Monday, September 20, 2010

Beach Cleanup - Ellisville Harbor State Park

Beach Cleanup at Ellisville Harbor State Park

This morning, Captain John Whale Watching and Fishing Tours joined with the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA) and students at Northbrook Academy, to conduct a beach cleanup through theCoastsweep program. The is the second annual beach cleanup conducted by this trio that represents a local business, a volunteer nonprofit organization and a local private school.

Coastsweep is the statewide beach cleanup sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and coordinated by the Urban Harbors Institute (UHI) of the University of Massachusetts Boston. This is the 23rd year of beach cleanups coordinated by Coastsweep.

COASTSWEEP is part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by The Ocean Conservancy in Washington, DC. 201 marks the International Coastal Cleanup's 25th anniversary. Participants all over the world collect marine debris and record the types of trash they collect.

This cleanup event was held at the Ellisville Harbor State Park. Ellisville Harbor is a unique coastal property, including an 18th century farmstead, beachfront, salt marsh, rolling meadows, and red pine forest. It's also one of the most scenic spots on the South Shore coastline, where you can see small fishing boats, a barrier beach, sphagnum bog, forested upland and open meadows.

Data is collected during each cleanup effort. Participants are given standardized data sheets where they tally the different types of marine debris that is found. This information is then used to determine the severity of the problem, to better access the impact of marine debris on coastal ecosystems and to determine how best to reduce marine debris.

Captain John staff, NECWA staff, Northbrook Academy students and their parents worked together to pick up over 12 pounds of plastics, metals and papers from the beach and the marsh area. And they documented over 15 broken lobster traps that will now hopefully be removed by the town of Plymouth.

Everyone worked hard and had a great time picking up marine debris. And what fabulous weather for a cleanup effort! Students and adults alike had fun investigating the beach and marsh areas by looking for live critters including fiddler crabs, shorebirds and small school fish. Students had fun getting wet and skipping stones in the marsh. And most everyone picked up beautiful stones, sea glass, shells, lobster shells and other interesting artifacts on the beach.

We would like to give a special thanks to the students, staff and parents of Northbrook Academy. This group of stellar students volunteered their time to help make Ellisville Harbor State Park a cleaner and prettier place. And by removing marine debris, it is a safer place for the seals, crabs, shorebirds and other coastal marine wildlife that share our planet with us.

Northbrook Academy is a "one-of-a-kind" school where learning not only includes books and paper but also real life experiences like this beach cleanup. Community service is a top priority of Northbrook Academy and the lessons learned today may not be testable on a standardized test, but they are just as important and vital to the growth and development of these young adults. This is what learning is all about!

Way to go all our volunteers and we look forward to another fun and productive beach cleanup next September!