1. Inform
  2. Educate
  3. Protect
  4. Celebrate


The Health, Beauty and Ecosystem of Our Beaches is Under Threat.

Beach Driving

Driving on the beach

The driving cause for most of these problems is overdevelopment and poor coastal management. If no buildings crowded the shoreline, there would be no shoreline armoring, beach nourishment, threats to the beach fauna and flora or shoreline erosion problems.

The work of the Santa Aguila Charitable Trust will emphasize the impacts of sand mining and shoreline armoring: the first because the effects of sand mining have been largely ignored on a global scale and the latter due to its overwhelming negative impacts on the world’s beaches.

  • Coastal Care Introduction: The world’s beaches are in dire need of attention.
  • Sea Level Rise: There is no debate: sea level rise is happening right now and threatens all of our beaches.
  • Poor Coastal Development: Even a single building negatively impacts a beach, so it is hard to imagine what hundreds of them might do.
  • Shoreline Armoring: Sea walls and constructed rock shorelines are not beautiful vacation destinations and can eventually destroy the natural beach.
  • Sand Mining: Right now, sand is being taken off beaches all over the world destroying beach habitat, accelerating erosion, and reducing protection from storms.
  • Pollution: Pollution is hazardous to animals and plants, takes many forms, and is an increasing global problem.
  • Mangrove & Coral Destruction: Development and beach construction projects destroy critical habitat for beach plants and animals everyday.



The Beach Ecosystem is Made Up of Living and Non-Living Parts.


Heavy mineral accumulations

Plants and animals and sand and water influence each other, often amidst breathtaking scenery. Greater than the sum of its parts, beaches sustain major portions of global biodiversity. With over half the world’s population living within 50 km of the coast, human influence on that biodiversity is inevitable, making the study of beaches even more important.

  • Beach Basics: Learn how a beach is defined, why beaches are different colors, and the parts of a beach.
  • Exploring the Sand: Sand is a major part of most beaches. Learn some details about sand that you might not know.
  • Waves: What causes waves to break, different types of waves, and rogue waves.
  • Tides: Learn about tides, storm surges, and sea level rise.
  • Sand Dunes: Sand dune formation, types of dunes, and where they exist.
  • Flora and Fauna: The beach is home to scores of amazing plants and animals. Learn just a few of these and make your next visit to the beach a treat.
  • Seashells: Seashells are an important part of biological and geological beach processes as well as an important part of human culture.
  • Safety: Follow these safety tips to reduce risk of danger at the beach.



You Can Make a Difference and Help Save Our Beaches


Low tide seawall marsh, Pivers Island

Learn simple things that you can do to help protect beaches starting with simply educating others about the beach thereby helping us celbrate the beauty of the world’s beaches.

  • Advocacy: Learn what the experts are saying on major beach issues. Follow these simple tips to make sure your impact is reduced and others can enjoy the beach too.
  • Petition on Sand Mining: Sign our petition to end global beach sand mining.
  • Petition on Hardened Beach Structures: Sign our petition supporting the ban on hardened beach structures in North Carolina.
  • Donate: Support our mission.


How do you celebrate the beach? Let us know!

Celebrating the beach is key! Compete in our drawing contest, write a poem, share a photograph, tell a story or play a game. The beach holds something for everyone!

  • Art Contest: Send us your art and it may end up on this site.
  • Games: Mazes, puzzles, crosswords, coloring activities, and more.
  • Resources: Our growing list of all things coastal.
  • Beach Poetry: Drawing the line in the sand.

Surfing in / Celebrate

The World’s Beaches : A Global Guide to the Science of the Shoreline

” Beaches are the most dynamic features on Earth, constantly changing shape and providing vital ecological functions and a home to environments of amazing biodiversity. Understanding the importance of the beach’s role is crucial to its protection and preservation.” – Santa Aguila Foundation.

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Global Climate Change: A Primer

This timely, informative book is exactly what the public needs to understand the ongoing disruption of the earth’s climate. The authors present an excellent summary of what we know, and what we don’t know, about the planet’s climate. A book by Orrin H. Pilkey, Keith C. Pilkey, illustrated with batik art by Mary Edna Fraser
, and published by Duke University Press.

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Shifting Sands and Rising Seas

“In a time of rising seas, it is senseless and dangerous to build on barrier islands.” World-renowned coastal geologist Orrin H. Pilkey and artist Mary Edna Fraser, an internationally recognized master of the textile art of batik, bring an understanding of coastal geology and global change to the public in a way that is scientifically astute and visually intriguing. By Celie Daily and Orrin Pilkey.

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Lilly and Minot Visit the New Orleans Oil Spill

In this witty and charming book, which provide a whimsical look at the environment, Lilly and Minot travel to New Orleans to help clean up the oil spill in the Gulf of New Mexico. A children’s book from the ” Lilly and Minot” series authored by Willian Sargent, illustrated by Julia Purinton, published by Strawberry Hill Press.

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The Well From Hell

“The Well From Hell”, explores the greater social and political impact of last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Written following a visit to New Orleans, author William Sargent looks at the history of fossil fuels and examines how continued reliance on “big oil” will impact ourselves and the world arround us. A book by William Sargent, published by Strawberry Hill Press.

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Our Expanding Oceans, and Global Climate Change: A Primer

Our Expanding Oceans exhibit is based on a new book, “Global Climate Change: A Primer,” written by renowned climate scientist Orrin Pilkey and son Keith Pilkey. To visually emphasize the effects of climate change, the book is illustrated with Mary Edna Fraser’s striking batik paintings. The exhibit featuring over 50 batiks on silk, opened at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

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Living Beaches of Georgia and the Carolinas

Georgia and the Carolinas beckon curious beachcombers with over 600 miles of wave-swept Atlantic coastline. These beaches offer more than a sandy stroll amidst stunning scenery, they are alive! A book by Blair and Dawn Witherington.

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Australia’s Ningaloo coast Gets Unesco’s World Heritage Listing

Celebrate, News

The Ningaloo coast in Western Australia covers 708,350 hectares of coastal waters and land, including one of the longest near-shore reefs in the world, and is home to rare wildlife including whale sharks and sea turtles.

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Coastal Dunes, Lençóis Maranhenses, Brazil


It seems incredible, but in a country that keeps around 30% of the fresh water and shelters the largest rain forest in the world, we can find a “desert.” Located on the north shore of Brazil, the Lençóis Maranhenses National Park is an area encompassing roughly 1000 square kilometers of blinding white dunes and deep blue lagoons, forming one of the most beautiful and unique places in the world.

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“My earliest memories are of the beach, of learning how to swim, bodysurf and finally find my passion of surfing. I have made a life out of going surfing and some of my most enjoyable moments have happened out in the surf - but without the beach, there is no surf, no one without the other. All over the world our beaches are under severe threat, primarily from problems that we have created. Over development is the main culprit and we all need to dig our feet into the sand, and make a stand, and protect that fragile band of gold between the material world and the ocean.”

—Shaun Tomson
Coastal Care junior
The World's Beaches
Sand Mining
One Percent