2009 Newsletters

Below are the first letters sent from 2009 when we started this project.  I think the letters have great information, so I wanted to include them on the blog.

Week of June 1 – June 7 2009

Greetings WB Turtlers,

We have already been monitoring the beach for one full week (with the exception of Nancy who has been going strong since May 1), and I must say, we certainly have some Trashy Talking Turtlers out there!

Thanks to everyone who has reported back to me on the selfless work you are doing to help keep our oceans clean for the Sea Turtles and other marine life.  My goal is to give you a weekly report of the amount of trash we voluntarily collect and to report any trends that we see.  Hopefully, we will be able to submit information to the town and motivate movement towards enforcing litter laws on our beach.  At the very least, we can increase awareness, and most importantly, we are helping make our beaches safer for all who live there and visit (human and non-human).

Here is a summary of the data I have collected so far for Monday June 1, 2009 thru Sunday June 7, 2009:

If you count 6 zones per day for 7 days, there are a total of 42 zones on WB per week (6 x 7 = 42).   We picked up trash in 13 of those 42 zones.
Total amount of trash collected is as follows:

13 plastic grocery store type bags 
1 paper grocery store bag
1/2 bag of a 13 gallon kitchen trash bag (6.5 gallons!)
Additionally, several large items that do not fit into trash bags that volunteers removed from the shore line and either disposed of or moved to the trash receptacle to be claimed by the owner or picked up by the city.

Good Work!!!  

Thanks to all you Trashy Talking Turtlers, the sea turtles have lots less trash to dodge when they come ashore to lay their eggs. Also less trash will blow into the ocean where the turtles may mistake it for food.  As most of you know, when turtles ingest nonfood items, they can become very sick and die.  Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital currently has a Kemps Ridley Sea Turtle named Ridley.  Ridley is very sick and just recently passed a balloon that she no doubtingly thought would be a yummy bite to eat.  So, every bit we do is very important in helping to ensure the survival of Sea Turtles.

The most common types of trash collected were food and beverage packaging such as plastic bottles, beer and soda cans, straws, plastic wrappers, cups and lids.  Kids' beach toys are also a very popular item to leave on the beach with the most interesting one reported being magnetic refrigerator type numbers (credit to Kym Davidson in Zone 5).  So, if you or someone you know has children and you are suffering from the economic recession, feel free to shop for toys at WB in the early morning.  The price can not be beat!  :-)

The most disgusting items picked include a diaper, a maxi pad, and personal wipes.  (This just goes to show that our volunteers are willing to do just about anything for the Turtles!---Jeanne Ashey and Carolyn Kranchalk even wear gloves for the occasion!)

If you are in need of beach towels, a beach blanket, sunglasses, a single work glove, clothes, socks, or beach chairs, you may also find those at WB in the early morning! There was also a pair of adorable little girl's hot pink Crocs left on the beach.  These were placed beside the trash can by our volunteers just in case the owner came back for them.

Zone 2, which includes Johnnie Mercer Pier (or is it Johnny?---someone let me know here  :-) continues to be the trashiest zone or at least the zone that the volunteers talk about with the most disgust.   Big Kudos to Richard and his daughter, Sara for picking up the most trash in a given day.  On Thursday, they collected 1/2 of a 13 gallon bag of trash in Zone 2 (mostly between the Pier and Holiday Inn).  That's 6 1/2 gallons!!!!!!  I can only imagine how heavy that was to drag up and down the beach.  Way to go Richard and Sara. 

I would also like to recognize a citizen of the community who is also a friend to the Sea Turtles.  A couple of years ago, Mr. Rick Catlin supplied WBSTP with "sea turtle litter stickers" to place on the trash cans at WB.  Well, he has once again advocated for the sea turtles and written an editorial entitled:  "Recent Litterfest" to the Lumina News.  You can read it here:  http://www.luminanews.com/article.asp?aid=4394&iid=169&sud=44

In Mr. Catlin's letter, he reports that the litter fine for WB is $100.00.  Interestingly enough, the same violation on Tybee Island, GA is $1,000.  I happen to know b/c I visited Tybee Island over the weekend and have included a picture that shows their signage near a very clean pier.  Maybe WB could follow the lead of Tybee Island?

In closing, I would like to thank you all for all you do for the turtles and for being good stewards of the Earth.  I know some of you may have not had the time to send me your data.  If that is the case, please send it when you can, so that we can have accurate data at the end of the season.

Have a great week and keep e-mailing me with all your trashy talk.


Week of June 8 – June 14 2009

Hi Turtle Peeps!

We have completed our 2nd week of beach monitoring and we have been busier than ever!  I know we are all trying to assure all of those Mama Turtles that WB is a safe place to leave their precious clutches.

So far this week, you have reported picking up trash in 24 of the 42 zones.
Totals for Week 2- June 8-14, 2009:
27 2/3 grocery bags
1 1/3 of a 13 gal. size bag
Plus 5 lounge chairs, 2 canopies, 1 blanket and construction lumber
several articles of clothing, several pairs of shoes, and a few towels

The totals in number of bags for Weeks 1-2 are:
46 1/6 grocery bags
1 paper grocery bag
3 5/6 (13) gallon size bags

I have attached a chart to show the results for the two weeks.  This is a table I created in word.  I hope to eventually have more sophisticated charts and graphs, but I will need help to do that as my skill level is not up to par in that area.  I hope you can open the chart.  I have a mac that does not always work well with other PCs.  If you have trouble opening the chart, please let me know and I will try to save it in a different format.  I have attached it in two different formats already, so hopefully, you will be able to open one of them.

The most common items continue to be plastic food and beverage containers and kids beach toys.  Oh!  And can we say enough about cigarette butts already?!?!  Melissa Dionesotes has set a personal goal to pick up at least 50 cigarette butts on her walk in Zone 2.  Unfortunately, the goal is easy to reach; counting all the butts seems to be the challenge!  Go Melissa and thanks for inspiring the rest of us.

Many of you are reporting finding balloons and fishing line.  Thank you so much for collecting these items as we know how damaging they can be to the sea turtles.

Jen Upham did find a whole salad with 3 cups of dressing in zone 2, so if you are hungry in the morning, you may want to check that zone out.

It seems the level of sexual activity was down this week as only one condom was found compared to last week when there were three!  Either romance is dead this week or environmental responsibility is on the increase----let's hope for the latter!  :-)

The funniest report I received was finding "Barnacle Barbie"----sure hope those barnacles were in all the right places!

Karen and Jeff Loveless were followed by a Mallard Duck during their beach patrol.  I'm sure the duck was thanking them for picking up the trash!

There was also a homeless man in life guard station 4----he has the best piece of real estate in New Hanover County!   :-)


A couple of you found canopies on the beach and when you called to report the situation, you both found the person on the other end to be completely clueless.  I did consult our fearless turtle leader, Nancy Fahey and here is her response:  "When I call the dispatch center, I am very specific about the reason for my call.  Example:  I'm a beach monitor at WB, and we have an ordinance here which prohibits canopies being left on the beach overnight.  I'm out (ex: in front of the Holiday Inn) and there is a canopy on the beach that has been left out.  Please dispatch the WBPD to this location so they can tag the canopy for removal.  Sadly, you have to tell them all this b/c otherwise, they probably do not have a clue!!  After all this, if they still do not respond by agreeing to notify the PD, ask the volunteers to let me know, and I will follow up."

If you do find canopies, tents, etc., the non-emergency dispatch number to call is:   452-6120.

There have also been a number of rather large holes reported on the beach this week.  Dick Chapman wins the prize for finding a hole large enough to park a VW bug!  If you do find large holes on the beach, please alert Nancy.  She has been talking with officials about this already and will continue to do so if need be.  Some of you are filling in the holes yourself and your efforts are greatly appreciated by all.

Trash cans are already overflowing at the piers and hotels.  Please continue to report this.

Thanks to all of you.  Hopefully our work is being carried across the waves and echoed to those Mama Turtles who will come and leave their tracks soon.


"May there be so many sea turtles in our oceans one day that we have to dodge them when we go swimming!"---Jean Beasley, Founder of Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital, Topsail Island, NC

Week of June 15 – June 21 2009

Greetings to all you Turtle Peeps,

I wish I could say that the trash business was on the decline, but unfortunately, it seems to have risen drastically in just one week.

So far for week 3 you have reported picking up trash in 21 of the 42 zones.
Totals for June 15 - 21:
40&1/2 grocery bags (that's at least 11 more bags than last week)
2&2/3 (13) gallon size bags
Plus 6 lounge chairs, 2 blankets, 3 boogie boards, several towels and several articles of clothing and many pairs of shoes.

Totals for Weeks 1-3 in numbers of bags:
88 &1/6 grocery bags+
1 paper grocery bag +
6 & 1/2 (13) gallon size bags

(I have attached the chart again to compare the 3 weeks.  You may notice some numbers have changed in week 2---that's b/c I update it if I get new reports.)

That's a lotta trash!!!!  And we know that this is only a portion of what is out there considering that not all volunteers are able to pick up trash.  Many times, volunteers don't have the time to pick up all the trash in their zone b/c they have to go to work or b/c trash cans are overflowing and turned over, and there is just no way they can get it all. Some items are just too disgusting for some people to pick up without gloves-----who can blame them?????  Also, this is just the amount of trash in the number of bags.  It doesn't include the items that are carried individually to the garbage can b/c they are too large to fit in a bag or too heavy.   So, know you are doing great work and you are making a difference!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Trash cans were reported as overflowing in Zone 1 on Sunday, Zone 2 on Saturday, 6 cans were overturned in Zone 4 on Thursday, and Zone 5 had a grand total of 13 overflowing cans on Sunday!!!!  Some of you have great ideas such as having larger cans, having cans with lids so that the trash doesn't blow out or that the birds do not get into it, having more trash cans at the piers and popular access paths, as well as more frequent trash pick up.  With the economic slow down, I wonder how much more man power the town can afford?  However, if WB enforced $1000 fine for littering like Tybee Island, money may not be an issue as we sure have enough violators!  Or better yet, maybe the enforced fine would deter littering all together and we would not need the increased man hours and we would have a cleaner beach for everyone!

We are still finding canopies, but the town is tagging them if we call it in.  There are also very large holes and dog tracks being reported.

The level of disgusting trash is also on the increase.  There were lots of dirty diapers this week and one turtler reported that sex was not dead as there was a "falsie" on the beach----yikes!!!!---(don't forget your gloves).

Most common items continue to be food and beverage packaging, straws, kids' toys, cigarette butts, and sadly enough, balloons which we know create blockages in sea turtles and often times can lead to their death.

Most cherished item found this week was a bottle with a dollar in it----needless to say, this became a souvenir.  See, sometimes we do get paid as volunteers! :-)

Most useful suggestions were to recycle the kids' toys for friends and to wash the towels and take them to the Sea Turtle Hospital.

I am so inspired by all of you.  When I read your e-mails, I can sense how much you care about our environment and making sure you leave the world a better place for others.  I can also sense how disheartened you are when you see how irresponsible, careless, or disrespectful others can be.  I wanted to share snippets of a couple of e-mails with you so you would know just what is being found on our beach.  I have not included names here b/c I did not have time to call and ask for permission  to copy and I want to protect the innocent  :-).  Seriously, please forgive me if I have offended and I will try to not let it happen again.

"today was the most disheartening day.
we filled 3 grocery plastic bags fast, but literally needed a 13 gallon bag.
at least 13 trash cans were overflowing, from lifeguard stand #13 to crystal pier.
there was only room for us to pick up what was around one that had been over-turned (dirty diapers, take-out food trash, beer cans) oh the beer cans, hundreds!
..... fisherman on the point that were throwing beer cans in the surf, as they were also killing baby sharks & leaving them littering the beach! also, beach towels, boxer shorts, soda/water bottles, etc."

"Wow…eye-opener.  4 grocery-type bags of trash.  And I was being selective on what I picked up.  Trash only.  I left a few sand buckets, 2 boogie boards, pair of shoes, and a frisbee (well away from the water), picked up a pair of sunglasses in front of a lifeguard station so put them on the stand, and left wet clothing on the bench at the gazebo.  And  I found a “message in a bottle.”  A blue wine bottle with a $1 inside—it’s my beach souvenir—I brought it home.
Much to my dismay this morning I was out of plastic gloves.  I used another bag as a pick-up glove and just dumped and refilled my trash bag.  Will definitely be sure to buy some gloves!!
Didn’t know if you needed to know what kind of trash was out there.  Mostly food wrappers and cups, bottles, and cans.  Some firecracker remains.  A couple of diapers (come on now…if you changed the baby, you could at least get the diapers to the trash!)
I wonder if on weekends, WB could provide double the trash cans around the pier.  A lot of them were full to overflowing.
I also had a question from a visitor.  What do we do if we find something valuable?  Is there a lost and found with the WB police? 
....And yes, I did get a few “thank you’s” from early morning beach-goers!
A walk on the beach is still a great way to start the morning…even if I am picking up after others."

I did ask our Tireless Turtle Leader, Nancy if there was a lost and found.  She said if you do find something of value that you feel you want to turn in, there is a lost and found at the WB police station.  In the past, the policy has been that they will keep it for a year and if the owner does not claim the item, then it is returned to the finder.  You will need to check the item at the receptionist window inside the building.


So, if you are like me, this has been a difficult report to digest b/c of the amount of trash and you could use a reminder of some good news.
So, remember at least one Mama Turtle has sensed our efforts and we do have a nest on WB.  So, don't get discouraged and don't give up---we are all making a difference by volunteering in whatever way we can.

In light of the nest, I did see the tracks that Page discovered last Wednesday and let me reiterate what Nancy said----they were unusually difficult to see b/c of the rain.  A couple of you have reported that you search for turtle tracks one way and pick up trash on the way back so that you are sure to not miss the tracks for the trash!!!!  Others walk as a pair or in groups always making sure that at least one person is right above the high tide line.  Either way, I hope turtles leave you more tracks and beach goers leave you less trash!

Here is a link that shows a kindred spirit on Masonboro Island:   http://www.wblivesurf.com/news.asp?id=963
Kindness begets kindness----we must keep educating.

Keep up the excellent work and Happy Turtling.

WEEK OF JUNE 22 - 28 2009

Helloooo Trashy Talking Turtlers!

Man, are you guys ever some trashy talking walking turtlers!

I "think" I'm happy to say that week 4 was a better week as far as trash goes.  The reason I say "think" is b/c one of you pointed out that perhaps the trash was less this week b/c the tide was so high, that much of the trash was washed out to Sea.  Hhhhmmmmmm???  Who knows? But we did collect less trash and if that is b/c beach goers were more responsible, then I will take a little good news.  I suppose time will surely tell.

At any rate, here are your reported totals for the week of June 22 - 28:
36 & 1/6 grocery bags (that's almost 7 less than last week) +
3 & 1/2 (13) gallon size bags (that's almost 1 less than last week)
Plus a number of towels, clothes, shoes, chairs, several canopies, and at least 6 large holes.

We picked up trash in 27 of the 42 zones this week (that's the largest number of zones thus far---good work)

Totals in numbers of bags for Weeks 1 -4 (June 1 - 28)
126 & 5/6 grocery bags
1 paper grocery bag
12 (13) gallon size bags

(See attached chart.)

If we only knew the stories behind some of this trash, then we would really have something to talk about, wouldn't we?

The new and frequent item for week four is fireworks---can't wait for the 4th, can you???  I'm sure the sea turtles really love all that loud banging noise as they are trying to find the right place for their eggs (insert sarcasm where ever you like).

No condoms, but you did find underwear.....

Item of interest was a deck of cancelled casino cards----the fear of the volunteer was that the deck was thrown overboard with other trash.  Again, who knows?; but if you look at the link to this video, you will be appalled at all of the trash that ends up in the Ocean "garbage patch"---enough to cover Texas, not once, but twice!  I don't understand why the US, the UN, NATO, Oprah, someone, somewhere is not doing something to clean up this mess.  If any of you want to write a letter to our President or to the UN, I would be happy to support you in the endeavor.  Heck, I just might do it myself....  Here is the link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnUjTHB1lvM    (Please turn on your speakers)

Other interesting finds are small cylinder shaped white objects about one inch long that are covering the beach at the tide line.  Mellissa Dionesotes spotted them in Zone 2 and my husband and I also saw them in Zone 4 for two weeks (Mellissa has reported that there were not as many this current week).  Mellissa hopes to elicit the help of a friend/co-worker to look at them under a microscope to determine just what they are---sea life, plastic particles, or some other mysterious phenomenon?  Please report if you are finding these and I will keep you updated as to if Mellissa is able to determine what they are.

You all reported at least 6 large holes this week.  Five of these were in Zone 1, where we have a nest, and the other one was in Zone 0.  Kim Meyer found the five in Zone 1 on Sunday----good thing Mamma Turtles did not come up there on Saturday night, or they could have been trapped in those holes.  Angela Cooke and Annemarie Petroff found the other hole in Zone 0 and they said it was large enough for two adults! 

There were a total of 5 trashcans either blown over or turned over in zones 3 & 4 on Saturday.  Luckily, there did not seem to be very much trash in them.

I was at the beach on Sunday and walked over to Stone St. in between rain showers.  Well, it did seem that when people left the beach for fear of getting wet by the rain, they were in such a hurry, that they left all their trash.  My husband and I picked up what we could see in the area where we were standing----it was crazy.  Had we had a large bag, we would have filled it in no time.

There are noted patterns of finding cocktail straws in all colors in front of the Holiday Inn and also straws underneath Oceanic Pier where they have probably been dropped by diners.  Please be aware when you are monitoring these zones.

I don't know the answers to all of the violations of WB ordinances such as digging holes, leaving canopies and other structures, littering, etc.  I have been told that the town does not have enough manpower to enforce all the laws (i.e. you have to catch someone littering in order to write the ticket).  I can certainly understand that the economy has created much stress for the town and it's officials and employees who are trying to run full speed on less horsepower.  But I also can't help but to think if there was a way to enforce the laws, then the public would begin to respect them a little more and the long-term benefit would far outweigh the short-term cost.  

Dewi Rowlands is one of our volunteers who spends time working in Chile.  Here is one of his comments about the condition of our litter situation in comparison to Chile, a 3rd World Country:  "the beaches are immaculate because they are patrolled several times a day by the Carabineros and different to our way, you trash you pay on the spot, cant pay take your ID away and that then becomes a major issue. So 95% of the times there is no trash."
So, maybe we could learn from Chile....?


There was a false crawl this week in Zone 1---maybe she will be back.

Lumina News has reported on WB Sea Turtles for the past 3 weeks and there will be another article next week about the litter---make sure you pick up a copy. 

There was an article in Lumina News about Mr. Rick Catlin being appointed to the NC State Commission for Public Health.  He has been an advocate for a clean and safe beach and also for the sea turtles.  This, I find, hopeful.

Last, but not least, The Trashy Talking Turtlers have saved our ocean from over 126 grocery bags and 12 (13) gallon size bags of trash in just 4 weeks!!!!  That is something to be proud of!

So, until next week, I sincerely hope you all find turtle tracks!

I will leave you with one of my very favorite quotes (besides the one by Jean Beasley that is included in my signature):

"Every action should be taken with thoughts of its effects on children seven generations from now." ---Cherokee saying

Week of June 29th – July 5th 2009

Hello Trashy Talking Turtlers,

Well, the fourth of July has come and gone and I have to say that most of us were pleasantly surprised at how well the beach looked during our walks over the weekend.  Maybe change is beginning???  Again, time will tell, but here are your reported totals.

We picked up trash in 18 of the 42 zones.

Totals for Week 5 June 29 - July 5
47 & 1/4 grocery bags (that's almost 10 more than last week)
+ 1 (13) gallon size bag (that's almost 2 less than last week)
Plus at least 12 chairs, several canopies, towels and a few boogie boards, random shoes including a nice pair of Crocs!
And of course, there were holes, holes and more holes!!!! And dog prints.

Grand Totals for Weeks 1 -5 (June 1 - July 5)
174 & 1/2 grocery bags
+ 1 paper grocery bag
+ 13 & 1/3 (13) gallon size bags

(see attached chart.  You will notice that some numbers have changed over time and that is because some of you report after I send out the letter and then I update the chart).

If you ever wondered what people do on the fourth of July at the beach, just ask the Trashy Talking Turtlers and they will tell you!

Many of you found fire works remnants. Jean Summers found a campfire pit (hole) with marshmallows and Hershey bar wrappers.  (I think I will walk in her zone if you get free smores!--anything for chocolate!)  Page Gebsen found a couple of bar stools in the water and the ever-popular condom (sex is back!)  If you don't believe July 4th is a sexy holiday, just ask Carolyn and Jeanne---they found the "other falsie".  A few volunteers found full-unopened bottles and cans of beer and wine (Party at their house!)  Interesting enough, the falsie was found in the same zone as 9 unopened cans of beer--- I guess people got distracted and didn't need all that beer after all.  :-)  Our own Nancy Fahey found a sleeping couple in Zone 3, but they awoke just before she was able to haul them away.

So, when we look at the numbers and we think of the gazillion people that were on WB over the holiday weekend, I think the trash report is pretty good in comparison with previous non-holiday weeks.  Let's hope it stays that way.  I also can't help but wonder if all of us, who are so in love with the sea turtles, have taken a stand of some sort against the abuse of Mother Earth, her Oceans, and her Creatures and just maybe (along with other ocean loving people and the local Lumina News) we have been heard and have affected a little bit of a change.  One volunteer shared with me that the Mayor, Mr. Whalen was seen collecting trash on Friday morning.  Thank you Mr. Mayor for your support of a clean beach.  Also, the town public works employees were seen on Saturday 4th of July emptying the overflowing trash cans in the morning and in the evening-----Thank you Public Works Employees!  Also many beach goers thanked the volunteers for picking up trash and the beach goers were seen cleaning their sites and taking the trash to the cans.

However, as good as the report may or may not be, and as strong as the support from the town and the public may or may not be, I have to confess my frustration with those humans who visit the beach and leave behind their trash with no regard to others.  I suppose they are content with the idea that someone else will pick it up or as one beach goer said "it will wash away when the tide comes in".  I happened to be on the beach on Saturday, July 4 at the very popular Stone St. access.  Let me tell you that my emotions almost got the best of me as I watched people continue to empty their coolers and trash in an already overflowing trash can when there were other trash cans just a few feet away.  Now as impressive as their efforts were to carry the trash to the trashcan, they just looked away as their own trash fell off the garbage heap and onto the ground.  Then they put even more trash on top of that trash!!!!  I couldn't sit in my chair any longer and so I decided to practice my freedoms on the fourth of July and I walked right up to the trash can and picked up the trash and asked if they would help me and explained that their trash was going to blow into the ocean.  And you know what?  They did help me.   But I was still angry inside, even though I was trying to be positive---didn't their mothers teach them anything about litter???????  And if the trashcan is full, can't you just carry the trash back with you and dispose of it at home or wherever you happen to be staying?  Seriously, you brought the trash to the beach, take the trash off the beach.   There are plenty of beautiful beaches and parks around the world that do not have garbage cans---you pack out what you bring in.  WB is gracious enough to supply trash receptacles, but if your trash doesn't fit in the can, just take it home, please don't leave it on the beach!!! (Sorry about my rampage, I know I am preaching to the choir here)

Then there was the issue of Masonboro Island and all the trash left out there.  Of course, if you watched the news since the fourth, you too have seen the report.  Here is a link in which a boater talks about his efforts to collect trash and how a little girl commented to him about a sea turtle:  http://pics.wect.com/MediaItemView.aspx?id=113315  If you explore the WECT site a little more, you will also see other photos of the trash on Masonboro Island.  Simply unbelievable.  No wonder sea turtle nesting activity is way down on Masonboro Island as well.

Not only are people lighting fire works on the 4th, but they continue to light cigarettes and dispose of them on the beach.  Gary McNair of WECT did an opinion section about cigarette butts and suggested better enforcement of the litter law as it concerns cigarettes.   Well, that got me to thinking about increasing litter fines on WB and actually catching people in the act of littering.  You don't have to be on the beach long before you can spot someone using the sand as an ashtray.  Wonder what would happen if  $1,000 tickets were passed out for that litter action?  I think less people would use the Earth to put out their cigarette.  You can view this section at:   http://www.wect.com/Global/story.asp?s=10619037  (You can either read the article or click on the video to watch it)

So, all we can do is keep educating and keep doing what we know is right and good.  I think the town and the employees and all kinds of volunteers (not just Trashy Talking Turtlers) are doing an incredible job at trying to keep our ocean free of trash.  However, I think we can do more.  Wouldn't it be nice to be recognized nationally as The Cleanest Beach?  That would be a title to be proud of.  Matt Lauer might even come to town for that!!!!!  Together, we could do it.

A Little More Talk About Sea Turtles: 

As you know and as Nancy has informed us, the nesting activity is way down for WB, but the numbers of strandings in our area and in NC are astronomical.  According to seaturtle.org , NC has a reported 146 nests, but 233 strandings.  SC has 1445 nests and 97 strandings.  GA has 645 nests and 103 strandings.  One theory of why NC has so many strandings is that our state still allows gill netting and sea turtles are trapped in these nets and die from either entrapment or injuries caused by the nets.  It is a sad story.

The good news is that we do have the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle hospital in which we can take sick and injured sea turtles to be rehabbed.  Some of the turtles there have excreted trash that they obviously ingested.  Some of this trash includes balloons and candy bar wrappers. Loggerhead sea turtle, Lola passed a mysterious black object that you can view at seaturtlehospital.org

WBSTP not only monitors our beach, but we support the Sea Turtle Hospital as much as we can.  And with all the strandings of injured turtles, they need all the support they can get.  One of the goals of WBSTP has been to purchase a digital x-ray machine for the hospital---a very pricey goal, but very important.  We possibly have of an opportunity to buy a used machine for $35,000 (this is less than 1/2 the price of other machines).  So, if you or someone you know would like to contribute, please contact Nancy Fahey at 910-612-3047 to make a donation and specify if it is for the x-ray machine or visit the website at www.turtles.wrightsville-beach.info.

I have attached several photos that depict this week at WB including canopies, cigarette butts, trashcans, holes and a very fun sand sculpture found by Page.  Thanks for sending the photos.

I sincerely hope you all find turtle tracks----that would be something worth talking about!!!!

Week of July 6 –July 12, 2009

Greetings Trashy Talking Turtlers!

I don't even know what to say about the trash on WB anymore!  And yet, there is never a shortage of trash or things to say about it!!!! 

Below are your totals and there is also a nice graph attached that will show you the zones that are trashiest.  As you look at the graph, you will see that zones 2 and 5 usually have the most garbage and it should be noted that these zones include Johnnie Mercer Pier and Oceanic Pier.  

I would like to give a high turtle flipper to Jill Rodeghier for creating the graph that is attached.  It is so much easier to look at than the table I was creating every week.  She and hubby Rick were able to creatively and intellectually determine how many grocery-sized bags are in a 13-gallon size bag----(4).  So, for the purpose of simplicity, as we move forward, I will be converting the 13 gallon bags to grocery bags in the reported totals.

We picked up trash in 26 of the 42 zones (great job)

Totals for July 6 - July 12
45.91 bags of trash (that is 5.34 less than last week)

Grand Total since June 1
253.306 bags of trash
Plus countless chairs, towels, blankets, clothes, styrofoam coolers, and umbrellas that have been dragged to the garbage cans.

I still think some may find it enjoyable to go shopping at WB in the mornings as you can still get a special on towels and clothes.  Another pair of Crocs were found this week, a kite, and two wads of extra kite string.  Zone 5 is always an interesting area with diverse shopping as Kym found a scuba belt and knife.  Also in zone 5, Page found a "big wad of fishing line" a couple getting married and a beautiful sunrise.  You can always find kids toys in all the zones. Adults, please don’t feel left out because there are usually toys for you too as yet another falsie was found in zone 3.  

Another new item for this week was fresh dog poop---yuck!  How would you like that between your toes as you are strolling down the beach?  One pile of poop was found in Zone 4 on Wednesday and another pile in zone 2 on Saturday.  Carolyn, Carol, and Jeanne found two loose dogs in zone 3 on Thursday.  Not to worry, they did have WB tags, so they were not far from home.  In weeks past, some of you have spotted people walking their dogs but have been reassured by the owner that he cleans up after his dogs.  I guess other owners are not as responsible.  Don't get me wrong-- I love a dog, especially my own!!!!  I love to see a dog playing on the beach because they really know how to have fun!  But there are reasons for some ordinances such as no one wants to dodge dog poop on the beach, and dogs are usually fully capable of sniffing out some yummy sea turtle eggs.

Many of you continue to report finding very large holes and will spend hours filling them in----thank you.  A couple of volunteers, Tammy Scott and her husband walk the beach in the evenings and spend time not only picking up trash but mostly filling in holes.  I have been told that digging holes is also against town ordinance, but I suppose it is a difficult one to enforce as we find more and more very deep holes.  This is not only a danger to the sea turtles, but to people as well.  Pam Becker learned in a class recently that one cubic foot of soil weighs 100 pounds.   So, with that being said, it clearly would be dangerous to be in a hole where the tide can rush in and cover you with all that wet sand. Not to mention the dangers to unsuspecting beach goers who just may be walking or jogging down the beach and happen to stumble into one of these holes.

My emotions swing between hopeful and disheartened, proud of our accomplishments and disappointed at humans who have no regard for life, except their own.  And really, they unknowingly have no regard for their own lives as they continue to suffocate the planet with their trash.

Monday, July 6th, my husband and I subbed in zone 2 and we picked up 7 grocery bags worth of trash that included fireworks remnants, beer cans, a styrofoam cooler, maxi pad and a used condom.  And we didn't even get all of the trash--there was literally not enough time, as we had to get ready for work.  Now, this comes as no surprise to any of you, as you have all experienced this monitoring the beach.  But it sure did cause me to start my week feeling very disheartened.  Now I know the owners of Johnnie Mercer Pier did not personally go down and throw all that trash on the beach, but wouldn't it be great if the Pier owners and employees would take some pride in the Pier and create a reputation of cleanliness?  After all, if no one picked up the trash at the pier, it would be so disgusting that people would eventually just stop going there and then the pier would be hard pressed to generate income.  Wouldn't periodic clean ups during the day by the owners and/or employees set a great example for the rest of the beach businesses and beach goers?

Not all of you saw a lot of trash this week; in fact, many of you e-mailed that you had very little trash in your zones and even enjoyed your walks.  Saturday morning seemed to be a particularly beautiful day for most of you and even Johnnie Mercer Pier was reported as being very clean on Sunday!  There was a surfing contest going on and I don't know if that had anything to do with how clean the beach was or not, but regardless, it is very appreciated to have a clean beach.  As I read your reports I thought that maybe things were beginning to turn around a little and I was so encouraged.  But then I started calculating the final numbers and we still had a lot of trash.

So, the positive side of all that trash is it is no longer on the shoreline headed into the ocean.  So, people can point fingers at who they think is causing the trash, or where the trash is coming from, but the bottom line is that something needs to be done about it and WBSTP volunteers can feel very proud of the fact that collectively we have saved the ocean from 253.3 bags of trash!  Please give yourselves a hand!

As I was picking up a piece of plastic packaging this week, I read what was printed on it.   "Warning.  This article can be dangerous.  To avoid suffocation, please keep out of reach of children".  I thought it should read, "Warning.  This article can be dangerous and will surely suck the life right out of the ocean."

If you wonder if it really matters that we are picking up trash and trying to make a stand for a cleaner beach, I urge you to watch this short video.  And if anyone wonders how trash relates to sea turtles, I again urge you to look at this video.  I must warn you that if you are having a particularly emotional day, you will cry; and if you are having a particularly good day, you may still cry.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cCza9z07F0&NR=1   

And if anyone wonders about the condition of the ocean, it can be measured by the condition of the sea turtle.  Just go to seaturtlehospital.org and view the picture of Hammock II.  If you click on Hammock's picture, it will enlarge and you can see just how sick she looked when she entered the hospital.  Hammock is looking way better these days, but this photo is one example of the very sad condition in which more and more turtles are being found.

Thanks to all of you who spend your mornings monitoring for nests, thanks to all of you who spend your nights waiting for hatchlings, and thanks to all of you who miss the sunrise because you were bent down picking up trash.  Thanks to all of you for Saving the Sea Turtles.

Week of July 13 - 19 2009

Hello Turtle Peeps,

We are over half way through the beach monitoring portion of turtle season; and although we have only one nest, we have accomplished a lot for the sea turtles and Mother Ocean by preventing litter from being blown out to sea.  I am always encouraged and inspired by your dedication.

The totals are down for this week, which always seems like good news on the surface.  However, please remember that it did rain quite a bit which means that beach goers may have stayed home.   Also many volunteers did not monitor the beach on Monday due to the driving rain.  Not to worry though, b/c our Tireless Turtle Leader, Nancy Fahey walked almost the whole beach to ensure we did not miss any tracks and collected 8 bags of trash as she went (the majority at Johnnie Mercer's Pier)---Thank you Nancy.  And, I would be so remiss if I did not mention Dick Chapman as Super Turtler for walking in that torrential down pour and also picking up trash----now, that is dedication!!!

We picked up trash in 18 of the 42 zones (this does not include Nancy walking the whole beach on Monday, but total bags do reflect her collection)

Weekly Total:
38.33 bags of trash
Plus the usual chairs, umbrellas, clothing articles, boogey boards, etc. AND HOLES HOLES HOLES.

Grand Total since June 1:
286.88 bags of trash (please refer to attached chart.  You will notice that numbers from last week have changed as I received reports after I sent the letter)

Below are some of your interesting reports:

*John and Terri Littlejohn found a city trash bin in Zone 1 on Tuesday that had been moved to the tide line where it could have easily floated away.  They drug it back to its usual location.
*Martha found overflowing cans in Zone 1 on Wednesday and positively replied that people are getting the message to dispose of trash properly.  That is good news---now if we only had lids on those cans to keep the trash from blowing out.
* Jean found an unopened beer and a whole pack of cigarettes in Zone 1 on Sunday (maybe the beach goer had a spiritual experience and quit cold turkey!)  She also witnessed a wedding (love is always in the air)
*Nancy Fahey found a condom tied and filled with water (maybe things did not go as planned???).  She also found a dirty diaper--yuck!
*Richard found campers in Zone 2 plus a couple sleeping in the lifeguard stand.  Also, he notes that renters often leave supplies on the beach overnight, and this week they left kayaks and other supplies (guess it really is too much work to drag all of your toys to the beach everyday when you are on vacation!)
*Nicole found a fun sand sculpture of a shark chasing a swimmer.
*George and Barbara Popp found 5 metal webbed chairs in zone 4, which they carried to the trashcan (if you watched the video sent last week with this report, you remember how dangerous chairs can be when turtles become trapped in them)  They also found a ladies handbag with wallet, which they graciously turned into the WBPD.
*Page found 12 holes in zone 5 and also witnessed a wedding or a martial arts class (wasn't sure which  :-) )   She also found a used tampon (double yuck), goggles, snorkel mask  (maybe these went with the belt and knife that Kym found last week---sure hope the diver or snorkeler is okay) and another big wad of fishing line.

So, as you can see, things are always interesting on WB---never a dull moment!

A Little Information About Holes at the Beach:

So, maybe people do think we are the turtle nazis, but I have found that usually what is good for the sea turtle is also good for the human.  This is especially true when it comes to digging holes in the sand.  I know we have all seen the holes that are several feet deep and several feet wide---those could be human graves and many people do not even realize it.  Please click on this article and read just how dangerous holes can be:  http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/07/23/earlyshow/contributors/susankoeppen/main3089871.shtml  

As you can see, holes can collapse without warning.  Many of you will recall that a teenage boy almost drowned last year at Topsail Island when he was in a hole that quickly turned into quicksand as the tide came in.  It took rescue workers much time to finally free him from the hole.  It was a scary situation as the tide was washing up around his chin and mouth.  Had it been much longer, he would not have been able to breathe.  The following is a segment printed in The Topsail Voice :  
"Doctor Barry Maron has published an article in the Journal of American Medical Association on the dangers of digging holes in the sand at the beach.  Occupational Safety and Health Regulations forbid workers from working in trenches or holes greater than 5 feet in depth (except for solid rock) without some form of cave-in protection (trench box) and in holes less than 5 feet in depth, the trench must be inspected to make sure it is safe.  Sand is the most dangerous and least stable types of soil to dig in and can cave in in a fraction of a second.  I have worked in occupational safety and health law for over 14 years and have stopped while on vacation at the beach and warned parents that were digging holes in the sand for their kids to play in that it could collapse in a matter of seconds especially if the tide were to come in.  The hole doesn't have to be greater than 5 feet, it just has to cover the child's chest so that he can't breathe.  Also, the weight of the sand can crush vital organs and cause death."

WB does have an ordinance that holes must be filled in before leaving the beach.  After reading the above information, I'm inclined to think that the digging of large holes should be banned altogether.

Another tidbit of info that Page shared with me this week is that sand can actually contain E.Coli bacteria and other harmful bacteria.  You can view the article here:   http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31928316/ns/health-infectious_diseases/

Sea Turtles and Ice Cream

I love sea turtles and I love ice cream.  These two things go great together at Boomballatti's ice cream shop located in The Forum.  Boomballatti's not only has great ice cream (made fresh everyday), but they are also great friends of the sea turtles.  The owners have allowed WBSTP to place a donation box in their shop and patrons have been giving generously in the week that it has been there.  So, if you have a hankering for some really good local ice cream, visit Boomballatti's and thank the owners for supporting WBSTP.

Sea Turtles and Coffee

Joe Van Gogh coffee company, Durham NC has developed a coffee especially for the Sea Turtle and 10% of the proceeds goes to Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.  The whole idea came from an 11-year-old girl who visited the hospital.  So, if you are a morning coffee drinker as I am, or if you want some coffee to go with your pint (or cone) of Boomballatti's ice cream, visit seaturtlehospital.org and order your coffee today.  

Have a glorious week!

WEEK OF JULY 20 - JULY 26, 2009

Greetings Trashy Talking Turtlers,

Hope you are all well and having a great week.  I am happy to report that most of you reported less trash last week.  That is wonderful news and I hope it continues.  This is the goal we have been working and hoping for.  However, I must be real here and let you know that fewer volunteers have been reporting their collections, so I am not sure how accurate the numbers are.  Also, many of you indicated that the tide was so high during week 8 that you were afraid much of the trash was washed away with the tide.  These are things we cannot control; but we can feel very good about the trash we are removing from the beach.  Every bit helps!

If the trash collected continues to be less and less, we will have to rename ourselves to the "Tidy Talking Turtlers"!  ;-)

TOTALS FOR JULY 20 - JULY 26, 2009
We picked up trash in 21 of the 42 zones.
32.41 bags of trash collected
Plus, of course, the many towels, chairs, umbrellas, clothing items, etc. that you carried to the trashcans.

313.636 bags of trash
*See attached graph

Patterns that were noticed this week:  there are still lots of fireworks being set off on the beach and we are picking up the remnants.  As we know, Nancy reported two false crawls on Saturday morning on the North end, but Kim Meyer reported picking up a lot of fireworks in Zone 1 on Sunday morning.  If those Mamma Turtles had come back Saturday night to nest and there were fireworks going off, she probably would have changed her mind about nesting on WB.

There also continues to be many many straws in front of Holiday Inn Sunspree, Blockade Runner, and Oceanic.  Perhaps these establishments could consider a more environmentally friendly method of serving their drinks.  I'm sure beach goers would understand and many may even appreciate the idea that we are trying to protect the beautiful ocean that they are coming to enjoy.

And of course, many many many many holes.  We can't seem to get to the bottom of all these holes!

Great News about Johnnie Mercer Pier
I know I have spotlighted Johnnie Mercer's Pier as being so disgustingly dirty in many of these newsletters and with good reason!  However, this week, I must spot light it because it is the most improved (at least on Monday mornings!)  I am so excited.  I'm not sure what has happened over there, but I could not be more thrilled and neither could Mellissa who walks zone 2 on Mondays.  There are more trashcans out there and also some recycling containers---this seems to have helped tremendously.  Way to go Johnnie Mercer's and Town of WB----maybe we can achieve "most clean and green" beach after all!  I have attached pics that Mellissa provided of her Monday morning walk----I can't even believe that is the same pier.  Hope it is that clean all week long!

A Few More Numbers:
I thought it would be interesting for you to know how many times trash is being collected in each zone.  This will help you do some of your own analysis as you look at the attached chart.

We have 6 zones that get walked 7 days a week.  We have been monitoring the beach for 8 weeks which means that each zone has had the potential of being cleaned of trash 56 times each (to date).

Below I have listed the number of times out of 56 that each zone has been cleaned of trash. (Maybe I will have a graph of this at some point)

Zone 0 = 35
Zone 1 = 25
Zone 2 = 37
Zone 3 = 22
Zone 4 = 37
Zone 5 = 39

Thank you all for your hard work.

Witty Volunteers
This week, I received a couple of e-mails from volunteers expressing your own views about trash and holes.  I thought the rest of you would like to hear from someone besides me, so I have copied them below (with permission).  Enjoy!

From Goldie Walton:
July 23, 2009 Talking Trash

I think I can explain why all the sea turtles volunteers find so much trash on the beach every morning when they go out to look for the tracks of mother turtles trying to find a decent and appropriate place to lay their precious eggs. The trash we encounter ranges from the mundane - like cups and bottles and plastic bags, to the expected leftovers of a day at the beach - sodden towels, broken boogie boards, forgotten chairs and flip flops, to the humorous (or inexplicable depending on how you look at it) - condoms filled with water or images of seashell mermaids luring sailors to a watery grave, to the seriously disturbing - like used tampons and dirty baby diapers.

The problem the volunteers have is that we are not thinking outside the box. We expect the beach to be treated as a beautiful natural resource with narrowly defined uses. What we fail to consider is that for most people the beach is not just a place to go to swim, to relax, maybe just to sit and watch the waves roll in. Oh no for them it is so much more!

Think about it fellow volunteers! The beach is made up of sand. That makes it a great place to play volley ball, a wonderful place to dig large random holes to watch the water rush into, and most important, the sand makes the beach resemble a large, eternal ash tray. That’s why so many people just extinguish their cigarettes into the sand and leave the butts there to be swept out to sea, never to be seen or heard from again.  What could be more obvious?

I’ll tell you. Not only is sand a big part of the beach, an even bigger part is the fact that the beach is right next to a large body of water called the “cean.” For some people the resemblance of the ocean to a toilet is unmistakable. For that reason alone, I think we can conclude that the dirty baby diapers and used tampons were merely disposed of as if the big old ocean certainly wouldn’t mind a few more toilet items to dispose of. What could be more natural? Well maybe the other things that toilets are used for that also find their way into the big sea that keeps on taking whatever is thrown into it, without the inconvenience of overflowing into the laundry room.

And finally there is the idea of the beach as a lovely natural resource. This sort of venue just cries out as a place to hold a special celebration. Hence the weddings and funerals and family reunions. Which is great except that, maybe, the attendees forget that, unlike say an American LegionPost  or a church reception hall, the ocean does not have someone on retainer to make sure that all the rules of propriety and clean up are followed. This may be why those water filled condoms surfaced. I’m only guessing here, but maybe someone dropped the ball and put the groomsmen in charge of the reception decorations.

In the final analysis it is not too hard to imagine what other people believe the beach to be and maybe we ought to embrace their vision. At the very least it would make us less cranky as we pick up after them.
From Nancy Fahey:
I did not walk any of the zones last week, but I was at the beach for a little R & R for a few hours both yesterday and today.  During my visit, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting next to "The Mole Family".  Yesterday, I watched in amazement as Father Mole dug a hole approximately 4 feet deep by 3 feet wide with a construction shovel just for fun and entertainment while at the beach. Young Daughter Mole (about 8 years old) had a ball playing in the deep hole for much of the day. 
Being a creature of habit, I sat in the same general area at the beach today, and who happened to be nearby, yet again?  You guessed it....The Mole Family!  Oh joy!!  They chose a spot slightly closer to the water today.  That could have been because the 4 foot hole left over from yesterday did not provide for a new and interesting digging experience.  They had moved onto new territory, this time choosing a spot close to the tide line.  Since the tide was coming in and theMole Family did not want to be bothered with moving back (could've had something to do with their leftover 4 foot hole directly behind them), Father Mole, instead, was able to relax and enjoy this day at the beach by digging a huge crescent moon shaped moat and sand wall to protect the Moles from the incoming tide.  Right next to the moat, many of the Mole Daughters began digging another huge hole with their own little shovels.  It was truly a sight to behold, and I was transfixed with amazement.  The entire area around me looked as though it had been excavated with a backhoe!  What talented little Moles they were!  I was especially amazed when Grandfather Mole arose to head to the cottage for lunch.  He skillfully maneuvered throughout the excavation site narrowly missing the four foot hole and with nary a broken bone to show for it! 
Anyway, I thought you would surely enjoy and appreciate the story of "The Mole Family's Relaxing Day at the Beach".   
So much for MY relaxing day at the beach!!  :-)   

May you all have a wonderful and clean week! 

Weeks of July 27 – August 9, 2009

Greetings to all of you Trashy Talking Turtlers!!!!

As you know, I have been out of the country for a week; and therefore, will be combining your reports from the last two weeks. 

Can you believe that we have been monitoring the beach and picking up trash for more than 10 weeks now?!?!   Although, we only have one nest, we can feel very good about our efforts to help all sea creatures by creating a better environment for them to live.  I know that we have also had many strandings on our beach and this indicates the need to keep our beach clean.  The Pollyanna part of me wants to believe that sick turtles come to WB b/c they know our Nancy Fahey will be there in a splash dressed in her flotation vest & fast flippers with skin board in hand, to rescue them and whisk them away to The Sea Turtle Hospital where they can get some tender loving care.  Maybe the sick and injured sea turtles also know how much the volunteers and residents love them and they come here knowing one of us will give Nancy a call! 

Thanks to all of you for continuing to respond to the needs of the sea turtles.

TOTALS FOR JULY 27 - August 2, 2009
We picked up trash in 22 of the 42 zones.
37.5 bags of trash collected

TOTALS FOR August 3 - August 9, 2009
We picked up trash in 24 of the 42 zones.
29.41 bags of trash collected (this is a reduction in volume over previous weeks)
Plus, of course, the many towels, chairs, umbrellas, clothing items, shovels, etc. that you carried to the trashcans.

GRAND TOTAL FOR JUNE1 - August 9, 2009
365.886 bags of trash
*See attached graph

Here are some of your interesting and funny reports:
Hi Ginger,
This morning I picked up about a half bag of trash in zone 0 that consisted of a variety of things from plastic baggies to water bottles.  One unusual item I found was first the lens to a pair of glasses.  I picked it up to keep for myself as "sea glass" and a couple of minutes later I actually found the warped wire frame with clam shells attached.  I looked for the other lens in the same general area but no luck to complete my find :)
Thanks, Sydney  (If any of you found the other lens, you may consider gifting it to Sydney)

Good Morning Ginger!
This morning I had 2 and 1/2 grocery size bags.  I have to say I love the new recycling bins! Its great! I sort out my trash now too to recycle what I can.  It looks like a lot of beach goers are doing the same... the recycling bins were full today and of the actual trash that is supposed to be in them. Plastic in the plastic bin and cans in the other.

I found some goodies today. A maglight flashlight and a pretty nice frisbee.

Funny story of the morning:I saw 4 people skinny dipping.  While they were swimming an older gentelman that was walking the beach and picking up trash didnt realize that people were in the water and he threw out their stuff thinking it was trash from the night before. It was hillarious to watch them run down the beach after him to find their stuff.

Thats all for now. See you at the meeting tonight!

Mellissa D
Zone 2, Monday mornings 

Hi Ginger, 
Wed. morning in zone 5 someone left a twelve pack and I collected about half a grocery bag of garbage... mostly bottle caps and some straws.  I actually chased a couple of birds by the oceanic in hopes they would drop some plastic they had been trying to eat.  It worked, they dropped it and I got that trash!  It seems like the most trash is always around the oceanic which confuses me.  You would think the restaurant would take better care of the surrounding beach.

Other notables for the past two weeks:

Dick Chapman found two dirty diapers in Zone 1---I think Dick has found the most dirty diapers so far---I'm sure he would happily give that prize to someone else!

Julie Nichols found a single hair extension sticking out of the sand --also in Zone 1

Page Gebsen found a table in zone 5.

Several of you are finding unopened alcohol---so far no one has admitted to keeping the unopened beer and wine......

Kym Davidson carries one bag for recyclables and one bag for trash.  Maybe we should follow her example.

Tammy Scott subbed in zone 3 and watched a dog owner unleash their dog.  The owner ran down the beach leaving the dog to poop.  Tammy, being so passionate about a clean beach, cleaned up after the dog-----I think that deserves some recognition!  Shame on that dog owner!!!!  

Other patterns for the past two weeks:

We are still finding a lot of firework remnants.

Many of you are commenting that the most trash is found around Johnnie Mercer, Oceanic, and Sunspree Resort.  Lots of colorful plastic twisty straws continue to litter the beach in front of the Sunspree. 

Cigarette Butts Cigarette Butts Cigarette Butts Cigarette Butts Cigarette Butts Cigarette Butts Cigarette Butts Cigarette Butts Cigarette Butts!!!!!!!!!!

HOLES!  Deep and Wide holes!  Sometimes as many as 10 per zone.

Guatemala and Plastic / Plastic and our Planet
So, John and I went on a mission trip to build houses in Guatemala.  It was an amazing experience.  We helped to build houses for 11 families.  When I say houses I mean a cement pad, four walls and a roof covered in sheet metal.  Each house costs $325.00 and was greatly appreciated by the families.  Obviously, we were in very poverty stricken villages.  Many of the families lived in houses constructed of corn stalks tied together or corn stalks covered in wet mud.  The floors were dirt floors and the chickens, dogs and cats all roamed inside looking for scraps of food.  The children had no toys and were easily entertained with a bottle of bubbles.  They would giggle for hours while we blew bubble after bubble after bubble.  Children wore shoes with toes cut out b/c their feet had grown too big for the shoes, or they wore no shoes at all.  Men worked in the fields all day bare foot.  It was image after image after image of poverty...too many to recount.
Guatemala itself is beautiful and lush.  Looming avocado trees bear as many as 2000 fruits each per season, strawberries grow year-round, carrots are as huge as men's forearms.  There are beautiful cities like Antigua,  Volcanoes that flow with lava, and beautiful people.
But again, there is much poverty in some of the villages.  In those villages, there is also much garbage heaped in piles on the sides of the road, on narrow mountain trails, outside the doors of people's huts, on the ground where children play, on the ground where dogs lay and scavenge for food, in the ditches that lead to the stream that eventually leads to the ocean.  On most sites, I would draw hop scotch in the dirt for the kids, and I would always have to brush the area clean of the garbage, with my foot, before I could draw the squares.
Much of this garbage was plastic.  I asked the local missionaries, one who has lived there 27 years, about the garbage.  He informed me that Guatemala was once listed as the cleanest country until the plastic industry prospered.  At one time, all of the goods and foods that Guatemalans purchased were packaged in banana leaves or palm leaves.  Obviously, banana and palm leaves can be discarded without creating garbage in the street.  Now that Guatemalans purchase goods packaged in plastic, some continue to discard the plastic just as they would have the banana and palm leaves, creating piles of trash.  There is obviously a lack of education and knowledge.  
It was disheartening and almost hopeless to see all the trash by the streets and in the villages.  I believe it is our responsibility to continue to be good stewards of the Earth, educate our youth, reduce our plastic consumption and challenge the plastic industry to help clean up their damage.
Here is a site, created by some traveling surfers, of the plastic they found while touring Guatemala.  If you click on this site, you will also find a link to a children's book, All the Way to the Ocean, that teaches about trash in our oceans.  You may find this to be a good gift for the young ones in your life.  http://surferswithoutborders.blogspot.com/2009/04/plastic-plastic-everywhere-gotta-stop.html
Looking Ahead:
As beach monitoring season is coming to an end, for turtlers,  at the end of August, (except for Nancy on ATV) please think of ways that any of you may want to continue our beach clean up efforts.  This is obviously needed.  Hopefully, the town will also incorporate and enforce more strict penalties for violations, but even so, there will still be a need for clean up.  Let's not ignore this need.  Every bit helps.  Please let me know if you would be willing to be part of, or lead, a continued organized effort to keep our beaches clean.  I am open to ideas, so please share.  

Have a happy week!  Enjoy the attached sand castle pics taken by Tammy Scott.

Week of August 10 – August 16, 2009

Hello all you Turtle Trackers!!!!!

What an exciting week this has been to know that we had about 135 baby sea turtles make their way into the Ocean on Friday night!!!  I wish all of you had been able to see it.  Witnessing something like that is a great reward for all the hard work we have put into this season.  I did write a short story about the hatching event and have attached it to this e-mail for those of you who would like to read it.  Hope you enjoy.

Here are our numbers for this week:

TOTALS FOR August 10 - August 16, 2009
We picked up trash in 26 of the 42 zones---way to go!!!!!
33.83 bags of trash collected
Plus, of course, the many towels, chairs, umbrellas, clothing items, etc. that you carried to the trashcans.  Many of you also reported canopies being left on the beach this week.

393.216 bags of trash
*See attached graph

A Few More Numbers:

Below I have listed the number of times out of 77 that each zone has been cleaned of trash. (Maybe I will have a graph of this at some point)

Zone 0 = 45
Zone 1 = 40
Zone 2 = 53
Zone 3 = 29
Zone 4 = 49
Zone 5 = 53

Thank you all for your hard work.

Patterns for the Week:
The overall theme this week seemed to be beer cans!  It was interesting that many of you felt your zone was cleaner, but you were finding more beer cans than usual.  When I walked zone 4 on Wednesday, there were 12 empty cans on one sand dune; and you guys were reporting finding the same.  I guess people are trying to enjoy the last of their summer vacations, but I sure wish they would remove the evidence.
Calvin found a discarded swim suit in Zone 0.  Unlike Mellissa's report last week, he did not see the skinny dippers!
Joy found many holes in Zone 5 on Tuesday.  One hole had a sign that asked people to keep digging!!!!!  I haven't heard anymore about this Guiness Book of World Records attempt, but please be careful if you are walking in Zone 5 for I fear you may end up in China!
Also in Zone 5, Page witnessed yet another early morning wedding where 4 people, asleep on sleeping bags, were in attendance!  Somehow, I don't think they made the guest list!  Guess that is the true meaning of "Wedding Crashers".
A few of your comments:
I picked up 3 grocery bags of trash this morning in zone 5...the most so far this year for me.  At least 15 straws and lots of other garbage surrounded the oceanic pier.  The oceanic is always were the most garbage is.  I am having my wedding at blue water and have been in touch with the banquet manager for blue water and oceanic and told her about the problem.  She said she will talk to the general manager today and they will staff someone to pick up garbage at the end of the night...yeah!  She also thanked me for calling. Hopefully things will change! 
 Have a great day, Christie
(Thank you Christie for being such a wonderful advocate.  I'm also glad to hear that the banquet manager and area businesses are so responsive.  I really think everyone wants to have a cleaner beach, but are sometimes unaware of the issues.  Since we are out there in the mornings, we are in a good position to help increase awareness)

From Julie:
Crossing the bridge, the fog obscured the water.  It was still dark, maybe dreary, misty, almost spooky quiet.  Crossing over the dunes, the water was clear and smooth, fog had lifted somewhat above the ocean and hung as protection from the sun that was about to encompass the day.  The low tide had left a vast beach with yesterday’s remembrances of a fun day.
 No one was there.  I was the one to break the solitude.  What privileged enjoyment. 
 Gulls joined me on my jaunt…some so close I could have touched them had I wanted to.  They had no fear…we shared the beautiful stillness.  On the return trek, others had discovered the joy of early morning.  The ocean was dotted with a half dozen surfers, waiting for the soft rolling waves to emerge into something worthy of their abilities.  Grey clouds had lifted, but still no sun in sight.  The edge of the horizon had a slight glow.  And surfers patiently waited. 
 I hope they enjoyed the tranquility of the awakening day as much as I did. (Thanks Julie for sharing your thoughts.  It is nice to be reminded of just how nice it can be to walk the beach in the mornings)

Behind the Scenes at WB
I know that some of you may wonder if what we are doing is really making a difference.  I also know that it can be discouraging sometimes to walk the beach to look for turtle tracks and only come away with a bag or two of trash.  But please don't give up and please know that our efforts are not in vain.  Besides the direct benefit that we are creating for Sea Turtles and other marine animals, we are playing a part in encouraging change for Wrightsville Beach.
The Board of Alderman members do read our letters and they are very supportive of what we are doing.  In fact, most people are supportive of the message that we are trying to send; but we must remember that change takes time.  One BOA Member, Ms. Lisa Weeks has been a very strong advocate for cleaning the beach.  In fact, Ms. Weeks has started having conversations with Holiday Inn and the Oceanic about the issues we have noted around their properties at the beach.  Both businesses have responded in a positive way.  Ms. Weeks has also initiated conversations about the possibility of having trashcans with lids to prevent trash from being scattered by the wind or birds.
Other BOA members have also verbalized their support including Mr. Bill Blair and Mr. David Cignotti.  Mr. Bob Simpson, the Town Manager has also given his support.
I would say that we are on our way to seeing an improvement.  So, please continue to do what you do----Thanks so much.  
Star News:
Tom Grady of Wilmington Star News was alerted of the work that WBSTP volunteers  and also the Surf Riders Foundation were doing about litter on the beach.  He included this in his report in Sunday's paper.  You can read his article here:   http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20090814/COLUMNIST/908144002/1091/COLUMNIST47?Title=Animal-Tales-Enjoy-the-beach-but-take-your-trash-home
I think you will find his ideas validating and funny.   He makes a suggestion that litter bugs should be sentenced to picking up trash in an orange vest proclaiming themselves to be a "Filthy Litter Slug Slob".
Forgetting to Walk a Zone
It can happen to the best of us.  I know, because it happened to me---the person who sends out these reports every week and preaches about looking for tracks and keeping our beach clean.  I was absolutely mortified!!!!  It was Wednesday morning at around 9:00Am and I was replying to e-mails, when I got an e-mail from Martha Eggleston about her trash pick up for "Wednesday".     Oh my God----it is "Wednesday" and I did not monitor my zone!!!!!!
Yes, John and I did forget.  I could not believe it.  I so hated to call Nancy and tell her.  But, true to fashion, Nancy was very understanding and was very gracious.  She offered to walk the zone for me, but I insisted on doing it myself.  So, I rearranged my work schedule and got my butt out there!
I tell you this to remind you that if you forget, please don't hesitate to give Nancy a call and alert her.  After all, we would really hate to miss a nest!  It is easier to forget than you might think!!!
A Good Idea:
John came up with the idea of tying our bags of trash before throwing them into the trashcans.  By doing this, it may prevent some of the trash from being blown out of the trashcans.

Until next week...... Go and find some turtle tracks and keep talking trash!

Week of August 17 - 23, 2009

Hi to all of you Tireless and Trashy Talking Turtlers!

Can you believe we have already walked the beach for 12 weeks---wow, how time does fly.  I can never thank each of you enough for all of the work you do week after week after week.  And what an exciting week this was with the excavation of our star nest!!!!  As you know, seven little hatchlings were released during the excavation and they made their way across a very clean beach right into the waiting arms of Mother Ocean.  (Hope you read the story in Lumina News)

So, it seems summer is winding down and the tourists and beach goers are going home.  There seems to be less trash, but there is trash, nonetheless. And, because all of you are so faithful in keeping the Oceans safe for all of those sea turtles that are out there, trying to survive in spite of plastic, we have numbers to report!

TOTALS FOR August 17 - August 23, 2009
We picked up trash in 21 of the 42 zones.
26.625 bags of trash collected (this is considerably less than previous weeks)
Plus, of course, the many towels, chairs, umbrellas, clothing items, etc. that you carried to the trashcans. 

454.161 bags of trash
*See attached graph

A Few More Numbers:

Below I have listed the number of times out of 84 that each zone has been cleaned of trash. 

Zone 0 = 50
Zone 1 = 44
Zone 2 = 56
Zone 3 = 31
Zone 4 = 53
Zone 5 = 56

More witty e-mails from volunteers (e-mails like this make my job much easier--I can just paste them!---you guys are funny and informative!):
From Dewi:
Walked 5 today, but the turtles were away at a mid Atlantic conference; may be back for my next sub. walk 28th.! I think my primary task is trash collection and finding turtles secondary!
1.---2 plastic bags of small trash, mostly cigarette ends, think Zone 5 is the smoking zone.
2.---3 1/2 pairs of sandals, could have been 4 1/2 but gave benefit of dought to a nearby surfer for one pair
3---1 trash bag and cardboard carrier with 6 empty beer bottles
4---4 holes and 1 super hole but was loosing the battle to mother nature in the waves.
Be in touch in about a week

From Kathleen:
Here is what Morgan and I found in Zone 0 this morning:

1.  No high tide line!!!!
2.  A dead shark (little - 3ft)
3.  A dead sea gull
4.  A fish tail
5.  Three dogs (mom & dad needed to be spoken to)
6.  Some washed up pink jelly fish (pink??)
7.  An ENORMOUS hole in front of the Shell Island Resort
8.  Kim Meyer  (luckily because she helped us fill in the hole!)
9.  Very little trash (probably washed out to see with the very high tide)

What Others Found:
1.  Rick and Jill- corn cob in Zone 0
2.  Kim Meyer-found people digging holes very early in the morning in Zone 1!!!!---oh no, it was Kathleen and Morgan filling in holes!!!!  She also found two sets of swim fins.  I'd say she really racked up!
3.  Karen and Jeff found Rainbow sandals in Zone 5 (sounded like multiple pairs?).  This was the day after the UNCW Beach Blast.  Bet Mom and Dad are happy to forward more money to College Student for new sandals!!!! 
4.  Mellissa found 5 chairs and 2 boogie boards in Zone 2 and also 50 bug bites from the noseeums!  Thank you Mellissa for suffering through.  You must be one big red welt!

Some of you found that the trashcans had been removed during the night while Hurricane Bill was passing by.  We really do thank the Public Works folks for all of their hard work.  The trashcans were always replaced in the mornings, and thankfully, none were washed out to sea. (I did not research that Public Works had done this, so I'm only assuming here as this sounds like a reasonable explanation--if I am wrong, I so apologize!)

Accidental Litter
Martha Eggleston reported that when she walked zone 1 on Wednesday she picked up two WBSTP postcards.  If you were at the excavation, you know that we passed these cards out to the spectators and unfortunately, some people probably accidentally dropped the postcards or they were blown out of their hands by the wind, or who knows, they may have even blown off our display without us even noticing.  This is an example of how easy it can be to litter.  Although we often see litter as a sign of carelessness and irresponsibility, it can also be very accidental.  Again, this is another example of why it is important for us, and people like us, to chip in and volunteer to make the world a better place.  Even if the town begins to have stronger enforcement of litter laws, there will still be trash.  If no one stops and picks up that trash, then it will eventually end up in the ocean and perhaps in the digestive system of an unsuspecting marine animal.  Please don't ever forget how important your efforts are. 

In the Words of Nancy Fahey, our Tireless Turtle Leader:
Of course, we do all leave a footprint of some kind on planet earth, intentionally, or not.  I do think being conscientious about it by trying to conserve, recycling, making sure your trash is disposed of properly and in a trash bag which has been closed securely, picking up litter whenever possible, avoiding waste and excess, etc., is where we can all make a difference, and reduce our own impact.  

Some of you may have heard me say this out at the nest, but I'm going to repeat it anyway:  Americans dispose of about 100 million plastic water bottles in our landfills EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!!  This adds up to about 36 billion+ water bottles EVERY SINGLE YEAR!!  And, it takes nearly 1.5 billion barrels of oil to produce them.  Think about the difference we could make just by using refillable water bottles instead of plastic disposables.  Wow---the impact could be huge if enough people were to do just that much!!

Anyway, just had to say that, yes, the problem is overwhelming, but I do believe every little bit of effort to clean up our act does make a difference.  Just look at how much trash the turtle people on little ole WB have kept out of our oceans, hopefully helping to prevent further suffering and death of our marine life!

Okay; I'll get down off my soapbox now.  I know...I'm preaching to the choir anyway!  :-)


NPR, Trash, and Sea Turtles
If you have been following the Trashy Talking Turtlers reports and have clicked on the different links within the newsletter, you will remember the video of the garbage patch in the ocean.  For those of you who have not clicked on the link, I do encourage you to google the garbage patch on youtube---you will be appalled at what you find.

This week, NPR interviewed a student from UNC-W, Bonnie Monteleone and also Jennifer O'Keefe who works with Keep America Beautiful.  They went 700 miles off our coast and with each sampling of water they gathered from our Ocean, they came up with plastic!  They found one large detergent bottle that had Sea Turtle bite marks on it (can't help but wonder if that sea turtle has shown up as a stranding yet).  Anyway, I think their research is worthy of attention and I have included the link here.  Please go to the link and click on the icon for play (near the top of the article) and you can hear the whole interview.  It is only about 5 minutes long.

Again, this is another reminder of why every little bit that we do helps.  As Gandhi said, "You must be the change you want to see in the world."

Why We Care So Much About Those Holes!!!!
Several of you e-mailed me this week about the teenager getting trapped in a hole on Bald Head Island.  Here is the link to the news story so that you can read it for yourself.  http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20090818/ARTICLES/908189976/1004/stormpost&tc=email_newsletter

WBSTP has tried to draw attention to the dangers of holes on Wrightsville Beach.  This issue is always a hot topic with WBSTP Board Vice President, Kim Meyer.  She always points out that holes are not just dangerous for Sea Turtles, but for people as well.  Kim will spend an extra hour during her morning walks just filling in the holes that she finds on the beach.

I have attached a picture of a little girl playing in a very deep hole.  If you look closely, you will see that the tide line was beginning to wash up at the edge of the hole.  My husband and I actually walked up on this situation.  John politely told an adult, who appeared to be with the family, how quickly the hole could collapse and trap the young child, especially if the tide came in.  The adult really did not seem to understand our sense of urgency.  Well, seeing that the girl could be in danger quickly, and remembering what had happened last year at Topsail Island when a young boy was trapped in the sand, I went and sought out a lifeguard and requested that he check on the situation.  I do think that the WB Life Guards are in a great position to warn beach goers of the dangers of holes and to remind them to fill holes in before they leave.  I would really like to see an ordinance against the digging of large holes altogether--this would truly be the safest situation for beach goers. 

Here is a segment from an article in the Topsail Voice, July 11, 2008 following the near fatal accident there:  "Doctor Barry Maron has published an article in the Journal of American Medical Association on the dangers of digging holes in the sand at the beach. Occupational Safety and Health Regulations forbid workers from working in trenches or holes greater than 5 feet in depth (except for solid rock) without some form of cave-in protection (trench box) and in holes less than 5 feet in depth, the trench must be inspected to make sure it is safe.  Sand is the most dangerous and least stable types of soil to dig in and can cave in a fraction of a second.  I have worked in occupational safety and health law for over 14 years and have stopped while on vacation at the beach and warned parents that were digging holes in the sand for their kids to play in that it could collapse in a matter of seconds especially if the tide were to come in.  The hole doesn't have to be greater than 5 feet, it just has to cover the child's chest so that he can't breathe.  Also, the weight of the sand can crush vital organs and cause death."

A study spanning from 1985 - 2006 documented 52 sand immersions in the U.S., Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.  Thirty-one of the victims died (that's almost 60%).

Some experts suggest that holes should not be more than one foot deep or no deeper than the waist of the shortest person nearby.

So, that's why we care about holes in the sand.  It really is dangerous for people and the holes can collapse easily, with unpredictability, while burying someone inside.  Please, please be careful. 

Some Friends of the Sea Turtles:
Since placing a donation box at Boomballatti's Ice Cream, we have collected over $200.00 for the Sea Turtles.  Don't forget to stop by and try some of their homemade ice cream.  Feel free to drop a quarter in the box!  (They are located in the Forum)

Ned Leary
Check out his website.  Go to www.nedleary.com under Photo Gallery > Local Flavour > Sea Turtles, and if you purchase one of these photos, he will donate 10% to WBSTP.

John Scott
Purchase any photo on his website www.clifephoto.com and he will donate 10% to Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.  His wife, Tammy is one of our own volunteers.

Volunteer Opportunities
There are plenty of organizations and individuals who are very concerned about litter in our community and in our Ocean.  Many groups are already planning beach clean ups during the Labor Day holiday and also in the fall.  I will try to find out about some of these opportunities and keep you informed of the events.  I hope we can volunteer as a group and join with others in helping to make the Earth a better place all year long, not just during Sea Turtle Nesting Season.  Please stay tuned and watch for upcoming e-mails on this topic.

Please enjoy your last week of official Sea Turtle Beach Monitoring.  I sure do hope you find a nest!  Next week will be the last edition of the 2009 Trashy Talking Turtlers.


Week of August 24 - August 31 2009
Aloha Trashy Talking Turtlers!!!!!
This is my final report for the 2009 season.  I have enjoyed hearing from you as you have combed the beach for turtle tracks, trash and treasures!  You have all done a remarkable job.  The job is often thankless, but if the Ocean could talk, she would surely be singing praises to you all!
The final numbers vary from previous weeks in that they include our final Monday (or 8 days) of beach monitoring.  When you look at the grand total, I ask that you keep in mind that this is only the reported number.  I would like to suggest that the amount of trash we collected is actually much more as some volunteers picked up trash, but chose to not participate in the trash reporting.   Also, we have collected lots of large items that we just carried to the trash cans and did not report in number of bags.  Unfortunately, I was not organized enough this year to keep an accurate count of all these large items (maybe an improvement for next year), so I can't say exactly how much we have collected, but know when you add it all up, we have done a tremendous job!
TOTALS FOR August 24 - August 31, 2009
We picked up trash in 20 of the 49 zones.
19.75 bags of trash collected 
Plus, of course, the many towels, chairs, umbrellas, clothing items, tents, canopies, etc. that you carried to the trashcans. 
473.911 bags of trash

*See attached graph

A Few More Numbers:
Below I have listed the number of times out of 92 that each zone has been cleaned of trash. 
Zone 0 = 54
Zone 1 = 47
Zone 2 = 61
Zone 3 = 31
Zone 4 = 57
Zone 5 = 60

Most of you are finding less trash as the summer beach season is coming to an end.  Also, the weather and storms have produced high tides which leaves us assuming that some trash was washed out to sea.
The most interesting reports this week came from Zone 0.  Rick and Jill found a bed sheet on Friday; and Kathleen and Morgan found lots of beer, fireworks, 3 sets of balloons, a bright blue perfumed scented bra and a cork screw on Sunday.  I'm sure whoever left the bounty for Kathleen and Morgan could have made good use of that bed sheet!
Nancy Fahey continues to pick up trash from the 4-wheeler!  Boy, does she ever lead by example!!!  Here is her report from today, 9/3:  This morning in Zone 5 I came upon the leftovers from what was apparently a fun little party.  There I found an empty 1/2 gallon plastic container of  Aristocrat Vodka, an empty plastic bottle of Strawberry Kiwi juice, a nearly empty bottle of Strawberry Minute-Maid Lemonade, two plastic cups, three lids, and one brand-new Wilson's football.  I had to laugh as I gathered it all up.  Not sure if they got too drunk to carry anything as they staggered off the beach, or if they were unexpectedly interrupted while playing football (or something else), so they bolted up the access empty handed, or just what.  One thing is for sure: the imagination can certainly conjure up some funny images!  :-)

Lights on the Beach!!!!
I can't believe I found the need to write about this during our last week of monitoring, but I did.  On Wednesday morning when John and I reached zone 4, it was still pretty dark outside, but not on the beach because all of the outside lights of Blockade Runner were shining out toward the sea.  Maybe this was a fluke and the lights are usually dimmed.  I don't know.  What I do know is that Zone 4 is usually known as being a nesting zone, but not this year.  Also on the night that our one nest boiled, the only problem we had was when a group of the hatchlings began making their way toward the bright lights of Shell Island.  WBSTP works diligently to educate others about the importance of dimming lights on the beach during the sea turtle nesting season.  We obviously need to continue this endeavor.  While we are very appreciative of the continued support we receive from Blockade Runner and Shell Island Resort, we would kindly like to remind them that lights do disturb nesting turtles and hatchlings.  Also, every summer, many beach visitors come out to ask about the nests as they have  been fortunate enough to witness a boil or excavation during previous years.  I believe most visitors to the hotels would be very happy to know the hotels and other area businesses are dimming lights in hopes to keep WB as a Sea Turtle Nesting Beach.  
Glimmers of Hope
Bonnie over the Ocean
Last week I wrote about the work that UNCW student, Bonnie Monteleone, and Keep America Beautiful Director, Jennifer O'Keefe were doing in studying plastic and marine debris right off our coast.  They were featured on NPR and I supplied you that link in this newsletter.  Well, since then I have been following Bonnie's blog (click on link below).  I think you will find it interesting and may want to follow it yourself.  Recently she posted a blog about sea turtles.  Also, she is currently in Hawaii and and is getting ready to board a boat to go study the plastic continent, aka North Pacific Gyre, aka the Garbage Patch.  I feel very fortunate that we have someone so close to us that is doing such important research.  There is still hope.  Here is the link to her blog.

Once on her blog, you may want to scroll down to "Freed a fish caught in plastic" and play the video or just click here to bring you to that blog page.  http://theplasticocean.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2009-07-28T18%3A32%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=7   This beautiful blue fish was encased in a piece of plastic that he had grown into.  Bonnie states on this blog that she believes the Ocean was talking to them on that day.  I believe it too.  The question is: Are we willing to listen???  I think people like WBSTP Volunteers who are out on the beaches picking up litter are indeed listening to the cries of Our Mother Ocean.  We wish Bonnie all the best in her research and can't wait to hear more from her.
Oprah and Plastic in the Ocean
In a previous newsletter I made a comment that I didn't understand why United Nations, Oprah, Obama or someone wasn't doing something to help clean up our oceans and especially the Garbage Patch.  Well, apparently Oprah actually did have an episode featuring the North Pacific Gyre.  I encourage you to click here to view that segment. http://www.oprah.com/article/oprahshow/20090422-tows-ocean-pollution
Also, on the fourth page of that segment, there is a video about what happens to our trash daily.  You will be appalled at the volume of trash that is dumped into landfills on a daily basis.  You may want to view that here:  
Also, President Obama did declare June 2009 as Ocean Month.  Hopefully, his campaign will continue to look at the issues plaguing the Oceans and will work toward finding solutions.
People Magazine and Plastic in the Ocean
I found myself in Wal-Mart this week---not at all my favorite activity.  However, I do like flipping through magazines while I wait in line.  Now, I usually don't buy the magazines (not even the Michael Jackson ones---that was hard for me :-)), but an article in People really caught my eye this week.  I had to buy it as it was about the "giant vortex of trash in the Pacific".
You may want to purchase it yourself, but I will quote some of the interesting parts here:  "...This watery dump (not the only one on Earth, but the largest) has vexed environmentalists since gaining widespread attention a decade ago.  Because the area is vast, remote and moving, it has been almost impossible to map, much less eliminate.  ...Some scientists have long believed that cleaning up the Pacific Patch is unfeasible.  But Crowley, 63, a Sausalito-based charter-yacht broker who is volunteering her time to Project Kaisei, is determined.  Her expedition has received the endorsement of the United Nations, while private and institutional donors footed the $300,000 cost.  Ship-side and in dinghies, her team is attempting to gauge the quantity of trash and is testing various collection devices.  ...While some of the garbage--the bulk of it litter from beaches and rivers--washes up on Hawaii and other islands, the majority stays in the water, poisoning marine life, which mistake the smallest bits for plankton.  ...Not yet near the densest part of the Patch, the Kaisei team spots 400 pieces in the ocean during a one-minute count.  ...'We're hearing from scientists about turning plastic into fuel,' says Crowley.  'We've over-garbaged the ocean.  But I'm optimistic we can change.' "
I, personally am glad to hear that Crowley and her team are researching collection devices and that the United Nations is supporting her efforts---another glimpse of hope.
More from Behind the Scenes
I know that when we monitor for sea turtle nesting activity and we find trash, canopies, dog poop, and HUGE holes, we can feel discouraged and wonder if anyone is doing anything about the situation.  Please know that the Town of WB and WB Board of Aldermen support our efforts.  WBSTP sometimes hears from various members of the Board and they are always working to improve the beach and they appreciate our efforts to keep the beach clean.  WBSTP did receive a letter this week from an Alderman candidate, Bill Sisson supporting increased efforts to discourage the digging of very large holes.
Lumina News and Trashy Talking Turtlers
Also, just in the press today, Lumina News featured an article about all of those holes.  Read it here:  http://www.luminanews.com/article.asp?aid=4909&iid=182&sud=30
Star News also had an article about sea turtles today.  Read it here: 
Organized Beach Sweeps
Although Sea Turtle Nesting Season is almost at an end, the need to keep our Oceans free from trash is always present.  One way we can continue to help sea turtles and other marine life is by participating in beach sweeps.  I have attached two flyers for upcoming beach sweeps.  One is for Sept. 19 and the other is Sept. 26.  I will try to keep you informed of other opportunities as I become aware of them.
I am still working toward organizing a few WBSTP volunteers for a Labor Day Clean Up.  More information to follow as I hear from everyone.
My Honest Thoughts
I really do not like picking up other people's litter.  It is hard to do every week and I personally am glad to have a little bit of a break.  However, now that I know what I know, it will be even harder to see litter and not pick it up.  I really appreciate all of your efforts---I know it wasn't easy, but collectively we picked up close to 500 bags of trash.  Thank you thank you thank you!
More Thanks:
Since this is my last report this year, I do want to say a sincere thanks to Nancy Fahey for allowing me to take on this project and giving me liberty to write all of that crazy stuff every week----it was fun and educational for me.  I want to thank all of the WBSTP volunteers for protecting the Sea Turtles.  In doing so, we really protect ourselves.  I truly believe if the sea turtle, who has survived 200 million years is on the brink of extinction, then humans probably should stand up and take note of their own fate.  Thanks to The Trashy Talking Turtlers for spending all of those beautiful mornings with your head toward the sand scanning for trash----without you, none of this would have been accomplished.  In fact, because of you, this project really took on a life of its own!  Thanks to the Town of WB, The Board of Alderman, WB Mayor, and WB Town Manager for reading our reports every week and for taking time to respond.  Additional thanks to the Board for allowing us to present at one of their meetings.  Thanks to Lumina News for all of their support for the turtles and other important issues and of course, for publishing our letter on their website.  Thanks to JT Grady and Star News for publishing an article on litter and also for posting our letters on the Cape Fear Critters Blog.  Of course, thanks to all individuals and businesses who love the Sea Turtles.  When we all work together, awareness is increased and change can begin.
Until next year or next e-mail, be safe, healthy and happy.
As always, any comments, feedback or suggestions are welcomed.