May was Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, as we look back on their many accomplishments, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate the work of some of our own AAPI staff. One of our newest hires, Toni Rose Tablante, is a proud first generation American whose family emigrated from the Philippines.
Growing up, the self-described “over achiever” had to carve her own path in a community where she could’ve set to become a nurse or an engineer. She sought every opportunity to connect with the coast and eventually attended Rutgers University to study marine science. Being the only AAPI student in her major and navigating the ebbs and flows of her mental health journey, times were often isolating for Toni Rose. Nevertheless, she persevered and achieved the seemingly impossible goal of entering the marine field.
Since then, the budding coastal ecologist has lead skate egg case studies with youth and has most recently found a love of horseshoe crabs in her role as Habitat Restoration Technician with the American Littoral Society. She’s even being featured in the YouTube series, “Nature at Your Door.” In the video, Toni Rose is showing volunteers how to tag horseshoe crabs and teaching about how current populations are too low to maintain their role in the system – to not only sustain themselves but provide an abundance of eggs to support migratory shore birds.
Looking back at her experiences, Toni Rose notes how important representation is. She laughs as she mentions that the first time she met another AAPI in this field was at a recent staff meeting when she was introduced to our Fish Tagging Director Emily McGuckin. The American Littoral Society is proud to work with Asian American & Pacific Islanders, and credits this to one of our founding members, the Japanese-American Eugenie “Shark Lady” Clark. Elevating their efforts to restore habitat and improve policies is integral to our mission of protecting the coast.
For more information on the work we do, please visit littoralsociety.org.