5 on-the-ground warriors for marine debris

I’ll be incredibly frank and honest and say that I do not do as much on-the-ground ocean activism as I’d like to do these days. I do participate the occasion stream clean-up and rally from time to time, but with a full-time job and a family including an active toddler, time is scarce and I’m lucky if I can pull it together to write a post or two or marine debris. Since this upcoming weekend is the annual International Coastal Cleanup I wanting to take the time to send a shout out and a huge virtual dose of gratitude for 5 very active on-the-ground marine debris and ocean activists. If you have the chance, check out what they’re doing as I know every time I read up on what they’re accomplishing I am continually inspired. As a matter of fact, you’ll have the chance to get to know one of them a little bit more in-depth tomorrow as a part of the “What Marine Conservationists Are Into …” series. (On a side note, all of my Virginia friends and family should be on the lookout because I am gearing up to gather a crowd to participate in the Virginia Waterways Cleanups!)

Sarah Bayles of The Daily Ocean
Sarah is steadfastly collecting trash from the same beach for 20 minutes at a time for 365 non-consecutive days to “raise awareness for how much trash is on our beaches and getting into the ocean, that the solutions start with us right here on land, and that everyday we can make choices in what we consume and buy that can add up to make a difference”. Her work ethic is inspiring and she’s diligent in posting the weight of the trash she collects. At the point I write this post she collected 1,234.3 pounds in 325 days.

Danielle Richardet of It Starts With Me
Just like Sarah of Our Daily Ocean, Danielle spends 20 minutes a day cleaning a beach but in Wrightsville Beach, NC and she’s focused on finding cigarette butts. Here incredibly positive message is that “It’s simple…everything we do (or don’t do) has an impact on the world we live in. It starts with me and ripples to you…”. I wish Danielle the best as she continues her quest to “create a smoke-free beach and have proper cigarette butt disposal receptacles installed on Wrightsville Beach”. Can you believe she’s collected 50,129 cigarette butts in 156 days?

Harold Johnson of The Flotsam Diaries
Harold Johnson has been researching and collecting marine debris weekly at two very different sites (one active by beachgoers and one non-active) in Maine since June of 2010. As he puts it, “I’m hoping to learn something about the debris that arrives at the beach both by regular beachgoers, and by actions of wave & wind”. You can read his findings weekly on his blog or get some more detailed reviews of his research at Scientific American.

Cheryl ‘Sandy’ King of Sharkastics
Cheryl is interested in everything ocean-related, but has found a niche spreading the word all about sharkastics. Sharkastics are what she has termed “plastics that have obvious bite marks (e.g., jagged serrations and/or punctures). She posts many images of the debris she finds and is more than happy to share them for educational purposes (although she requests you share with her how you use them).

Tim Silverwood of Take 3: A Clean Beach Initiative
Tim is a surfer and plastic pollution spokesperson based in Australia. In 2009, he and his compadres began thinking about proactive ways the public could reduce the amount of waste entering the oceans. The Take-3 initiative was born. As the website states, “The ‘Take 3’ message is simple: take 3 pieces of rubbish when you leave the beach, waterway or…anywhere and you have made a difference”.

Here is a powerful and beautifully done depiction on why everyone is responsible for marine debris. Thanks to designer and illustrator Jenny Wang for reminding us that it is not just those that live near an ocean who contribute to ocean pollution.

A naturalist’s must-see destination: Acadia National Park

I’ve researched some significant reasons why Acadia National Park is a popular place to go.

  • The center of Acadia National Park is the core wintering area for purple sandpipers.
  • Recently, a fungus lethal to bats – but harmless to humans, was found in Acadia National Park. The animals infected are said to come down with white-nose syndrome. It’s particularly detrimental because bats are crucial to stabilizing the mosquito population.
  • The word ‘Acadia’ is said to be a derivative of the word ‘Arcadia’. Italian explored Giananni de Verazzano used the word ‘Arcadia’ to describe the beauty of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. The word ‘Acadia’ was used to designate the current area of Canada’s maritime Providences.
  • The park was established as Acadia National Park on January 19, 1929 and is the fifth smallest national park.
  •  In 2010, the Huffington Post named it one of the top 6 national parks to visit.
  • Acadia National Park lies on Mount Desert Island, which is the sixth largest island in the continental United States.
  •  There is a famous rock formation, known as Thunder Hole (pictured), that when hit by waves creates a thunderous roar as air and water shoot out!
  • The movie, Cider House Rules, featured two spots on Mount Desert Island: Sand Beach and Thurston’s Lobster Pound.
  •  The peak of the highest mountain, Cadillac Mountain, in Acadia National Park is the first place to witness the rays of the sun shining on the United States.
  • When writing letters in support of the park, President Woodrow Wilson stated, “It is a true park area in the highest sense, totally different from any other that we have”, “It is rich in historic association, in scientific interest, and in landscape beauty”, “There is no other place along the Atlantic coast where so wide a range of geologic facts are shown or where such valuable material is offered for research”, “It will give a healthy playground to multitudes of hard-working men and women”, and “With its adjacent inlets and headlands, it stands out as offering the greatest natural diversity.”
  • The state motto, Dirigo, is Latin for “I direct” or “I guide”.

In case you cannot tell, I am very excited for the Maine coast vacation next week. Pictures will surely follow!