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Celebrating CARE's 5th Anniversary - an Interview with Jill Talladay

Becky Fischer | 9/11/2017

In celebration of our 20th Anniversary, we have been interviewing and learning more about other local businesses and organizations who are also celebrating a milestone. I sat down recently with Jill Talladay, who created CARE for the Cape and Islands 5 years ago. She and I met at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster, where we gathered two years ago to participate in a service project.

Take us back to when you first established, what were you feeling and thinking?

I had just gotten my Master's Degree in Sustainable Tourism, and as part of that program I did an internship with The Center For Responsible Travel. I helped them with their Traveler's Philanthropy Conference in Costa Rica. While there, we learned about Monteverde's brand new Traveler's Philanthropy Initiative which engages their visitors and business community to help preserve their special place. I thought, why aren't we doing the same sort of initiative here? How can we find ways for visitors and locals to engage in such learning and protection of Cape Cod? Seems like a win-win!

CARE for the Cape Day 2017 at Nobska Light

Can you share any favorite stories or events over the past 5 years?

What I have really enjoyed is our CARE for the Cape and Islands Day. Each year we award a few grants to local projects, and choose a local non-profit to host our CARE day where we organize a half-day of service to assist in their efforts. We invite the local business community to learn about the non-profit, network with each other, and contribute in the service project. Two years ago we used these CARE days to present the grants so that the recipients could meet each other and further learning and collaboration could be fostered. And the volunteers learned more about CARE and the projects that we fund.

Marine Debris Education at Herring Cove Beach

What other organizations or local businesses inspire you?

There are a few. The Center for Coastal Studies is an organization that we have funded several times because they do such great work. Whether it's marine debris education, they assist in saving marine life from strandings, they have assisted me with beach clean-ups, and they were the leader in a new climate change collaborative which involves many non-profits. Our first stewardship award was presented last year to Cape Cod Beer because they incorporate sustainability into every thing that they do. They are very community oriented, so I have a great deal of respect for how they run their business.

Beach clean up at Herring Cove, Provincetown

There is a Nantucket artist, who worked with the Maria Mitchell Association as part of our first Nantucket grant, who is creating some amazing things out of marine debris. She is re-purposing what she finds on the beach into art sculptures. She will be demonstrating her work at our November 2nd Event. She has coined the phrase up-sculpting. One other organization is a group of Unitarian Churches on the Cape who have the Cape Environmental Action and their congregations have been very involved in plastic bag bans and climate change education.

It sounds like the community is starting to reach out to you; that you have been around long enough to be really recognized as a leader.

That is really exciting for me. A Barnstable High School student contacted me who was looking for a local organization to create a video as part of her film class. She chose CARE because she believes in our mission. We shot the video here at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History because we were a funder of the Pollinator Path and held our 2016 CARE day here. Since then she has created several videos for us. It's really great when organizations find us!

CARE sponsored the Pollinator Path at CCMNH

Of all the projects that CARE has accomplished, is there one that you feel particularly passionate about?

There are several. Every year I think we can't come up with anything even more exciting, and every year I'm always excited by what the grant applications we receive and the projects we get to fund. One of them was the Learning Book we helped fund with the Cape Cod Commercial Fisherman's Alliance and as part of their pier education program this year. And we were able to work with them and incorporate content to help kids think about the water, where the fish live. We added several pages that included education about the impact of balloons, and plastic bags, and to think about marine debris. In a fun way, so that children (and parents) would learn. I was fortunate to have two interns who were graphic artists who helped create the drawings and information for the learning book. Download the Learning Book here

Then also, our water bottle filling stations at the Cape Cod National Seashore because this has the potential for such incredible impact by reducing so many plastic water bottles. Finally, the recycling committee in Provincetown gave us a proposal for what they call Side-Walk Butlers that are little containers that are all around town where people can deposit their cigarette butts, and the butts are sent out to recycle the plastic. So I love the fact that the plastic is being re-purposed into park benches and eyeglass frames.

Sidewalk Buttler in Provincetown

In addition to your hard work and dedication, Jill, what do you attribute your 5 years of success to?

I think it's really a pride and passion that so many people have. Whether it's the visitors or residents, they absolutely love Cape Cod and the Islands. So when they hear about the work that we're doing, they want to get involved.

It feels like local businesses and Chambers have supported CARE over the years, do you see more participation from our summer visitors?

That's something that we always find to be a bit challenging because we don't really interact directly with the visitors. However this year we funded two things - we sponsored both a whale and a shark in Chatham with the Chatham Merchant's Association. I learned about the Atwood House in Chatham and wanted to work with them. We created a whale out of our logo and had that placed in the Atwood House so that it would encourage people to go, find the scavenger hunt whale, learn about us and visit the Atwood House.

Then we also designed a shark for Sharks in the Park which was educational about bringing your own bags as well as the risk of balloon releases. So I know we're getting there....Now we just need some folks to donate money....that's the next step!

What is something that you want everyone to know about CARE?

That we exist! That's probably our biggest challenge. Part of it is because I'm a sole proprietor. So we need help getting the word out. I want people to know who we are, what we do, and how they can get involved. Whether it is becoming a member, sharing our information, or donating funds towards our service projects. In terms of, I'd love to find a way to get all our information in your homes so both homeowners and vacationers learn more. Perhaps I could create an information PDF that could be shared with the homeowners.

Here is the blog post Jill wrote for us a few years ago with ideas of how homeowners can promote the mission of CARE at their rental houses: Promoting responsible travel .

How are you celebrating your 5th Anniversary?

We are hosting a 5th Anniversary event on November 2nd at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth. Everyone is invited! As part of this celebration, we voted to award a special grant of up to $5000. And we will be awarding our second Stewardship Award. This event will serve as our first major fundraising event to provide monies for our future CARE grants awarded each year to projects that help sustain our natural environment, culture, and history. We are pretty excited.

Thank you, Jill for taking the time to speak with me and share your passion and business, CARE for the Cape and Islands. We hope this blog post will introduce many to your mission, and encourage those who dearly love this area to find a way to participate in your many fantastic events and admirable goals.