About Us

#HandsAlongTheWater is a volunteer-driven, grassroots movement in Florida focused on rectifying the current environmental disaster of toxic algae blooms occurring in the Gulf of Mexico. The mission of Hands Along the Water is simple: protect water and marine life through education and activism. 


After creating a successful initial statewide Hands Along the Water event, thanks to many dedicated volunteers, an important movement began. To stay informed on upcoming activities, please follow our Facebook page  @officialhandsalongthewater 

Our Board
Samantha Gentrup, M.Ed. - President, Founder

Samantha Gentrup is a teacher who has been dedicated to social justice, animal protection, and environmental ethics for her entire life.  She is passionate about protecting the unique ecosystems of this state.  Samantha has been part of animal and environmental movements via leadership roles, public speaking, writing letters, leading events, creating educational materials, teaching, and meeting with elected officials.  She is dedicated to working together to solve the ecological crisis that we are facing in Florida, and globally.  When not working, Samantha can be found playing outside in nature, taking care of animals, and spending time with her family.  Contact - samantha.gentrup@gmail.com

Anthony McChesney - Board Member

Tony is a co-owner of a home watch management business with his wife Dodie Longfellow McChesney in Boca Grande, FL. He has lived in Sarasota County for over 40 years. He grew up spending a lot of time in our beautiful state waters by actively scuba diving, fishing, paddle boarding, kayaking and boating. He has experienced many different events in his life, but this water quality issue has been one of the most eye opening so far. He truly believes that our voices and actions do get heard and noticed, especially when the group has strength in numbers. Taking action in our solutions to the water crisis is key to seeing positive change in water quality. He has led several local beach clean ups and looks forward to doing more. He enjoys participating in any event that will help Mother Nature heal. Contact - tonymcchesney999@gmail.com

Brian Kelly - Board Member

As a Sarasota native Brian grew up with a strong passion for nature and wildlife.  Following in his father's carpentry footsteps, he began building tree houses at a young age and has continued in the construction field.  His entrepreneurial mindset and solid work ethic led him to start his own business in his early 20's.  Over the years he has grown to adopt a holistic approach to not only his personal life but business as well.  Blending both a sustainable lifestyle with sustainable building practices he has adopted the approach of bigger is not better, living in tune with nature and its surroundings and to utilize the land and environment to work in harmony with oneself and his building methods.  Brian continues to strive for a sustainable future and is a tiny home builder, an artist, welder, researcher, inventor, citizen scientist, and futurist.  Contact - briantkelly80@gmail.com

Leland Allen - Intern

Leland Allen is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina, Asheville where he earned a B.A. in economics. He wrote and presented his undergraduate thesis on the causal relationship between economic growth and renewable energy consumption. He has always been passionate about environmental sustainability as well as humanitarian issues, and has devoted time volunteering at Brother Wolf Animal Shelter in North Carolina and Greenhouse 17 (a domestic violence shelter). He is looking forward to becoming actively involved in finding solutions to local environmental issues. In his spare time Leland enjoys biking, kayaking, and paddle boarding.

Hands Along The Water | 2018