Cape Fear Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation
Sean Ahlum spent his formative years in southern New Jersey with his Pop-Pop, waking before sunrise to bail boats and set minnow traps in the tidal marsh behind his house. It is here where he learned his major life-lessons and also began a life-long love affair with the coastal environment of his home. Learning to surf in the fast hollow beach breaks of New Jersey, he developed a passion for the sport that still exists today. His Pop-Pop’s prophetic comment that Sean would never be anything more than an educated beach bum with his brains in his feet has set the course for his life. Sean also currently sits as the faculty/staff advisor to the UNCW Surfrider Group, the chair of Surfrider Foundation’s Board of Directors, a board of trustee for FOR Masonboro Island, and a state appointed representative on the Masonboro Island Local Advisory Committee.
Al Meadowcroft has been a resident of the Cape Fear Region for the past 15 year and has been surfing the world’s coasts for over thirty years. Al’s major reason for being involved with the Cape Fear Chapter is to preserve and protect the oceans and beaches for future generations while supporting education and awareness to current and future lovers of the ocean and environment. Al has been a member of the Cape Fear Chapter executive committee for the past 5 years.
Kure Beach / Carolina Beach Liaison
I moved to Wrightsville Beach in 2005 from Virginia and relocated to Carolina Beach in 2009. I started surfing in Virginia Beach and in the OBX. Surfing has been a guiding light in my life providing a physical release along with an emotional and spiritual connection to this world and the forces beyond. As a shaper making custom boards for the right waves also provides an artistic expression. Environmental consciousness has been a part of my whole life, from growing up gardening, spending time in the woods, sailing and fishing in the Chesapeake Bay, culminating in surfing and fishing here on the Cape Fear Coast. I feel very fortunate to live in Carolina Beach surrounded by the beautiful waterway, yacht basin, river, and ocean. This appreciation is the driving force to be a good steward of our natural environment. I joined Surfrider in 2004 during undergraduate studies. Once I found out there was a grass roots organization working hard to help protect the things on this earth I love so dearly I knew I had to help out and become a member.
Rise Above the Plastics Coordinator
Bonnie Monteleone comes from land-lock Elmira, NY where the closest thing to an ocean was the largest Finger Lake – Seneca. It was there she learned her love for the water whether she would be swimming, windsurfing, water skiing, or ice-skating. At age 5, Bonnie saw the ocean for the first time and knew then she would be back to stay. It took 40 more years, but by August of 2004, she made the North Atlantic coast her home. Her love for the ocean grew as she learned to scuba dive, paddleboard, and surf. But it hasn’t been all fun and games.
Three years ago, Bonnie went back to school to get her master’s in the Graduate Liberal Studies Program at UNCW. There she learned of the problems with plastic in the marine environment and decided to research this malaise for her final project. The research led to meeting and working with Captain Charles Moore sailing across the North Pacific “Garbage Patch” assisting with the 10-year anniversary resampling in that region. She also spearheaded sampling the North Atlantic with Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences as well as sailing from Brazil to South Africa with 5 Gyres Institute. Sailing the cobalt blue became another ocean passion with nearly 8,000 nautical miles at sea. To her chagrin all 137 samples from the three gyres contained plastics and has fueled her fervor for outreach. Bonnie has presented her findings to audiences both nationally and internationally.
Currently, Bonnie lives in Wilmington, NC and works in the UNCW Chemistry Office. She volunteers for the UNCW Marine Mammal Stranding Program, maintains a NC Monofilament Recovery and Recycling receptacle at Johnny Mercer Peer, is a member of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, and manages www.theplasticocean.blogspot.com. Bonnie cannot get enough of caring for the blue planet and connecting with those who feel the same.
Most recently, Bonnie joined Surfrider as the coordinator of Rise Above Plastics for the Surfrider Cape Fear Chapter and looks forward to working in tandem with Surfrider.
Growing up in the mid-west life didn’t start with surfing, but after 23 years in the Army and living in and around different parts of the world surfing quickly became a major part of my lifestyle. Having lived in many places overseas, California, Hawaii and now North Carolina I find the ocean, nature, and the environment as a whole have been an important and integral element of my life. When not spending time in the ocean I make my way capturing moments in images which I promote thru JMP Studio LLC and on a broader perspective hope to promote an awareness of the quickly vanishing natural resources so vital to the worlds health and quality of life. I live by the mantra “…travel to the ends of the earth…weather any hardship…endure the harshest extremes …what ever it takes…to live in the moment! Life is short so work hard to enjoy it and ensure its a better place when your gone.”
Volunteer Coordinator – Vacant
Marketing Manager – Vacant
Communications – Vacant
Treasurer – Vacant