I always want to volunteer, but I don’t ever seem to take that mission all the way to fruition. In my quest to fill the events calendar on our new Comfort Inn website, I came across the 25th Annual Beach Sweeps done by Clean Ocean Action on Saturday, April 24, 2010. I thought, “Hey! here’s my chance!”. My boyfriend works all day and night every Saturday so it’s my day of freedom. I usually spend at least a few hours involving myself in some sort of activity on Sandy Hook, be it running on the multi-use trail, walking the beach or just vegging out in my chair. I went to the Clean Ocean Action website and found the volunteer form and more Beach Sweeps info. I majored in Water Resources Management and Meteorology in college so I have some earth science background that my parents paid good money for. (I ended up working in the hotel industry largely due to my own laziness.) I was happy to see that Sandy Hook was one of the sites. I filled out the form and sent it in and immediately felt good. I am looking forward to my 3 1/2 hours on the beach giving back.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of beach Sweeps. It started back in 1985 with 75 volunteers on one beach to over 5,000 volunteers at 115 sites. Volunteers join as groups (community, school, business, and organization), families, or individuals. Participants collect and record valuable data about debris, which is presented in annual reports and used to advance federal, state, and local programs to reduce litter.
Fish, whales, birds, and other animals often mistake litter for food. As a result, animals get entangled in or ingest items, such as plastic bags, cigarette filters, and fishing line, with deadly results. Cigarette filters mimic fish and have been found in the stomachs of birds and larger fish, blocking and affecting their digestion. Also, the filters are made of plastic fibers and trap carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals that are introduced into animals’ bloodstreams. Moreover, plastic litter takes a few years to several hundred years to break down, thereby threatening wildlife for decades. Litter in waterways can also foul boat motors and propellers, resulting in costly repairs. Finally, littered beaches can ruin a day at the beach. Garbage slicks and wash-ups close beaches to swimming and are detrimental to tourism and the coastal economy. (From the Clean Ocean Action Website)
As I am writing this post, I got an email from Meg with Clean Ocean Action and we are going to get together this week. If your schedule is open on Saturday, April 24th and you’d like to help clean up our beautiful Jersey Shore beaches I encourage you to seize this opportunity to help out. If you don’t live in the local area, and still want to participate take advantage of our $84.99 Spring “Break” Special. Details are available on the Comfort Inn Middletown website. I printed out the flyer to post in the hotel and I was so pleased to see that our friend Cliff Moore and the Keyport IHOP and Neptune IHOP are sponsoring the event. Before you head on out to volunteer at the beach, plan to fuel up at IHOP (who doesn’t love pancakes?) and have a great meal and support a sponsor.