Gabrielle Marquez’s love and concern for the outdoors has motivated her to protect and preserve our environment within her own community.
Gaby started volunteering with Chesapeake Bay Trust in 2017. Shortly thereafter she joined the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) and became a student leader, attending the student leader confluence and learning skills to advance advocacy, action and awareness.
In August of 2018, Gaby’s realized that her community beach had a problem with phragmites—an invasive species that crowds out native species, as well as robs nearby fish, plants, and wildlife of nutrients and space. Gaby came up with an idea that would remove the phragmites without resorting to hazardous chemicals that would kill the other plants or poison the surrounding water or environment—goats!
Gaby found a local woman who leases her goats out for this exact purpose. Before long, two dozen goats were munching on phragmites for three full days. When the phragmites were gone Gaby organized people in the community to come in and plant native grasses. She paid for both the goats’ rental and the new plants with a $5,000 community mini-grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust that she applied for and a matching donation by the H.O.A. in her community.
In addition to her environmental advocacy at home, Gaby has been interested in the global watershed condition since she became SCUBA certified at age 12. She has several certifications, and has spent time over the last two summers diving and learning about the environment.
One year later, she is still working on her community beach, keeping the phragmites at bay, and planting more native grasses.