Just as the seasons are changing here in the Gulf coast (albeit slowly), GRN’s staff is also undergoing some changes. A few long-time team members are moving on to fresh adventures, current staff are taking on new roles and brand new folks are joining the fight for a healthy Gulf. Last month, we were sad to say goodbye to Jonathan Henderson, our Coastal Resiliency Organizer, who headed our monitoring work in the wake of the BP drilling disaster. Jonathan will continue to focus on protecting the Gulf with his new endeavor, Vanishing Earth, and we look forward to working with him. Scott Eustis, GRN’s Coastal Wetland Specialist, will be taking over much of our monitoring work. Several other members of our staff also moved on over the past year, and you can read more about that on page 5 of our most recent newsletter. We also recently hired four new folks: James Hartwell, who has volunteered with GRN for years, joined out team as our Coastal Wetland Analyst.Howard Page, a long-time organizer and advocate on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, is our new Mississippi Organizer. Johanna de Graffenreid, an environmental justice advocate focused on fighting fossil fuel extraction & infrastructure, was just hired as our Coastal Campaign Organizer. Megan Meyer, a New Orleanian glider pilot and long time volunteer joined the Development team as our Membership Coordinator.In addition to these new members of the team, Shona Clarkson, our former Development and Communications Coordinator, was recently promoted to Communication Specialist, where she will be heading up GRN’s media and communications work. Next year is going to be “make or break” for the future of the Gulf of Mexico. Decisions about how to spend and distribute billions of dollars in fines from the BP disaster will impact restoration efforts across the Gulf for years to come. Oil and gas companies are looking to build new, destructive pipelines and export facilities (like Sabal trail) throughout the region that will further damage coastal resources, put our communities at risk and exacerbate climate change. And the state of Louisiana is going to have to start making serious decisions about how to fund coastal restoration in the long-term (spoiler alert: big oil should help pay to fix the coast they broke). With all these huge challenges and more, I’m glad that we’ll be rolling into the New Year with an amazing team of dedicated staff to keep up GRN’s work to empower people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico! Raleigh Hoke is GRN’s Campaign Director.