While Members Day is a time for the American Littoral Society to thank the people who make their work possible, the most popular attendee at the event wasn't even human.
Dassen, an African penguin who lives at Jenkinson's Aquarium, was the hit of the day, attracting non-stop attention from both children and adults.
But those in attendance on Saturday, June 10 also enjoyed great food from the Lusty Lobster, fun excursions around Gateway National Recreation Area's Sandy Hook Unit, and musical entertainment from the Danjos.
The American Littoral Society has been caring for the coast and based at Sandy Hook, NJ since 1961. With satellite offices in New York City, Boston, Sarasota and Millville, NJ the Society not only provides a voice for the Atlantic coast, but also protects and restores habitat while leading students young and old into the water to get their feet wet and their hands muddy.
Society members play a major role in helping the organization achieve advocacy objectives -- such as ensuring the public continues to have beach access -- and funding efforts to inform the general public about issues of concern for the coast.
Members Day is a free day of celebration for what Society members do for the organization. Members also elect a slate of board members at the event.
In addition to a bird-watching hike, seining in Sandy Hook Bay and a Fort Hancock history tour, this year members also got to enjoy the antics of Dassen, courtesy of Jenkinson's Aquarium. A native of an island off the coast of Africa, Dassen made herself at home in Littoral Society headquarters by preening, posing and gobbling down food.
Although a bit of a celebrity, having appeared in many TV shows, magazine photographs and articles, Dassen politely obliged every snapshot and stroke from Society members.
To learn more about the Littoral Society or to become a member, go to LittoralSociety.org.