coastline did not really emerge until after Hurricanes Matthew and Irma slammed our coast in 2016-2017. Once the public was educated about the importance of sea oats, the project grew exponentially. Donations and planting events exploded and has now become part of our “beach culture.”

The Florida Marine Science Educators Association (FMSEA) and the National Educator of Marine Science Association selected Brown as the “2017 Marine Science Teacher of the Year.” His Marine Coastal Club also received several awards, including a resolution from the Jacksonville City Council (led by former city councilman, Bill Gulliford); national recognition from NPR, FMSEA, Sierra Club, and was selected as the “Community Champion” by the Jacksonville Jaguars – where the students were recognized at a Jags football game half-time show.

Given all these accolades, Brown will tell you his most proud achievement was inspiring and teaching his students the importance of taking care of where they live. Having his students volunteer at beach cleanups, which began in 2005, in partnership with the City of Jacksonville and its CLEAN JAX project, gave the students hands-on experience in seeing how detrimental litter, particularly plastics, was to our beaches and oceans. The most eye-opening thing for the students from these beach cleans-ups was how many hundreds of pounds of trash was removed from our shorelines. Brown’s passion and leadership inspired many of his students to seek careers in the environmental sector post-high school.

Beaches Watch President, Maria Mark said, “the board could not have recognized anyone more deserving than Kevin Brown as its 2024 Friend of the Beaches. This was just a mere snapshot of how Brown and his “army” has truly and selflessly enhanced and protected the quality of life for our beach communities.”

So, the next time you walk on the beach and see sea turtle nests staked out or the abundance of sea oats billowing in the wind, you can say a “thank-you” to Brown, his students, fellow teachers and all the volunteers who continue to carry on these projects – after all, this is for all of us.

Come celebrate our Beaches Watch 20th Anniversary and Kevin Brown receiving the “2024 Friend of the Beaches” Award!


Space is limited!