Emerald Keeper of the Month is Coronado resident Jenny Johnson. Like so many Emerald Keepers, Johnson has been involved in environmental projects throughout her life.
For 21 years, she and her husband Richard have been trained to work in teams for weeks at a time with the Midway Island Annual Albatross Count. Albatross are one of the largest and long-lived (at least 60 years) birds in the world. They are endangered due to human interaction.
Her interest in these birds began when Johnson as a child lived with her family in the 1950s on the Midway military base. She states that she was surrounded by birds, as Midway Island is home to 20 seabird species. “I had birds to play with all around my house and everywhere I went.” Her continued interest in and involvement with these amazing and threatened birds was featured in an article about the Albatross Count in the spring 2021 edition of the Audubon Magazine.
Johnson also volunteers at the SD Natural History Museum in the Department of Birds and Mammals, organizing and helping maintain their collections of bones, skeletons and skins.
She is a Coronado Rotarian who participates in the monthly Rotary Club beach and bay clean ups. Currently, Johnson combs the dunes, rocks and the beach for trash once or twice a week with her picker and custom-made collection bag. Starting at Center Beach and working her way to Dog Beach and back, she scoops up enough trash each time to empty her bag 3-4 times in the available trash containers. Her collection bag was fashioned from a tough, mesh boat laundry bag that unzips from the bottom. As the bag she bought was taller than her 5-feet frame, she cut the bag in half and sewed handles at the top. The mesh allows sand to escape, and the zipper at the bottom makes it easy and less messy to empty.
Johnson says that trash is particularly bad after weekends and holidays with cans and bottles left everywhere. Another source of trash are the gulls who love to fling whatever they can find in the overflowing trash cans after the visitors go home. Johnson feels that her weekly trips to the beach are good exercise walking in the soft sand and scaling the rocks for trash. She says, “What could be better than exercising and cleaning the environment at the same time?”