The Santa Aguila Foundation &




“Do we know if the clouds believe in any God? If the birds are Muslim, Christian, or Jews? If the rising wind makes its prayer? And if the child that sleeps does not survive in us? It does not prevent the clouds, the birds, the wind, and the child to be so close to the sky.”
Abdelhak Serhane

Aguila was fortunate to spend her short life in an exceptional natural environment. Her home was on the powerful and pristine Atlantic Ocean. Her sandbox was a magnificent, vast, and unspoiled beach; she lived amongst its wildlife.

Every child should have the right to live in a “healthy” natural environment as Aguila did. Inspired by her memory, we have established the Santa Aguila Foundation.

The mission of the Santa Aguila Foundation is to:

  • Produce a comprehensive curriculum for children to learn about the importance of coastlines, and empower them to act to protect this crucial environment;
  • Raise awareness of the many unsustainable practices that are harming the world’s beaches and coasts;
  • Educate children about the science of natural beaches and empower them to act to protect their coastal environment;
  • Advocate for sensible, science-based policies and regulations that will protect and preserve coastlines and beaches around the world; and
  • Mobilize individuals to recognize and address global issues of coastal management.

While there are a number of local or even national organizations that advocate for coastal environmental protection, we believe that the global perspective and educational mission of this Foundation is unique. In fact, we believe that addressing these issues requires a global effort.

Global warming, the associated sea-level rise, and sand erosion will touch everybody, but children and future generations will be particularly impacted. Continued human interference is placing coastlines and beaches around the globe at risk.

The Foundation will continue a journey begun many years ago by its founders to fight for the protection of the Atlantic coastline of Morocco – particularly the beaches – and against “legal” and illegal sand mining. Primarily due to sand mining, seventy percent of the coastal wetlands in Morocco have disappeared. Along with this has come the destruction of numerous ecosystems and ecological environments crucial to sustaining ecological balance.

Coastlines and beaches constitute important habitat for many threatened organisms, recreational centers of great value for humanity, economic resources for sustainable tourism, and areas of great scientific interest. This intersection of the land and sea contains special fauna and flora, as well as a unique physical environment in a very narrow and restricted zone that is much sought after by humans. This human interest is reflected in the global surge in populations near the coasts, which now threatens coastlines and beaches everywhere.

With global warming and rising sea levels, sand mining is particularly senseless; indeed, sand and sand dunes are sorely needed as a natural protection and energy absorber responding to storms, tsunamis, and sea-level rise. The preservation of beaches and their unique ecosystems – including plants, feeding and nesting birds, turtles, fish, porpoise, and the fauna within the beach sand – should be of general concern.

Our fight has enabled us to meet and assemble some of the world most prominent experts in the field. Results of our collaborative efforts has already culminated into the following:

  • The creation of a unique portal website, focused on coastal and beach issues and education. The site will serve as the central hub of the Foundation’s activities, and federate the efforts of many local communities from around the world;
  • The production of short documentary movies focused on North Carolina, and aimed at informing and educating global audiences on critical coastline and beach issues; and,
  • The publication of a white paper studying the extent and impacts of sand mining in Morocco – the worst case in the world. This paper was presented at the European Geological Union meeting in Vienna (April 2009).
  • The global review of beach sand mining worldwide distributed via

This is just the beginning. We need further funding to continue our work, already in progress:

  • Fund a full-time scientist to perform research, prepare reports, maintain the website and provide expertise to the various projects of the Foundation;
  • Continue the production of short documentary movies focused on coastlines and beaches worldwide, as well as scientific missions, to inform and educate global audiences on critical issues affecting this unique part of our environment;
  • Promote advocacy for the protection of coastlines, and beaches; and
  • Form partnerships with various related, influential environmental communities with the aim to strengthen common projects, and increase visibility.
  • Publish the first ever educational book on world beaches;

We hope that you can help us in this very important work. We feel that tangible progress can be made within a reasonable short time frame in order to gather sufficient resolve to affect change on your local beach, and on coastlines and beaches worldwide.

Very truly yours,

Santa Aguila Foundation Logo

Santa Aguila Foundation

Coastal Care Team

Gary Griggs Gary Griggs © 2015 D Shrestha Ross

Gary Griggs

Oceanographer | Geologist

UC Santa Cruz

Chief Content Editor

Santa Aguila Foundation Logo

Guerrand-Hermes Family

Santa Aguila Foundation

Deepika Shrestha Ross

Architect | Filmmaker

D Shrestha Ross Studio

Design | Administration


with our deepest gratitude and thanks . . .


Claire Le Guern
Gary Griggs
Orrin H. Pilkey
Rob Young
William Neal
Margarita Stancheva
Andrew Cooper
Adriana Garcia
Andrew Jalbert
Bert Buizer
Joseph T. Kelley
H. Granja
J. L. S. Pinho
John Weber
Jeanetter Arkle
George Crozier
John Dindo
Gregory C. Wilson
Harold R. Wanless
John C. Van Leer
Hristo Stanchev
Miles O. Hayes
Jacqueline Michel

Photo of the Month | Week

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HA Schult
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Bill Sutton
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Beach | Coast of the Month

Norma J. Longo
Margarita Stancheva
Hristo Stanchev
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Andrew G. Cooper
Nelson Rangel-Butrago
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William J. Neal
Bert Buizer
Gary Griggs
Miles O. Hayes
Jacqueline Michel
Art Trembanis
Nicole Raineault
Carter DuVal
Carl Hobbs
Earle F. McBride
M. Dane Picard
Andrew Short
Claire Le Guern
Olaf Guerrand
Owen K. Mason
Joseph T. Kelly
Rob Young