Beach Day: Shameika Hanson
A Hot Sunny Day with a Light Breeze
In this regular feature, we chat with friends of the conservancy—people working to protect our local waterways and community—about the thing that makes Mastic Beach so special: the beach.
SHAMEIKA HANSON grew up in Huntington Station, Long Island and works for The Nature Conservancy as a Climate Adaptation Specialist. Her job is to help communities like Mastic Beach adapt to climate change in a way that allows all voices to be heard while educating and empowering the most vulnerable.
Mastic Beach Conservancy got to know Shameika through her work guiding the Mastic Beach Ambassadors, a group of local leaders convened by the Nature Conservancy to work toward climate resiliency together.
DESCRIBE YOUR IDEAL DAY ON THE WATERFRONT OR BEACH.
My ideal day on the beach is a hot sunny day with a light breeze where I can lay out under my umbrella and read with the sounds of the ocean waves rolling in the background. I like to read until I get warm and then take a break and cool off in the water for a bit – rinse and repeat. Add a nap and some snacks, that’s my ideal beach day!
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT MASTIC BEACH?
It is a beautiful place with both natural and historical gems full of diverse people and perspectives.
WHAT’S THE LAST PLACE YOU VISITED IN MASTIC BEACH? WHAT DID YOU DO?
The waterfront and then Empanadaville! I stop and order at least 6 empanadas (sweet and savory) every time I am in the area. I can’t get enough.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON HERE ON LONG ISLAND?
Summer for sure. I love having daylight into the late evening providing ample time to spend in the warm sun and in the ocean.
IF YOU COULD MAKE A SINGLE CHANGE TO THE MASTIC BEACH WATERFRONT, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I’d secure more natural barriers such as marshland to help protect the community from the threat of rising sea levels and extreme storms. They would also serve as habitat in calmer times for the plants and animals that make Mastic Beach such a special place to live in and visit.
WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF THE BEACH OR WATERFRONT?
Camp field trips to Centerport Beach every Wednesday.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT INDIVIDUALS CAN DO TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE HEALTH OF THE MASTIC BEACH AND OTHER WATERFRONT AREAS ON LONG ISLAND?
Get involved in activities happening in your community — cleanup events, native planting opportunities, advocating for various conservation efforts occurring locally, join local organizations doing work in the community such as the Mastic Beach Conservancy, Save the Great South Bay Creek Defenders, civic organizations and others.
HOW DID YOUR WORK WITH THE MASTIC BEACH AMBASSADORS CHANGE YOUR VIEW OF THE AREA?
I learned a lot and felt inspired by how resilient the people are and how determined they are to ensure that Mastic Beach gets the investments and care the community deserves to thrive now and into the future.
IF YOU COULD TELL PEOPLE ONE THING ABOUT THE MASTIC BEACH AREA, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
This community is full of people who work hard and are committed to improving the quality of life for those living there. When they decide to coordinate and work together, they can accomplish a lot.