For several years I've been wanting to host a beach clean-up. I couldn't tell you why; I'm definitely not a beach (or summer) person, and Connecticut isn't exactly known for its sandy shores. But I'm drawn to the ocean, and the mountains (hence our name cinder + salt), and I feel like serving our natural areas is a way to thank them for providing us with unbeatable venues for all our human festivities.
And I wasn't the only one! We had 76 people register in advance to help us out in the sun and sand! (As an overly ambitious go-getter, my expectation was 15 people, but my goal was 50, so my mind was actually blown when we topped out at 76.) Due to rain we had to move our clean-up date and many people could no longer make the event, but we are actively planning a few more!
For this event we partnered with Save The Sound whose priorities are to protect and improve CT's environment and Long Island Sound. Along with supplying trash bags, trash grabbers, gloves and drinking water, they also gave us some helpful tips!
1. Work in groups so you use fewer trash bags. If everyone took their own bag, we would have created more trash than we picked up.
2. Look for the tiny stuff. Its the itty bits of plastic, popped balloons & cigarette butts that cause the most harm. Sea birds and aquatic wildlife don't know the difference between food that will sustain them, and trash that will kill them.
3. Ask the lifeguards for prime areas where trash gets trapped. We learned that lots of trash gets stuck on the piers and jetties. And sadly, the most common place to find litter is the parking lot. While a lot of trash on the beach actually washes up from the sea, when people litter its more likely to get blown off the beach and wind up in tall grasses lining the parking lot.
To everyone who registered, and all the beach-goers who joined in, THANK YOU for making our first volunteer community event a success. We collected 4 large bags of trash, made some new friends, and came up with a few ideas on how to make our volunteer efforts more eco-friendly too!