Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beverly's Florida Vacation Beach Cleanup

Community Count Collection: Beverly
location: Florida
day: 12 & 13 of 365
pounds collected: 5.06
total pounds collected to date: 119

Some of you who have been following The Daily Ocean may know that I invite people to collect trash off their local beach from anywhere in the world, and send me the information that I will then post on this blog, adding to the Community Count Collection Tally.

The 20 minute beach cleanup that I do can be done anywhere, that's part of the reason why I designed my project this way. If you feel inspired to action my reading The Daily Ocean then my hope is that you will take that enthusiasm out into your own community. When people see you collecting trash off the beach:

1. It may inspire others to do the same.

2. Which in turn will spark their curiosity to learn more about the problem of Marine Plastic Pollution, and trash clogging our beaches and oceans.

3. Lets you see first hand that many of the same items that we buy as part of our TO GO lifestyle, end up in the ocean and are ruining the marine ecosystems.

4. This first hand interaction with the huge problem of Plastic Marine Pollution, as my friends Anna Cummins and Dr. Marcus Eriksen describe it, lets you make more informed choices in your life to change from a throw away life style, to a sustainable one.

Remember, "When you throw something away, there is no "away"."
- David Bach, Author

One person who has taken to the idea of collecting trash off the beach for 20 min. is my friend Beverly who I met when she contacted me through this blog.

This is the 2nd time she has taken valuable vacation time to meticulously weigh, photograph and write about the trash she is finding on the beaches she visits.
Last summer we got a detailed account about her trip to Rhode Island, and this January we get to follow her as she explores, cleans, and spreads awareness during her Florida vacation.

I can't thank her enough. Every time I get one of her well thought out, beautiful, cohesive email attachments with text and pictures to post I think my heart swells a size. So thank you Beverly. You inspire me, and I know you will inspire those that will read your post below.

I'd like to mention a big thank you to Surfrider!
Beverly knows that I am a member of Surfrider here in California, and so before she visits her next coastal vacation spot, she looks up the local Surfrider Chapter for information. Every time she has done this they have provided her with a list of beaches, supplies, local information and support.

Surfrider works as a grassroots, community organization all over the world. It is just awesome to see her making these connections, so thanks again to the local Florida Surfrider Chapters that helped Beverly.

The Daily Ocean – Florida Beach Cleanup – 1/18/10

St. Lucie County, Florida – South Hutchinson Island
Waveland Beach and Walton Rocks Beach

South Hutchinson Island, part of Florida’s Treasure Coast, has a long stretch of beach that’s a pleasure to surfers, fishermen and beachgoers. I’m here this week and once again taking some time for beach cleanup while I’m on vacation. The local Treasure Coast SurfRider group recommended a number of beaches to visit and today I write about the first two. More to come later this week.

Waveland Beach (2 lb.s, 1 oz. collected)

Waveland Beach is just a mile north of the St. Lucie county line, and is a guarded beach. Florida’s just warming up from her record cold spell, it’s a windy day, and the waves are rough and crashing – even the surfers are in today. This is a very clean beach, and as I walk along I find some pieces of plastic here and there but mostly natural items – a coconut and lots of shells. Pelicans are flying overhead, and sandpipers are running toward and then away from the waves. A crab scuttles along.

On the beach there dead fish are washed up every few feet, some fairly large. The birds are not touching them. It’s an uncomfortable sight. As I leave I ask a lifeguard, “Why are there so many dead fish?”, and he answers, “The water got so cold the past few weeks they couldn’t survive.” I ask, “Why aren’t the birds eating them?”. “They have been but there’s just too many.”

I walk back to my car and weigh what I’ve collected – 2 lbs., 1 oz. on this clean and windy beach.

Beach Cleanup Sighting from Balcony

I’m lucky enough to be right on the beach this week and I spend a lot of time looking at the beach from my balcony. This morning I spotted a couple walking along the beach with plastic bags, bending down every few feet to pick something up. I recognized what they were doing immediately.

“There are people doing beach cleanup out there!” I cried. “I’m getting my camera!”. I watched them for a few minutes and snapped a picture.

It was really nice to see someone picking up trash along a beach. I don’t know who the couple are, or how often they do beach cleanup, but if they’re responsible for the clean beach outside my balcony, I thank them for what they’ve done.

Walton Rocks Beach (3.0 lbs. collected)

Walton Rocks Beach is further north from Waveland Beach, and is a dog-friendly beach. I drive in along a smooth dirt road and wind around to the parking lot. The wind’s died down a bit today and there are cars and trucks in this lot. Surfers and families with dogs are heading to the beach.

This is not a guarded beach, and fishing is allowed. Today there’s more activity along the beach – the sun is shining and it’s warming up. Surfers and some swimmers are in the water, and people are sitting in the sun with their dogs. Farther up, fishermen are casting their nets into the surf.

This beach is also fairly clean, and there’s lots of sea life washed up on shore – a few fish here and there as well as crabs and a starfish. Lots of shells. I find a huge net with shells tangled in – too big to haul away. I pick up pieces of plastic, net and some plastic bottles as I walk along.

I wouldn’t mind returning to this beach; everyone was enjoying themselves on this first warm beach day in awhile – including the dogs. Walton Rocks Beach is a beautiful beach and a beautiful walk along the shore. In the end I collected 3.0 lbs. of trash.


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  2. Hi Beverly,

    Sounds like we have a lot in common. I live in the Stuart area and have been cleaning the beaches from Stuart to Fort Pierce since January, wherever I happen to be that day. Do you know of any organized groups that clean the beaches on Hutchinson Island.

    Thanks for caring about the beaches,


  3. This is a great idea to spend you vacation in a helpful way. It is an interesting thing idea. Especially those pictures that you post. I love that beach and I am willing to help protect and clean it.