Samantha Hilsenrod on the Gulf Restoration Network

20 Apr

by Samantha Hilsenrod

Founded in August 1995, the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) represents conservationists from communities across the Gulf of Mexico. The organization addresses the need for a unified approach to protecting the gulf and provides a forum for discussion of key issues. At its inception, the GRN listed several mission statements, including the reduction of pollution and runoff, sustainable management of local fisheries, limits on development, and protection of threatened species.

During its first three years of operation, the GRN existed as a project of the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, otherwise known as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund. After that point, the GRN became an independent nonprofit corporate. Today, eight permanent staff members and two consultants work with several other member and non-member organizations to preserve the gulf. The GRN strives to maintain the gulf’s position as a vital natural, recreational, and economic resource for those in five different states and three nations. The group hopes to motivate citizens of these areas to take initiative in protecting the gulf and restoring it to its former pristine condition.

To promote personal action, the GRN offers imperative support to various grassroots organizations while also giving them the training and knowledge needed for success. In addition, the GRN raises awareness among gulf communities by launching campaigns concerning water quality, sustainability, the proper use of energy, and hurricane preparation. At present, the GRN is working on a project to return national attention to the BP oil drilling disaster that took place almost a year ago. Although the media has moved on from the catastrophe, its effects continue to harm gulf communities and Congress has enacted no legislation to protect the waters from further damage. This coming Earth Day, the GRN hopes to rekindle a national movement for Congressional action through representation in neighborhoods throughout the United States. To get involved with the GRN, please visit

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