Saturday, September 29, 2012

Big Sweep 2012/Everything We Do or Don't Do Matters!

We are all connected!  How many times have we heard or said that?  Today, I was reminded of this phrase yet again during the Big Sweep Event.

I, with the help of my willing husband, volunteered to work at one of the sign-in tables at WB.  I was at Access #43 which is also an access where you can go to see the wonder and the beauty of nesting sea birds.

John at Big Sweep
John KIC back--I am happy to be connected with this man!

John and I were joined by other KIC Volunteers and WBSTP Volunteers, Susan Miller and Nancy Fahey.  Susan picked up her new KIC volunteer shirt and wore it while she cleaned the beach!

Susan models the new KIC shirt at Big Sweep

Susan KIC back!

Susan said she refers to KIC as the sister volunteer organization to WBSTP.  I like being connected like that.

We were joined by retired WBPD Officer, Teresa Fountain.  As I listened to Teresa talk today, I realized just how much she cares for the Earth and all of it's inhabitants and how we all share that connection.  I like sharing that connection.

As we worked during the day, Katie Ryan, Director of WB Parks and Rec. stopped by several times to check on us and to pick up or drop off any needed supplies.  Katie is a vital part of advocating for a clean WB and she was certainly vital in keeping everything connected and flowing during today's event.  

Teresa Fountain, Katie Ryan and Nancy Fahey!  A connection of caring women!
The first volunteers to arrive today were members of Hoggard High School's Eco Club.  One of those members is Kailyn, who is also doing her senior project on the Endangerment of Sea Turtles.  Nancy and I are co-mentoring Kailyn for her project.  Now, isn't that a cool connection?

Kailyn will actually be working to organize her own Beach Sweep in a few weeks.  She has already connected with Katie about getting the permits that she needs to do that.

Kailyn at Big Sweep

Hoggard High School Eco Club Members
Hoggard High School Eco Club Advisor, Sarah Aimone holds one of the toys they found on the beach today.  A dinosaur---now think about how we are connected to this guy!

We worked hard today to clean the beach of litter so that we can all have a safer and healthier place where we can relax, play and visit.  But we had fun as well!  We could not help but laugh out loud at Nancy, who found the most peculiar item of the day---a ziploc bag full of unopened, unexpired condoms---31 condoms to be exact!  Now I think whoever left that bag started with some ambition---just wish he/she could have been more responsible about his/her responsible behavior!

Nancy looking happy about the bag of 31 condoms that she found on WB during Beach Sweep!
However, the day wasn't all about laughs as Nancy also found the remains of two sea birds.  One bird, a Black Skimmer, had obviously perished due to entanglement.  He had a fishing line that was completely wrapped around his beak, effectively tying his beak shut so that he could not eat.  The fishing line was also wrapped around his body and his wing.

The other bird was an American Oystercatcher and it was tagged.  YX  

Because of Nancy's connection as a volunteer with Audobon, she knew to call Lindsay Addison, biologist with Audobon, to report her discovery.  Lindsay was able to share that the Black Skimmer was a juvenile that had hatched on South Wrightsville Beach earlier this year.  The American Oystercatcher, YX was also a juvenile that had hatched on South WB.  Because YX was tagged, Lindsay knew that he was one of two chicks who had one parent that had become entangled in fishing line and was unable to help the other parent feed the chicks.  Oystercatchers depend on their parents for about 90 days for food.  Lindsay said that there was no way to determine for certain why YX died, but it is possible that he perished because the entangled parent was not able to help provide food for the chicks.

This is a very sad story and one that I wish did not have so much connection to the behaviors of humans, but it does.

But, the connection did not end there.  Nancy was able to speak to and educate many people today who saw the remains of the birds while we waited for Lindsay.  Nancy definitely made a connection with those to whom she spoke.   The image of the birds and their stories of how entanglement had affected each bird, both directly and indirectly,  made a deep connection with these people as well.

Please read the post by Brianna Elliot, biological technician with Audubon regarding area birds and fishing line.  In the post, you will read about the parent of YX who was entangled.  You will also learn of the proper way to dispose of fishing line.  Never dispose of fishing line in an open trash can as the birds will get in the trash and will risk entanglement.  There are monofilament recycling stations at several access points at WB.  Again, please read Brianna's post about other appropriate ways to dispose of fishing line.

Thank you for caring for the planet and for educating others, even if it is by a quiet example.  You never know how the connection you make with someone else will affect the fate of even one creature on the Earth.  And even one matters!

Remember,  everything we do or don't do makes a difference.  "Every action should be taken with thoughts of its effects on children seven generations from now."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nancy's final report for 2012

Hi Ginger,
The following is what I collected off the beach the last two days of monitoring:
Friday, 09/14:  Two bags of litter and one beach chair.  The litter included 4 balloons, one wad of fishing line, at least six cans (these were all PBR cans scattered about the south end; I guess someone had so much fun, they forgot to clean up after themselves), more cans, one coffee cup, plastic wrappers, cups, containers, bottles and bags, broken toys and bottles.
Saturday, 09/15: One bag of trash plus one broken boogie board.  My collection included bottles, cans, plastic wrappers, cups, bottles and bags, two pieces of fishing line, and beach toys.
Tha, tha, thaaaaaat's all folks!!!  (Until Beach Sweep, that is!)
Have a great week!

Please add a beach umbrella to my collection last week.  I forgot to include it in my report.  I'm not sure which day I picked it up off the beach, but I think it was Wednesday, Sept. 12th.

Thanks, Ginger!

Sea Turtle and Audubon Volunteers work together to clean WB

Hey Ginger,
Today, 09/13, we (the Audubon folks and I) picked up two bags of litter, plus 1 towel, 1 shirt, 1 kite (with the string spread all over the beach), 1 diver's fin, 1 water-wing, and 1 chair.  The trash included plastic wrappers, cups, containers and bags, a huge wad of fishing line, toys, cans, bottles, 1 pair of pants, and 3 pairs of sunglasses.  I also found a huge mesh bag on the south end (the size of a duffle bag) filled with a fishing net and buoys.  I did not see anyone that appeared to own the bag, so I dragged it away from the tide line to the dune.  If the bag remains on the beach tomorrow, I will put it and the net into the trash cans!
I helped Lindsay and crew take down the postings on the north end this morning, so some of this trash was collected from inside the posted area.  We picked up all the trash in the dune system that we could find.
Have a great day!

Nancy finds more trash and another WBSTP volunteer!

Hi Ginger,
I have fallen behind in my litter report!  Here is what I have found the past few days:
Friday, Sept. 7th:  2 bags of trash, plus one chair, one towel, and a white rubber buoy.  The litter included a wad of fishing line, and lots of plastic bottles, cans, plastic wrappers, cups and bags.  The worst find of the day was  two plastic bags and a puffer fish at the tide line on the south end.   The poor fish was alive and gasping after being left to die out of the water.  I tried to put him back in the water, but I'm not sure if he survived.  At first he washed back in, but then finally he at least seemed to stay in the water.  Poor fellow!  Why in the world would someone leave him to suffer and die like that?
David drove for me from Saturday through Monday.  He did not report any litter collected from the beach.
Tuesday, Sept. 11th:  I collected one bag of litter which included a balloon and the usual plastic wrappers, cups, toys and cans.  I also saw a huge horseshoe crab at the tide line on the south end.  He was dead, which was very sad.  I hope he was not pulled out of the water and left to die like the puffer fish!
Wednesday, Sept. 12th:  Today, the beach was not as clean.  I picked up 2 1/4 bags of trash, plus one chair, and a diver's fin.   The collection of trash included one shirt, one pair of boxers, two mylar balloons (which were tied to the rope at the bird sanctuary on the north end :(), one piece of fishing line, cans, plastic bags, wrappers, containers, and toys.
I had the pleasure of seeing Celia on the beach this morning, and as a matter of fact, she helped me collect the balloons from the bird sanctuary.  Thank you Celia!

Nancy finds a dog that she does not report!

Hi Ginger,
News from the beach:
Wednesday, 09/05:  I collected 2.5 bags of litter.  My finds included fishing line, a dirty diaper, two pairs of shoes, plastic wrappers, cups and bottles, glass bottles, cans, and toys.  I also found one towel which I will wash and save for sea turtle rescues.
Thursday, 09/06:  Today, I found three bags of trash on the beach; two pairs of flip flops, pieces of broken boogie board, plastic bags, cups, bottles and wrappers, straws, cans, styrofoam cups, and fishing line.  I placed 1/2 a broken boogie board in the trash and one broken chair.  I also found one beautiful dog on the beach which I did not report to the police!
Have a great rest of the week,

Nancy donates beach items and has hope for "a cleaner tomorrow"

Hey Ginger,
I will try to update the report daily since it is hard to remember details after a few days.  Please add to yesterday's finds one kite with string and one balloon with a very long piece of ribbon attached.  Both were at the tide line.  :(
Today I removed three bags from trash from the beach.  This included a diaper, a pair of boxers, two pairs of Crocs, lots of plastic wrappers, plastic bottles, plastic bags and containers, rope, broken toys, and cans.  I also collected two boogie boards, one large clear plastic raft, three pieces of PVC, one large nylon disk shaped toy (it looked like a large flexible frisbee) and the two foam goal posts that went with it, one towel at the Holiday Inn, a shirt and a pair of leather flip flops.  All was placed in the trash cans except the shirt and flip flops which I brought home to clean and donate to Goodwill.  I also called in a canopy which had been dumped on the face of the dune at Access #13.  Since it had been there for several days, I thought maybe the public works guys might want to go ahead and collect it with the trash during their next run on the beach.
Here is to a cleaner tomorrow!

Nancy finds a fish bowl on WB (among other trash)

Hi Ginger,
Here is a very late trash report from August:
Friday, 08/24, Zone 4:  About 3/4 a grocery store bag full of trash. The litter was mostly plastic wrappers, bottles and cans. Zone 4 was pretty clean for a Friday!
During my rides on the beach, so far, this is what I have collected:
Saturday, 09/01:  I collected about one grocery store bag of litter, plus two chairs.  
Sunday, 09/02:  Today, the beach was trashed by all the visitors.  I picked up five bags of trash which included a mesh nylon bag, lots of bottles, cans, plastic bottles, wrappers, cups, broken toys, a hat, plastic bags, clothing, a broken styrofoam plate, shoes and flip flops.  Plus I removed a styrofoam cooler, seven towels from the beach at the Holiday Inn, two more stray towels, and a linen napkin from under the Oceanic.
Monday, 09/03:  Sadly today, I once again found a beach that had been trashed.  I picked up six bags of litter which consisted of a nylon mesh bag, cans, glass bottles, plastic wrappers, bottles and cups, a huge wad of fishing line, broken toys, plastic utensils, straws, plastic bags, flip flops, and a fish bowl.  Yes, I did say a fish bowl.  A plastic one, to be exact.  And all of this was really only the tip of the trash pile!
I also removed three chairs, four boogie boards, two plastic rafts, one pair of denim shorts, and fifteen towels from the beach at the Holiday Inn.  I found one other towel on the south end which I will wash for the turtles.  I called in three abandoned canopies, one of which I later talked the trash collectors into taking off the beach.  It had been tagged after my earlier call and was about to wash into the water on my return trip up to Mallard St., so I asked the public works  guys if they would remove it and they did.  
I will hope to find a cleaner beach tomorrow.
Have a great holiday,

Kim's last walk yields two bags in zone 1

Name : Kim Meyer
Zone : 1
Date Walked : Sunday, 8/26/2012
# Grocery Bags : 2
All the usual items.

Amber photographs the best of WB on her last walk

Hi Ginger!
Hope you all had fun last night (KIC Pizza Party)! Here are a couple pics of my last patrol this morning.  I collected 2 bags full of a smaller recycled bag of trash this morning and some really nasty things were on the beach this morning....It's really just so sad people are so thoughtless...

Thanks for all you do!

Rick and Jill identify the signs of a "mad wife" at WB!

Following is the trash report for the week of 8/20:
8/21: Zone 4 - didn't pick up much due to the rain -- but the messiest tourists seem to have left already
8/24: Zone 0: 1/2 grocery bag -- mostly unopened lures scattered about the length of the beach...we surmised it was dumped over in the boat and washed ashore, or the girlfriend/wife was mad and threw it out...

Clem finds progress in butt disposal, but no victory

Hi Ginger,
Weather conditions were a bit dicey this morning – so I was out very early and done by 0630 when it was just getting light. It both looked like and started to rain so today’s patrol was faster than usual. Sorry not much to report:
1 grocery bag consisting of:
2 balloons
1 towel
2 stacked styrofoam coffee cups filled halfway with many cigarette butts (at least they put them all in one place though disposing of properly was apparently too much trouble!).

16 weeks = 32 bags for Hank and Allison in zone 1

I have been so remiss in getting our trash update to you.  We walk zone one on Fridays.  We always pick up at least two plastic garbage bags of trash per week.  Mostly it has been plastic beach toys. Certainly we have picked up our share of disgusting things, but I think we are lucky to walk on Friday mornings. 
Allison and Hank Burnett

John and Ginger's last walk for the season

Our last walk was on August 27th, but since my computer had to be replaced, I am just now getting around to posting it.

It is always sad to say goodbye to sea turtle season and since our last walk, we have watched many baby hatchlings make their way into the open waters of the Mighty Atlantic!  Always amazing!  and I always feel blessed to be a witness to this beautiful event in nature.

We were actually greeted with dark clouds on the morning of our last walk, but the beach is always magnificent in any weather.

Today we collected only 4 bags of trash which included the following:

18 butts
11 straws
6 plastic bottles
5 shoes
1 aluminum can
3 articles of clothing (2 mismatched socks and 1 bra insert)
5 toys
27 plastic bottle caps
1 metal bottle cap
1 pair of reading glasses
2 plastic cups
2 ziplock bags

I am thankful for starting each Monday (each week) of the summer by walking on Wrightsville Beach with John.  What a life!!!


Monday, September 3, 2012

An Almost-Blue Moon on Friday Morning

Can it be that it is already the end of the 2012 sea turtle nesting season?? Wow, it hardly seems possible! I just looked back at my calendar to see that I completed 16 early morning clean ups this summer, and I feel so very fortunate to have begun each Friday morning this way. There is nothing like being greeted by the sunrise over the Atlantic.

On Friday, August 31, I was instead greeted by an equally beautiful sight: a very-near-full moon! I arrived at the beach just before 6 am to find that it was still completely dark outside. I waited for about 10 minutes before I began walking, because I actually could not see very well at all. But those 10 minutes gave me the opportunity to capture a few photos of the moon, with sea oats swaying in front of it. Pretty spectacular, eh?

As the sun began to shed a bit of light on the beach, and I began to walk, I instantly noticed how different the beach looks once the summer season is over and school is in session. There were no piles of sand toys left in the sand. In fact, there was very little evidence of activity on the beach at all, except for the wrack line. The wrack line was unfortunately covered with cigarette butts and other small bits of plastic litter and styrofoam in huge quantities. I picked up many, many cigarette butts, but did not count them all out this week. (After the 422 I picked up last week, I was feeling kind of disgusted, truthfully.)

The good news is that I only picked up about 1 and 1/2 bags of trash today. This included one pair of sunglasses, 1 pair of women's underwear, 1 beer can, and 6 glass beer bottles. If not for the 6 bottles, I would have only found 1 bag of trash. And it appeared that the bottles had all been dropped by the same group of people, as they were scattered along a stretch of about 1/2 mile, but they were all in a straight line, like some people just walked along, drinking and dropping as they went.

The awesome thing about Friday morning is that every person I encountered just seemed to be loving the gorgeous (RAINLESS!) weather and beautiful, sunny morning. One jogger picked up an empty cigarette box and tossed it into my bag as he ran past me. A couple sat enjoying the sunrise and asked if I would take their photo as I walked past. Another jogger paused to ask me for an update on one of the remaining sea turtle nests at WB. And yet another person stopped to tell me that there was a particularly good spot on the beach for shell hunting that morning. It was fun to get to talk to so many different nice people. WB brings out the best in people, for sure! :)