2010 Newsletters

Below are the letters written during the 2010 season.

June 1 - June 6  2010

Helllllooooo all you Trashy Talking Turtlers!!!!!

Wow! Has it been a year already?  It is great to be back--good to hear from you all!!!

I want to thank all of the volunteers for their dedication to WB and the sea turtle population.  We sure hope the sea turtles will nest here this year.  I also want to give a special thanks to those of you who are picking up trash.  I know it is not a glamorous task, but it sure helps keep WB glamorous!  Also, remember that if you can't pick up trash for some reason, that is okay as it is not required to be a WBSTP volunteer.  We all understand if you are unable to pick up trash, don't have time, or even if you just don't want to.  It really is okay, but I sure am excited when you do!!!!

The Numbers:
Okay, since most of you would agree that I can write some long letters, I will get straight to the numbers first, but I have to explain the numbers before I do that.  :-)

Remember that we have 6 zones (Zones 0 - 5).  If we pick up trash in each zone everyday (7 days in a week), then we would have 42 zones/week.  These numbers are important b/c it shows the percentage of WBSTP volunteers who also voluntarily pick up trash----you guys are some volunteering fools!!

Our monitoring season started on June 1st which was a Tuesday, so technically we only had 6 days this week, which would be 36 zones.  But wait.... some people could not wait until Tuesday and they decided to pick up on Monday!  Now, that is dedication! (and I thought I was into trash...).  So, my hat is off to Dick and Linda Chapman, veteran turtlers; and also Renee Tevelow,  a brand new turtler who could not wait one more week to get started.  So on Memorial Day, Renee picked up trash in Zone 2 (Johnnie Mercer Pier, that is!!)  Whoo Hoo! and the season begins!!!!

Please don't forget that Nancy Fahey, our Tireless Turtler Leader, has been monitoring Since May 1st and she has called me often stating that she has gathered countless amounts of trash already.

Okay, okay... I'll get back to the numbers (sorry to keep you all waiting...)

So, if we count Monday, since some of you did in fact pick up that day, we picked up trash in 22 zones (52%).  That is really great, especially since this is voluntary.

Trash per Zone: (grocery store sized bags---if you reported using a different type of bag, I converted it using Rick and Jill's trusted method from last year, in which 4 grocery bags = 1 kitchen garbage bag.

Zone 0  = 3.5 bags
Zone 1 = 4.5 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3 = 1 bag
Zone 4 = 5.5 bags
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags

Grand Total = 25 bags!!!  Of course this does not include the items you could not fit into the bags.

Trash vs. Treasure
Some of you are just plain lucky in treasure gathering and others just gather trash!  Dick and Linda found 2 pails, a rake, 2 pairs of flip flops, 1 pair of leather sandals and a pair of Calvin Klein sunglasses in Zone 1.  Kym Davidson found a whole sand dollar and 4 pieces of sea glass in Zone 5.  Richard and Sara found a wallet in Zone 2, which they returned. Renee found a back pack with a swiss type army knife in Zone 2 on the day she didn't even have to walk.

Along with her sand dollar, Kym also found a "skimpy pair of panties and a shirt" on lucky life guard stand #13--not to worry, she used a stick to pick these up!  Page and Sara found an ink jet cartridge in zone 5 and they also found Nancy Faye Craig running!  (Go Nancy Faye Craig!--you inspire us all!)

Vicki found a snorkel in Zone 0, but no mask.  Lots of you found shoes, beach toys, straws, straw cellophane wrappers, cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles and a couple of broken beach chairs.  But, Angela Cooke has to win the prize (if we only had a prize ;-)) as she found the "hook, line and sinker" in Zone 0.

Some of you found big holes and some of you even filled them in!  Others of you did not find turtle tracks, but you found dog tracks instead.  I'm sure, if this year is like last year, we will be hearing and discussing more about holes and dog tracks in the weeks to come.

Many of you were happy to report that you did not find a lot of litter; and some of you inspired others, who are not WBSTP volunteers, to pick up litter simply because they saw you doing it.  Way to go WBSTP!

Why are we doing this???
For the sea turtles, of course!  And also, because the Ocean does not need any more plastic in it's bowels!  If you remember from the letters I sent last year, there is a "garbage patch" in the Pacific Ocean.  Researchers have also discovered a "garbage patch" in the Atlantic as well.  Here is a link to a video of what Capt. Charlie Moore has to say about the North Pacific Gyre.  It is about 7 minutes long, but is very informative and well worth your time.  It is also disturbing, but the truth often is.

If you are a new volunteer and did not receive these letters last year, I encourage you to take the time to click on the link.  If you are a returning volunteer, I still encourage you to watch as it is a good reminder of why we should reduce our consumption of plastic.  Please feel free to share this with others.  The more people are educated, the better.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrAShtolieg

Town of WB and Litter
This is a very exciting time to be a part of collecting litter data on WB.  Most of you know that Mayor Cignotti recently rallied for a smoking ban on WB.  As we know, cigarette butts create a lot of litter on the beach.  This was an opportunity for WB to really be on the map as the first beach in NC to pass a smoking ban; however, the ban did not pass as the Board voted against it 3 to 2.

What did happen as a result of the smoking ban movement was that more conversation was generated about the litter problem among the Board of Aldermen (BOA) and also among citizens of both, WB and Wilmington. The Board vowed to take a stronger look at improving problems associated with the litter issue.  A litter committee will soon be chosen to consult with the BOA members.  WBSTP hopes to be able to offer some valuable information to the committee in this process.

Rumor has it that a couple of citations were issued during Memorial Day Weekend to people who disposed of their cigarettes on the beach.  I have not checked this information; but if it is true, I think that action will send a message that litter, of any sort, will not be tolerated on WB.

Kudos to Holiday Inn
We know that there is usually more trash on the beach strand in front of businesses.  This makes sense since beach goers are visiting these places of business.  Last year, we noticed a pattern of straws littering the beach in front of the hotels and the Oceanic.  Anne Marie, manager at Holiday Inn has implemented the use of biodegradable cups and straws.  Her staff also monitors the beach in front of the hotel to help keep it clean and they make sure the trash cans are away from the tide line so that the trash does not get washed out to sea.  I did share the video of Capt. Charlie Moore with Anne Marie and she said she was going to show it during the staff meeting at the hotel.

Although litter is still litter whether it is biodegradable or not (paper is biodegradable, but it is litter if it is on the ground), using biodegradable products is certainly a move in the right direction and we hope other businesses will do the same.

Thank you Anne Marie and Holiday Inn for all you are doing.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital
The STH released 16 rehabilitated, healthy and strong turtles on Wendnesday, June 2nd.  It was a rainy, stormy day, but the turtles did not care!  They were ready to go!  If you have never visited the STH, I encourage you do do so.  They are open from 2:00 - 4:00 PM for tours during the summer months on every day except Wednesdays and Sundays.

Happy National Oceans Month
Did you know that June is National Oceans Month?  I think it is appropriate to recognize this Month and be mindful of the ways in which we can protect the Oceans, especially in a time when oil is polluting our greatest natural resource.    Thank you for all you are doing to make a difference.  Let us celebrate Mother Ocean and protect her!

Please have fun on your walks, enjoy the sunrise, and may you find Sea Turtle tracks!

Week 2:  June 7 - June 13, 2010

Hi to all of you Trashy Talking Turtlers,

My, my, what a difference one week makes!   Last week, many of you were happy to report that the litter was not that bad.  This week, it has been a different story and many of you vented quite a bit of frustration about the situation.  

Some of you were late reporting your totals for the first week, so I have changed those numbers accordingly:  (Please do not hesitate to report even if you are late, as I can always change the numbers--I understand being late as we are all very busy)

Week 1:
Zone 0  = 3.5 bags 
Zone 1 = 4.5 bags 
Zone 2 = 7 bags
Zone 3 = 2 bags 
Zone 4 = 5.5 bags 
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags 

Total for week 1 = 28 bags

Week 2:

We picked up trash in 26 of the 42 zones (61.9%) 

Zone 0 = 2.25 bags
Zone1 = 9 bags
Zone 2 = 8.25 bags
Zone 3 = 11 bags
Zone 4 = 6.5 bags
Zone 5 = 6 bags

Total for week 2 = 43 bags

 Grand Total = 71 bags (& as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs, and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Good job at keeping our beach clean and plastic out of the mouths and stomachs of sea turtles and other marine animals.  Hopefully, the turtles will take notice and come to nest at WB!!!!  Let's everyone send out welcoming vibes to the Sea and all those Mother Turtles!

Trash vs. Treasure:

Dick and Linda Chapman found more treasure in Zone 1 and can be found these days tossing a red competition Frisbee to anyone who will play.  

Renee Tevelow can now get ready to go out on the town after "shopping" in Zone 2----she can clean up with her new washcloth, wear her 2 new t-shirts and socks, accessorize with her plastic bracelet and her new shade of lipstick.  

Susan Miller found a red and black jacket in Zone 3 along with 6 pairs of flip flops and one pair of bright pink underwear along with two people sleeping in sleeping bags!  

Mellissa found one "yucky condom" in Zone 4 (which she picked up with the aid of a stick), 3 flip flops and brand new, unopened cigars that looked expensive.  If she had not thrown them away, she could have used them with the unopened bottles of wine that she found last year!  Oh, except for she doesn't smoke...., not even expensive cigars.

Kim Meyer found a used condom by the life guard stand in zone 1 along side a very large cork, but no bottle of champagne.  

Joy Miller found an old box of fishing lures, 3 broken chairs, and one umbrella in Zone 5 along with several different sets of dog tracks.  

Page and Sara also found animal tracks in Zone 5, but they looked like a deer, pig or goat????  I know b/c she sent the picture to my cell phone  (strange---I'm betting on the deer).  

Richard and Sara found a message in a bottle in Zone 2 and I found a message in a bottle in Zone 4, but the bottle was plastic and unfortunately the message was sad.

Many of you are reporting straws, juicy drink straws and the plastic wrappers for these straws, plastic beach toys, plastic bottles, beer bottles and beer cans, lots of cigarette butts and cigarette packaging, and balloons.

Numerous large holes were reported in zones 1, 4, & 5.  Many of you took the time to fill in the holes---thank you so much.   
Dog tracks were reported in zones 2 & 5 with an unleashed dog spotted with his owner in zone 5.
A structure was left overnight in Zone 1.

Cigarette Numbers to Ponder:

There are typically 20 cigarettes in a pack.  Many people smoke a pack or more a day.  If only 100 people (this is a small number of people and I am sure if a study were conducted, the numbers would be much, much, higher) who visited WB smoked a pack a day and extinguished their butts on the beach, then that would be 2000 cigarette butts per day. In 90 days (or three summer months), the number would be 180,000 cigarette butts.  That's  a lot of butts and if you think about the weekends and summer holidays, you can imagine that there are more than 100 people on the beach  per day smoking and being irresponsible with their butts.  You don't have to walk far on the beach to see evidence of someone sitting, smoking, and extinguishing their butts in the sand.

The Ocean Conservancy conducts an International Coastal Cleanup every year.  Beginning in 1990, they added cigarette butts, cigar tips, and cigarette packaging to their data card.  Since then, cigarettes have been the largest amount of litter collected during these cleanups.  In 2007, the number of butts, cigar tips and packaging collected totaled 1,971,551.  Cigarette litter equals 38% of worldwide debris according to the Ocean Conservancy numbers!

Realistically, this is only a small amount of the actual cigarette butts that are disposed of improperly b/c not everyone who picks up litter will stop to pick up every cigarette butt they see.  Admittedly, I am one of those people.  As passionate as I am about litter, I do not have time to pick up all the butts nor do I even want to touch them as they are very disgusting and smelly.  So, my hat is off to those of you who take the  time and consideration to pick up all those butts.  Thank you thank you thank you.  By name this week, you are Kim Meyer, Kathleen and Morgan Britton, Mellissa Dionesotes, & Chuck Warden.  

If I left anyone out, I apologize.  However, I know that we have ALL picked up cigarette butts and cigarette debris at some point during our walks!

So, with numbers like these, a smoking ban makes sense, in my personal opinion.  Hopefully, WB BOA will revisit this one day.

 Friends of WBSTP and WB!

Karen Bailey and her husband frequent WB and were able to witness the excavation of our "Onederful" nest last year.  They even videotaped it and posted it on you tube.  You can see the link here:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bihSllfgJ34
Well, needless to say, the Bailey's have become true friends of the sea turtles and they are currently visiting WB for a couple of weeks.  Not only are they enjoying fun in the sun, but they are walking the beach in the mornings in Zones 3 & 4 picking up trash on their vacation!  How awesome is that????  I am truly inspired by them.  Also, Karen was able to meet some of the volunteers on their walks and was truly inspired by our own Nancy Faye Craig and states she is now a "Nancy Faye Craig wannabe"!  (me too)

Benefits of Looking for Turtle Tracks!

While we have not yet found a turtle nest on WB, walking the beach in the morning does afford us some really awesome experiences that does not include picking up litter.  Below are pictures that were taken by volunteer, Jen Upham.  I hope everyone has been able to appreciate the beautiful sunrise!  I cannot thank you enough for all you are doing.  We may not be cleaning up the oil spill, but we are helping Mother Ocean!!!!

(If the pictures do not forward correctly, I will send in a separate email)

Week 3:  June 14 - June 20, 2010

Greeting Trashy Talking Turtlers,

You have been very busy this week looking for turtle tracks, picking up trash, filling in holes, reporting tents found on the beach, kindly informing dog owners that there is a $250 fine for having a dog on the beach and emailing me with your entertaining reports.  I would not be honest if I said I do not enjoy the reports.  Many of you are so humorous and I am amazed at the things you are finding on the beach and what you are willing to pick up.

Week 3:
We picked up trash in 28 of the 42 zones (66.7%)
Zone 0 = 5.5 bags
Zone 1 = 14.5 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3 = 13.5 bags
Zone 4 = 5 bags
Zone 5 = 7 bags

Total for Week 3 = 50.5 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 124.5 bags!!! (& as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Turtle Tracks vs. Human Tracks:
Where are those turtle tracks????  I truly believe they are going to show up tonight, but I believe that every night.  I often pray for WB to get a nesting sea turtle because I know we are all working so hard to protect the turtles and educate others about their plight.  I also meditate and visualize that the turtles will come to WB.  Some of you have shared that you do the same types of things.  So, maybe if we all join together in one thought and send out positive energy every night (maybe at 9:00PM????), then the vibrations of our positive energy will surely travel across the Sea and the Mother Sea Turtles will come.  It may not help, but it won't hurt, right???

Even though we have not been able to celebrate turtle tracks, we all too often see the tracks that are left behind by humans in the form of litter, holes, canopies, and unattended dog poop.  Much of the litter is accidental, but it is litter, nonetheless, and ends up in the vortexes of our Oceans where sea life ingests it, gets tangled in it, and sometimes is killed by it.  This is but one reason why the work we do in cleaning the beach is so important.  I thank you for your efforts in picking up litter as it is still an act of protecting sea turtles even if it is not in the form of finding a nest.  I would so much rather be protecting a nest, but those things are out of our control at the moment.  

We do know that turtle tracks are usually very visible, but sometimes can be more difficult to spot.  So, please remember to look for tracks first and garbage second.  Some of you walk the beach looking for tracks and then pick up the litter on the way back.  Many of you walk as a team, so you look for tracks and trash simultaneously.  What ever your strategy is, I'm sure the turtles are very thankful for all of your work.  Even if they have not nested on our beach yet, they are swimming just off our shore and a cleaner ocean is much better for them and for us.

Trash vs. Treasure:
We know that turtles mistake plastic bags for jelly fish and will often ingest them for food.  Well, it seems that we humans make the same mistake (in reverse).  Renee was picking up trash in Zone 2 and stopped to pick up what she thought was a ziplock bag only to discover that it was a jelly fish instead!

Kathleen and Morgan thought they saw a turtle on the beach and rushed closer only to discover it was a person asleep.  Julie also found 4 people asleep in Zone 1.

Dick and Linda's luck turned this week as they found no treasures in zone 1 and just 4 bags of trash.

Kim Meyer found a dread lock on the beach, but no person attached.  She also found a new fishing or bait net which she gave to someone who was fishing and made him quite happy.

Martha found some really cool toys in Zone 1 and had the pleasure of meeting Doug Beach.  Many of you may know him as he picks up trash on the beach every morning in Zone 2.  He is always happy to see turtle volunteers contributing to the cause.  And yes, Beach is his real last name.

Stephanie collected 5 bags of trash in Zone 3 and this was only at the tide line!

Annette subbed in Zone 3 and picked up 5  overturned trashcans and replaced the garbage from those receptacles.  In addition, she picked up 3 bags of trash including a sheet, clothing articles, and recyclables.

Jenny Johnston and her family monitored zone 5 on two different days this week and collected lots of cigarette butts.  Jenny also saw about 8 -10 neatly piled dead baby sharks by the Oceanic Pier along with a line of charcoal and a partly burned cigarette package.  Although the sharks did not appear to be burned, this is a disturbing scene to say the least.

Patterns that have been reported are lots of cigarette butts, straws, plastic wrappers, sippy drink straw wrappers, children's toys, beach chairs, towels, and also the plastic chairs that are left in the tide line at Oceanic Pier.  Several of you have reported these chairs over the past two weeks.  There has been an occurrence in which a sea turtle has become entrapped in a plastic chair in the ocean and has died.  Hopefully, Oceanic will become more aware of this situation and will secure the chairs at night.

There was only one condom reported on the beach this week and it was unopened.  But, not to worry, as romance on the beach is not dead.  Just read Joy's email below:

Hola Ginger

Well the beach seems so much cleaner than last year at this time.  Picked up only one grocery bag of miscellaneous plastic. (broken beach toys, straws and covers, caps, etc) 3 shoes and 4 beer cans.  There was a group of college age people with a dog.  I told them of the ordinance and they just shrugged.  However, at the south part of zone 5 was a couple in the water having intercourse. It was such a pretty morning for it.  They left ALL their clothes on the beach and I was so tempted to pick it up as litter but didn't.  They did come out in all their glory as I walked by going the other way.  Other than that a quiet morning.  Oh yes lots of cigarette butts. 


Why do we care about dogs, holes, and structures?:
Most of the veteran volunteers understand the dangers that dogs, holes, and structures such as tents and canopies pose for nesting sea turtles as well as humans, but I will talk about this again as it is obviously still a problem on WB.

Let's start with dogs.  This is the most difficult for me to discuss because I personally love dogs and I think they are fun to watch on the beach.  I have a dog of my own and would love to be able to take her to WB to play.  However, there is a town ordinance against having dogs on the beach from April to September, and all other months, the dogs must be kept on a leash.  I'm not sure what prompted the history of this ordinance, but I do know that these are the busiest months for humans on the beach and it is also sea turtle nesting season.  Dogs would distract sea turtles from nesting and also may dig up the nests.  Other problems that we see is that some owners are not responsible and they allow their dogs to poop on the beach without even cleaning it up.  

This week there were 2 dog poops found in Zone 3 and one in Zone 4.  Now, I ask you who wants to step in that when you are having a beautiful day at the beach lounging in the pristine sand.  Also, who wants their children to play in sand that may contain dog poop?  So, while I would love to take my dog to the beach, I can understand why there are some laws about this.  We already have enough trouble with bacteria in our water, do we really want to add to this problem?

Page did kindly inform one dog owner this week that there is a $250 fine for dogs on the beach and the owner told Page they had a permit and quickly disappeared over the next access.  A permit?  Really???  I have never heard of that before....

Onto holes....  They are very dangerous for humans and sea turtles.  Last year, I spoke about holes dug in beach sand from a scientific and engineering perspective.  It is one of the most dangerous holes that can be dug and will easily collapse causing serious injury and sometimes death (60 % of the time) to the victims who are found in a hole.  The beach sand will quickly act as quick sand if it is near the tide line when it collapses.  We see headlines and stories of this every year on the national news.  

When I presented our information last year at the NC State Sea Turtle Meeting, many of the beach coordinators and volunteers were as concerned about the issue of holes as they were the issue of litter.  This has been a huge problem as nesting sea turtles have become trapped in holes and humans have driven ATVS in holes or walked into holes.  Some holes are very deep and can be hard to see, especially at night when one is strolling on the beach.

This week very deep holes were reported in Zones 1 & 4, and 10 holes were reported in Zone 5 on Saturday.  By the way, there is also an ordinance about holes on the beach that states holes should be filled in before leaving the beach.

Now about structures....There is an ordinance that states structures are not to be left over night.  Well, 8 of you reported seeing structures last week and there was a structure in Zone 1 every day---I'm pretty sure it was probably the same structure.  On Sunday, there were 5 structures in zone 1---that's almost wall to wall structures!!!!

Nesting sea turtles may decide to not nest if they run into a structure on the beach, or worse, they may become injured or entangled in a structure.  Structure frames can also be dangerous to humans as they can be difficult to see when people are walking the beach at night.  Just this morning, there was a structure in Zone 4 in front of Blockade Runner that was inside the tide line.  This structure could have easily been washed out to sea creating more garbage in our oceans.

If you report the structures, the town will tag them to be removed in 24 hours.  However, I have not seen any tags on any structures this year, so I'm not sure if the town is tagging them or not.  One volunteer has pointed out that by the time you call, it is sometimes too late, as by the time the town officials arrive, they cannot prove if the structure was left over night or just set up for that day.  Hmmm....  maybe other solutions need to be discussed.

Where to find recycling containers:
Some of you have asked where the recycling containers are on the beach.  Since I did not know where they all are, I did send an email to find out.  Below is a response from Mike Vukelich, Public Works Director:

In answer to your question - the current locations of the recycling containers on the beach are;
Access #4 (L-Shape Parking Lot),
Access #16 (Johnny Mercer Pier),
Access 29 (Stone St.)
Access #36 (Lumina Townhouses)
We will be replacing several of these with coral type structures housing containers for trash and another for recycling materials at L-Shaped parking Lot, Johnny Mercers Pier and Stone St. The corals were donated by Tony Butler’s Foundation, the Merchants Accoc. and the Surf-riders Assoc.

What should we do with all of those toys?:
A lot of the litter that we collect is truly accidental as it is in the form of children's toys and I have to believe that most, (not all), but most parents do not intend to leave their children's toys on the beach.  Many of you have asked if there is a place to donate the toys.  So, I am putting the word out.  If anyone knows of an agency that could use these toys, please email me and we will coordinate getting the toys to a new home.

Turtle Zen:
Here is a message sent to me by Jenny Johnston.  I loved this passage so much that I had to share.  I think it truly is a reflection of the work we do and the message we share.

Here's a passage from the book "Animal Speak":
 ...  Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth.  In
Mother Earth is all that we need.  She will care for us, protect us, and
nurture us, as long as we do the same for her.  For that to happen we must
slow down and heighten our sensibilities.  We must see the connection to all
things.  Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither
can we separate ourselves from what we do to the Earth...

Happy Turtling!!!!

Week 4:  June 21 - June 27, 2010

Hi Trashy Talking Turtlers,

As you know, we still have not found any turtle tracks, but many of you responded that you would be sending out prayers and positive energy, and some of you are even lighting candles for the turtles.  I, myself, have added a candle lighting to my routine and I make sure I wear my turtle necklace on my monitoring days.  This week, I even wore turtle silly bandz!  I will not give up.  Surely one Mother Sea Turtle will find WB a great place for her clutch this year.  Carolina Beach just found their first nest this week, so I know it is not too late.  OHMMMMM!!!!!

We are also not giving up on having a clean beach when Mother Sea Turtle does emerge to lay her clutch.  I know it can be difficult to pick up trash every week, so I sincerely thank you for all of your efforts. 

Numbers for Week 4:
We picked up trash in 22 of the 42 zones (52%)
Zone 0 = 2.5 bags 
Zone 1 = 5 bags
Zone 2 = 11 bags
Zone 3 = 8 bags
Zone 4 = 8 bags
Zone 5 = 6.5 bags

Total for Week 4 = 41 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 166.5 bags!!!(& as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Trash vs. Treasure:
I know that it seems I mention Renee in this section every week.  Here is why:  She walks Zone 2 (Johnny Mercer Pier) on Monday mornings----lots of trash!  Week 4 was no exception for her.  She collected 7 bags of trash and said she could have gotten more.  Part of this trash included a dirty diaper (for the 2nd week in a row---yuck).  I don't understand why people think it is a good idea to leave dirty diapers on the beach or in parking lots or anywhere but the trash can, for that matter; but lots of people will leave dirty diapers by Johnny Mercer Pier.  I know because I once walked this zone as well, on a Monday, no less.  I'm sure anyone who walks this zone can echo the same sentiments---it really does seem unbelievable how others leave their trash for the ocean to consume or for others to clean up.  In fact, it was walking zone 2 on a Monday morning that prompted my interest in collecting all of this data---imagine that! 

Among her loot, Renee reported that she also picked up Ben's towel.  She knew it was Ben's towel because it had his name on it!  (See how funny you guys are---I love it!)  The good news is that when Renee returned from her monitoring walk, the public works crew had arrived and were also picking up trash under the Pier.  The bad news for Renee, they also took her flip flops---oops!  So when you guys find nice flip flops on your walks, please check with Renee to see if they are her size before you discard them---she could use a new pair!

Bonnie and Suzie picked up trash on Saturday around Johnny Mercer and they also described it as "a trash haven".  

Dr. Doss and Chris also pick up litter in Zone 0 every week.  They have a pattern of always finding eye wear of some sort whether it be sunglasses, goggles or eyeglass pieces----interesting....   Wonder if this is just a favorite gathering place of discarded eye wear????

Angela found evidence of romance or skinny dipping or streaking in Zone 0 as she found panties and "whitey tighties".

Susan Miller walks Zone 3 and she found evidence of another kind--- "a fake breast".  (I laugh even as I type it.)  Oh, I'll just copy her email here as it contains lots of good info besides:

Hi Ginger,

It was a beautiful morning at the beach today-- although very hot, even at 6:00 am! I collected 2 full bags of trash in zone 3. Today I decided to bring all of the trash home with me, since most of it could be recycled, rather than throwing it in the trash bins on the beach. I almost gave up because the bags got so heavy.

I was shocked and appalled by the number of cigarette butts I picked up today- a total of 176, and that was from just one small strip of the beach! I also collected a large number of glass beer bottles. Among the more interesting things I found were a fake breast of some kind, which I suppose one could call a cutlet, and a very sparkley silver flip flop.

Right when I arrived at the beach today, I saw a gentleman playing with his dog a bit down the way. I began to rehearse what I would say to him in my head, but before I even got to him, a police officer zoomed by on an ATV. I felt a little bit bad for the guy, but also grateful as well, since the dog was not even on a leash.

Susan also edits the WB Sea Turtle Project Facebook account.  If you have not checked us out on Facebook, please do.  Susan does a fantastic job.  You can see a picture there of the 176 cigarette butts that she collected.

Chuck Warden always finds construction lumber in Zone 5.  Pretty soon he will have enough to build his own beach house!

In General:
Most of you felt this week was cleaner than usual and some even expressed that the trash seems to be less this year.  Well, you know me, I pulled out last year's report and found that we have actually collected more trash this year.  Last year, our total on week 4 was 131 bags as compared to this year at 166.5.  This does not necessarily mean that the beach is not cleaner this year, but it does simply mean that we have absolutely collected more trash.  I hope all of you are proud of your good stewardship of the Earth---it means a lot.

We did find less holes and structures this week, so that is a good thing.  Maybe there has been better enforcement.  

Volunteers did find dog poop in Zones 4 and Zones 5 on different days.

And as always, there were lots of cigarette butts....

Behind the Scenes:
I know we feel alone sometimes, but we are not.  Most people would like to see the litter situation improve.  And although most people or groups of people are not monitoring the beach every single day for 90 days as we are, others do help.

As noted earlier in this newsletter, the Public Works Dept. works very hard to help keep litter off our beach.

Next week, the WB "anti-litter committee" will hold their first meeting.  This alone shows that the town and its officials are interested in moving toward better solutions in dealing with the litter problems that we are documenting here.

Alderman, Lisa Weeks picked up litter a couple of weekends ago around Johnny Mercer Pier and also noted this as a problem area.

Many organizations also spend their time and resources in collecting litter from the beach.  I will not name them as I know I would leave some out.

Former Mayor, Stephen Whalen also walks our beach and picks up litter.

We truly are in this together, even if we have differing opinions on how to solve the problem.  I am so glad to be a part of a group that is both respectful to Mother Earth and Fellow Human Beings!

4th of July!!!
It is coming--so get ready.  Fireworks remnants have already been seen on the beach, so expect more of this next week.   
I truly hope you enjoy the holiday!!!!  But even more than that, I truly hope you find a nest!!!!  OHMMMM!!!!!!

Week 5:  June 28 - July 4, 2010--  "Making a Difference"

Aloha Trashy Talking Turtlers,

We made it through the 4th of July, but the turtles must still be on vacation!!!!  Maybe they will return to WB this week!!!

Even if the turtles are on vacation, we have not been.  WBSTP volunteers remain very dedicated in picking up trash and keeping our beach clean and safe for both sea turtles and visiting humans.  Below are your results:

Week 5:
We picked up trash in 18 of the 42 zones (42.85%)
Zone 0 = 2.5 bags
Zone 1 = 4 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3  = 10 bags (this was all in one day)
Zone 4 = 7 bags
Zone 5 = 9.25 bags

Total for Week 5 = 37.75 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 206.25 bags!!!!!(& as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

More Numbers:
I have been thinking more about the 176 cigarette butts that Susan Miller picked up last week and I tallied some numbers.
If we collected 176 butts in each zone (I'm sure there are actually a lot more) that would equal 1,056 butts per day, or 7,392 butts per week, or 29,568 butts per month, or 88,704 butts per summer (or 3 months).  Just something to ponder....

Staying Positive & What Can We Do With All of Those Flip Flops???
Although it can be a challenge to remain positive when we have not yet found a Sea Turtle Nest on WB, many of you continue to do so.  Renee has even found some benefits to picking up cigarette butts and has researched what we can do with all of those flip flops:
Hi Ginger,
     I can't believe it's "Week 5" already!!!   

 I picked up about 4 bags of trash made up of the usual stuff.  Lots of cigarette butts.  They may not fill up too many bags........but you have to squat each time you pick one up.   Kudos to Susan Miller who did it 176 times!!!! I wonder if picking up butts is good exercise for ones but(tocks)...hmmm...

Found lots of flip flops this week - two pair and 3 loners.  Also found one of those flipper things that people wear on their feet when they scuba dive???  I know there's a name for them just can't think of it at the moment....Also, a little girls bathing suit and several t-shirts in assorted sizes.

Lots of evidence of fruit too....apples, oranges, bananas, grapes....well at least litterers are eating some healthy food along with their chips, candy, sodas, beers and juicy juice.  

You know sometimes when you're picking up bags of trash - you can't help but wonder how people can be so inconsiderate.  But I was out on the beach yesterday - (strictly pleasure) and when you see how many people use our beaches - and how many things they bring with them - it is amazing how little is left behind.  When you also consider that a lot of what is left behind is accidental (who would intentionally leave their monogrammed towel , their lip gloss,  or their fake breast!!), it seems that most people are conscientious about keeping the beach clean.  We're just getting the stuff that 'slips through the cracks".

Oh, one more thing....
    I found a Day Care Center that was thrilled to get all the plastic toys I've found on the beach.  They also liked all the t-shirts - they can use them as smocks or when some little camper spills juice on themselves.  So, maybe people can look for Day Care Centers near where they live.

    The Flip Flop Store in Independence Mall will recycle pairs of flip flops.  They box them up and send them to countries where they literally have nothing to wear on their feet...so as long as they will stay on someones feet - they are accepted.
    I also found a place that will take a single flip flop even if it is not part of a pair: Unique Eco Designs.  They are in Nairobi, Kenya and they provide jobs to women and children to help support their local economy.  They also donate 9% of the profits to charity.  Hansen's Surf Shop in San Diego, CA. is also an official collection site for Unique Eco Designs.  Here's what they say - "...we are StyleSubstanceSole --oops, Soul....we live in...the land of flip flops - what better place to make a real impact?  We could actually help reduce landfills one flip flop at a time."
Not sure how much any of this costs....but if we collect enough and send them in bulk..?..?

All for this week.  

I think it would be a great idea to recycle our "found" pairs of flip flops at the Flip Flop Store.  I didn't even know this store existed!  I can't think of a more wonderful way to recycle flip flops than to send them to people who have no way of obtaining shoes on their own.  If you guys want to do this individually or organize this as a group, I will be happy to help.  Also, if you want to save your single flip flops to send to the store in CA, I can look more into this.  We can use flat rate shipping boxes and it likely will not cost that much if we do it collectively.  Please let me know by email if you would like to take part in this.  Thanks Renee.  What a great resource.

Trash vs. Treasure:
You guys reported the usual trash and treasures left behind this week, but a whole bag of used fireworks was collected in Zone 4 by the Blockade Runner.  Dogs also roam free in zone 4 as dog poop is usually reported in this zone several times a week.  You did find more structures/tents left on the beach and also numerous large holes.  One hole in Zone 1 actually had an orange caution cone in it.  Page was subbing in zone 1 when she found the hole and sent a picture to my cell phone with the question:  "why didn't they just fill it in?"  Well, that is a very good question; and one that I do not know the answer to....one more thing to ponder....

Masonboro.org is an organization that is dedicated to keeping the island free of trash while also advocating for the island to remain open to the public.  They were very successful in raising awareness and protecting the island from litter invasion over the holiday weekend.  My hat is off to them for making such a difference!  Please read the article about Masonboro.org posted in the Lumina News.  You can read it online at luminanews.com or you can buy the paper for only a quarter.

Trashy Talking Turtlers and Lumina News:
Lumina News has posted a blog on-line for WBSTP News.  As of this week, you can find copies of the Trashy Talking Turtlers Newsletters on their blog site.  To view, just go to luminanews.com and click on the "Sea Turtle Project blog".  I think it is wonderful that the town and the local paper is supportive of the sea turtles and our efforts to protect them and our environment.

Making a Difference:
Brenda and Frank Weaver picked up trash in Zone 1 and Frank found a star fish that was still alive.  Of course, being gentle and kind like WBSTP volunteers are, he placed it back into the ocean.  It reminded me of the following story: 

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

WBSTP volunteers are all making a difference.  Whether you monitor the beach for tracks, pick up litter, educate the public, or help rescue a sea turtle (or any other animal), you are all making a difference one step at a time.  Many times your actions influence others to change and many of you share stories of other people picking up trash because they see you doing it.  This effect could be exponentially great for our Planet!  I am so proud to be a part of a group of such caring individuals.

Hope you find a nest this week!!!!

Week 6:  July 5 - July 11, 2010  (Fireworks)

Helloooo  Trashy Talking Turtlers,

Here are your numbers:

Week 6:
We picked up trash in 16 of the 42 zones (38%)
Zone 0 = 5.5 bags
Zone 1 = 12.5 bags
Zone 2 = 8.25 bags
Zone 3 = 3 bags
Zone 4 = 6 bags
Zone 5 = 4 bags

Total for Week 6 = 39.25 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 245.50 bags!!!!! (& as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs, boogie boards, and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Trash vs. Treasure:
Anne Marie went shopping in Zone 0 and found  4 shirts, a pair of shorts, pant legs (oddly enough just the pant legs...not the full pants!), a beach hat,    beach towel, cooler, used firecrackers--not a bad shopping day at all!

Dick and Linda had their daughter and grandchildren join them to pick up 8.5 bags of trash including 1 dollar bill and 1 quarter, and a pair of sunglasses.

Susan found a nice pair of sneakers in Zone 3.  She gave them to someone who appeared to be homeless and he followed her the rest of the way and professed his love for her.  Although Susan admits this was a bit awkward, she felt he was quite harmless.  Everyone says that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but maybe you just need to give him a pair of gently used shoes!

Renee met two little boys who were here on vacation who spent their mornings cleaning up WB---you have to love the next generation, they just may change the world!!!

In general, most of you are continuing to collect trash that is made from plastic, cigarette butts and fireworks remnants.  Several of you commented about how many cigarette butts you saw on the beach this week.  

And, there is still dog poop being found in zone 4.

Fireworks and the Blockade Runner and Zone 4
I like fireworks on the 4th of July.  I usually go downtown every year to see them.  I think Wilmington has an excellent display and it has become part of my tradition to celebrate Independence Day. 

However, I don't like firework remnants on the beach.  John and I monitor zone 4 every Wednesday and for the past 3 weeks, we have found an exceptionally large amount of firework remnants throughout the zone, but heavily concentrated in front of the Blockade Runner.  I always walk up to the volley ball court in front of the Blockade Runner b/c someone usually leaves plastic straws, cup lids or plastic bottles there.  However, for the past 3 weeks, this area is completely littered with fireworks; so much so, that I can't pick it all up in the amount of time I have to monitor the beach before we go to work.

This week (which is actually week 7, but I thought I would include it here anyway) was especially horrible.  I actually gave up and declared that there was no way to collect it all and began muddling over how I should approach this problem and how to be diplomatic.  Fortunately, I did not have to muddle long because I saw Shannon Slocum, WB Park Ranger, driving down the beach.  I flagged him down and voiced my concerns.  He did drive over to the volley ball court and checked out the scene and stated he would mention this to Blockade Runner.  I hope this helps because I was very disheartened yesterday and it was hard to feel positive about the situation.

Some people may wonder what the big deal is; after all, it is just fireworks.  Well, besides being disruptive if turtles do nest on the beach, fireworks casing contains plastic and sometimes the whole casing is plastic!   Not only is the casing made of plastic, but even the cardboard casings have compartments at the base of the shell that contain materials to propel the fireworks, and these compartments contain plastic parts as well.  I cannot tell you how many of those exploded plastic casings I have picked up in zone 4 and there are many many more left to be picked up or to be washed out to sea!  I really hope that Blockade Runner will discourage their guests from using fireworks and I also hope they will help clean up this area of the beach.  

By the way, as we all know, it is illegal to have fireworks in NC; so there is room for enforcement.

There continues to be very large holes on the beach.  As we have mentioned before, this is dangerous to humans as well as sea turtles.  Although WB has ordinances about filling in holes before leaving the beach, this ordinance seems to be greatly ignored.  Oak Island just passed an ordinance this week about filling in holes before leaving the beach.  WECT also ran a segment this week proclaiming holes to be among the 5 most dangerous things at the beach since many people do not see them as they are walking along the beach and often become injured as they stumble into the holes.  Please be careful out there and watch your step.

Events at WB
The Pro/Am surf contest will be held at WB this weekend.  If you like surfing this is a great event to attend.  After the event, there will be a Kids Beach Sweep.  Again, you have to love the next generation b/c they just may change the world!

Sea Turtles and Boomballatti's
If you have not visited Boomballatti's Ice Cream Shop located in The Forum, you are really missing out on yummy homemade ice cream.  The shop is locally owned and operated by Kevin and Michelle who happen to love the sea turtles!  They have even allowed WBSTP to have a donation box in their shop which has helped us to raise quite a bit of money for education and rescue purposes.

If you like ice cream, you will love Boomballatti's and you just may find Kevin sporting a WBSTP hat!

Thank you Boomballatti's!!!!

Thank you Trashy Talking Turtlers for making our Planet a better place!

Happy Turtling!

Week 7:  July 12 - July 18, 2010

Here is a shout out to all of you Trashy Talking Turtlers!

I can not believe all of the work that you have been doing for the past 7+ weeks.  Here are your numbers:

Totals for Week 7:
We picked up trash in 19 of the 42 zones (45%)

Zone 0 = 8.5 bags
Zone 1 = 1.5 bags
Zone 2 = 9.75 bags
Zone 3 = 5 bags
Zone 4 = 5.5 bags
Zone 5 = 7.5 bags

Total for Week 7 = 37.75 bags

Grand Total = 284.25 (& as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs, broken boogie boards and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Trash vs. Treasure
I am pasting some of your emails here that represent the activity that we are finding on the beach.  Please note that Terri and John Littlejohn's report includes some of those large random items that don't get included in our total numbers because we do not convert these items into bags.  I wonder how many bags we would have if we did convert this type of litter into numbers of bags----hmmm....

     Zone 1 had large item trash this morning, more than I've ever seen before.  There were six broken chairs, two quilts, and two towels - all non-salvageable.  Plus, one medium sized garden type shovel.
                                                 John Littlejohn
Morgan and I collected about 6 grocery sized bags today in Zone 0.  We collected two bags of "traditional" trash - these contained cigarette butts, straws, plastic straw covers, 1 flip flop, 1 water shoe, 1 belt (weird), several plastic water bottles, a few beer cans, fabric softener sheets.
The majority of the bulk was due to the remains of what looked like an after hours wedding party party in front of the Shell Island Resort.  There was a bow tie, a receipt for a tux rental, and a beer can with a coozie that told the bride and groom's name with date of 7/17/2010.  There was one full six pack of beer (complete with cardboard carrier), two empty cans of store bought boiled peanuts, and about a case of empty beer cans (and cardboard case) , several empty beer bottles. There were cigarette butts and cigarette packages as well.  We left behind a broken Styrofoam cooler, several full beer cans and an attachment into which I am guessing an umbrella is placed.  We just couldn't carry them all to the trash. 
No tracks :(
Talk to you soon,

Zone 2 on Thursday was loaded with cigarette butts.  Hundreds.  We collected 1/2 a 13 gallon bag.  Lots of drink bottles.  Also,  there is more and more evidence of dogs on the beach.
I subbed for Page in Zone 5 this morning.
Lots of trash—we picked up 4 bags and could have done much more.  Around Oceanic it was a mess, trash cans overflowing, and it almost looked like people just dropped trash from the Oceanic outdoor dining area.  Picked up lots of Styrofoam plates around Oceanic; a lot of beer cans and BOTTLES near the inlet, one unopened Bud Lite; whoever played volleyball down near there had Jersey Mike’s for dinner last night and left all the wrappings—apparently for the whole team.  Left a small life jacket and some sunglasses on the beach as there were surfers out who may have (hopefully) been the owners.  A few holes but not bad.  Large dog tracks.
Julie Nichols

This week's Lumina News
I picked up a Lumina News last Thursday and was thrilled after reading it.  Not because the Trashy Talking Turtlers were mentioned in the "My Opinion" section (although that was pretty cool), but because of a little 5 year old girl named Kirra who is afraid that the sea turtles will choke from all the cigarettes on the beach. If you have not read this article, you will really want to---you will fall in love with this little girl and what seems to be her innate passion to make the Earth a cleaner place.  Here is the link: http://www.luminanews.com/article.asp?aid=6649&iid=229&sud=42  As I said last week:  you have to love the next generation---they just may change the world!!!

Reduce Plastic Consumption--A picture is worth a thousand words!
Although recycling is wonderful, we all know that we should reduce our plastic consumption.  Here is a slide show of what a recycling plant looks like.  If you were not convinced to reduce your consumption before watching this slide show, you probably will be convinced after watching it.  It is pretty unreal how much trash we produce.  One quote on the slide show is that Americans dispose of 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour and we make 750,000 photocopies every minute of every day.  Here is the link:  http://www.good.is/post/picture-show-waste-management

Guess Who was Caught Wearing a WBSTP T-Shirt????
Mayor David Cignotti was caught sporting a WBSTP Logo T-shirt at the Reef Pro/Am Surf Contest on Sunday!  I must say, the shirt looked great!  Thank you Mayor Cignotti!

Events At WB
On Saturday, July 24, there will be a ''Mullet Run" which is a combination of running and paddle boarding.  This is the first competition of its kind at WB.  The funds raised from the event will benefit Surfers Healing which is an organization in which surfers help children, who have been diagnosed with Autism, take to the waves.  The other charity that will benefit from this event is none other than the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.  You can read about the event in the Lumina News or click on this link:  http://www.luminanews.com/article.asp?aid=6644&iid=229&sud=43

Thanks for all you do.  
I sure hope a Mother Sea Turtle visits us tonight!

Trashy Talking Turtlers --- Week 8  July 19 - july 25, 2010

Hola Trashy Talking Turtlers!

You have been very busy collecting trash and reporting your finds, so I will get straight to the numbers.

Numbers for Week 8:
We picked up trash in 20 of the 42 zones (47%)

Zone 0 = 3.25 bags
Zone 1 = 5.5. bags
Zone 2 = 2 bags
Zone 3 = 6 bags
Zone 4 = 7.5 bags
Zone 5 = 7 bags
Total for Week 8 = 31.25 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 318.50 bags of trash!!!!!  Wow! That is an accomplishment! (& as always this does not include the large random items that do not fit into bags)

Trash or Treasure
No one reported much in the way of treasures this week outside of a couple of skim boards, some hats, and some towels.  However, several of you commented that you believe the litter is better than it has been.  This is great news.  But you know me, I did pull last year's numbers and found that we are just about equal with 2009 reports.  For week 8 2009, we had collected 32.41 bags; and our grand total at that point was 313. 636 bags.  

So, perhaps we are noticing a trend for the time of year as the Independence Holiday is winding down???  

Did Someone Say Johnny Mercer Pier was unlittered?
Renee saw Doug Beach (hopefully, if you haven't met Doug Beach, you will one day--he is truly an advocate for a clean beach and picks up trash every day) and they both felt the beach in Zone 2 (Johnny Mercer Pier on a Monday) was relatively "unlittered"!.  Of note, July 19 was the Monday after the Reef Surfing Contest and I do believe that people help clean the beach after the event.  However..... Susan Miller picked up trash in Zone 3 around Johnny Mercer on Friday, July 23 and here are her comments:  
Hi Ginger,
My trash total for yesterday, Friday July 23, was 2 bags from zone 3. I actually felt very encouraged after yesterday's walk. There was much, much less trash than I found 2 weeks ago. On July 9, I was so grossed out and discouraged by the amount of trash on the beach. That day, I collected an entire bag of just glass bottles. But yesterday I did not find any glass bottles at all. Most of the litter appeared to be accidental, such as children's sand toys and the occasional beach towel. I found only one stray flip flop. There were some pairs that I came across, but I elected not to pick any of them up, since the water was filled with surfers by 6 am, and I didn't want to snatch up anyone's footwear. The only litter I gathered yesterday that really concerned me were four large and rather dangerous looking metal tent spikes. 

To be able to say that Johnny Mercer Pier is "unlittered" should be celebrated!  Cheers!!!!  I sure hope this happens again and again and again!!!

Crystal Pier and Shell Island
Unfortunately, Vicki, Joy and Page did not have the same elated feeling at Shell Island and Crystal Pier this week as Renee and Susan had at Johnny Mercer.  Here are their comments:

Hi Ginger,
For this Tuesday, Zone 0, I picked up 1.5 bags of trash including a skim board and single boat shoe.
Incidentally, there were 9 huge holes in the sand in front of Shell Island, the most I have ever seen.  I always try to fill in the small ones but these were really large and so many.  It is really a shame the Shell Islanders don't seem to understand the turtle message.

Hi Ginger
The zone was quiet today.  Only one bag and it was mostly bottle caps and bottles.  Lots of cigarettes and those really cheap cigar plastic mouth pieces.  No holes and no canopies.  One dog and owner.  I explained that their was a 250 fine.  He knew but he did leave the beach.  Saw dog tracks between access 40 and 39. (not the guy I talked to though)  Most of the trash was around Oceanic plus alot of their coasters and napkins.  Their plastic chairs are also littering the beach. 
Well have a good day.

...got one bag of trash, which I picked up from the high tide line only, with exception of Crystal Pier - which was horrendous.  Nancy Faye and I both spent a lot of time there picking up straws, etc.
There were 8 chairs off the pier sitting at the high tide line (do the night patrols not see this, or if they do, is it not their job to pull them back?).  Only saw one large hole.
A lady asked me if I'd found any big shells when I was finishing my walk.  I explained I had trash, not shells, and I had found plenty!  Her friend said, "I bet."
That's all!

Jennifer O'Keefe and Bonnie Monteleone
If you were able to read the Trashy Talking Turtlers newsletters last year, you will remember that Jennifer O'Keefe from Keep America Beautiful and Bonnie Monteleone, a UNCW student (I believe she has since graduated?), sailed out to Bermuda to study the "Atlantic Garbage Patch".  Bonnie also spent 6 weeks with Captain Charlie Moore in 2009 studying the "Pacific Garbage Patch"  Well, these two ladies are at it again.  They just returned from a sailing trip in which they are continuing to study the accumulated plastic just off our coast in the Atlantic Ocean.  You can read about some of their adventures on the blog:  http://theplasticocean.blogspot.com/  
I am sure we will hear more from them as they have time to settle back into their land legs and analyze their data.  I will keep you informed as I learn more.

A Ship Made From Plastic Bottles
Well, I have heard of "a ship in a bottle", but this is the first time I have heard of a ship made from recycled plastic bottles.  Click on http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/25/tech/main6712685.shtml   to read about a crew who made a ship largely from 12,500 plastic bottles and sailed 8,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean for 4 months.  Why would anyone do this, you may ask....well, apparently they did it to raise awareness for how plastic affects our Oceans and to encourage people to recycle.  It is interesting reading as you learn other ways in which they practiced being "green" while at sea.

I have to say that this story encourages me.  Although I would never want to sail a ship made of plastic bottles, I can certainly join all of you in raising awareness by picking plastic up from our beach while searching for sea turtle tracks.

Who's Who at the WB Mullet Run
The first annual WB Mullet Run (a paddle boarding contest) took place last weekend to benefit Surfers Healing and Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital.  Among those in attendance at the awards ceremony held at WB park were our very own Nancy Fahey and also Jean Beasley.  There was good food and also a raffle for several prizes. One of the most coveted prizes was a very large stuffed sea turtle donated by Jean Beasley.  It was apparent that the stuffed sea turtle, (named Rain in memory of an injured sea turtle,) Nancy and Jean made many friends for the sea turtles at this event. 

If you were unable to attend this year, you may want to put it on your schedule for next year. 

For The Sea Turtles
Sometimes, I find that I am more human than I would like to admit and I become very disheartened and frustrated.  Although I remain hopeful that WB will host a nesting turtle this year, I am really beginning to wonder and that makes me feel disheartened.  Every week as I search for the elusive sea turtle tracks and I find glistening pieces of plastic instead, I begin to feel frustrated. 

But, then I remember....  Even though the sea turtles are not nesting on WB, they are nesting!!!!  There are at least 680 nests in NC this year thus far (I looked it up on the NC page of seaturtle.org).  That is a good thing and I am happy for the turtles!  I also remember that even though I am not finding tracks, I am helping by picking up trash and this is also a good thing for the sea turtles.

I do hope with all of my heart that you get to find tracks (especially the new volunteers) and that you get to watch a nest boil this year because there is really nothing like it in the whole wide world.  But regardless, I am happy that each of you are of such spirit that you continue to protect the sea turtle.  Because of people like you, the sea turtle has a better chance of survival.   So, please keep doing what you do and know that eventually the sea turtle will reward you;  who knows---- it may even be tonight.....

I will close with a quote from a sea turtle website:

"We can share beaches and ocean with sea turtles but it requires commitment and effort on our part. We can make certain that future generations will have the opportunity to know these unusual animals. The late Dr. Archie Carr, a scientist and author who almost singlehandedly began to turn the tide on the extinction of sea turtles, summed it up when he wrote, "For most of the wild things on earth the future must depend upon the conscience of mankind." Our planet has come to an unprecedented point in its history where the actions of one species--man--will determine the fate of life on earth. It is not too late to ensure a future for sea turtles."

Victoria B. Van Meter
Florida's Sea Turtles
p. 50
Reprinted from Florida's Sea Turtles, Copyright 1992, Florida Power & Light Company.

Trashy Talking Turtlers   Week 9  July 26 - Aug 1 2010

Hey Trashy Talking Turtlers!!!

The Mother Turtles have found us!!!!!!!  Now, if they would only leave a nest......    Dont' they know how hard we have been working to make sure that they and their hatchlings will have a clean beach in which to return to nest again???  Keep sending all of your positive thoughts out to those sea turtles!!!!!

Speaking of a clean beach, below are your numbers:

Numbers for Week 9:
We picked up trash in 17 of the 42 zones (40%)

Zone 0 = 2.25 bags
Zone 1 = 4 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3 = 2 bags
Zone 4 = 4 bags
Zone 5 = 9.5 bags

Total for Week 9 = 26.75 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 348.5 bags!!!! (& as always this does not include the large random items that do not fit into bags)

Trash vs. Treasure/Trashy Trends
Here are some of your comments from this week:

(From Zone 0-- which tends to be one of the cleanest zones)
*Wonders never cease, we found NOT the first scrap of trash this morning. I guess we have trained our users well. Abrons and Doss*

Hi Ginger, I walked zone 0 this morning and it was very clean.  There were some cigarette buts and a couple plastic bags near the garbage can.  No treasures today, except seeing the sun and the moon out together. Thanx for all your hard work, Christie

(From Zone 1--- note the structures in the water) 
     Had a banner Monday in Zone 1.  Only 2 grocery bags of trash, However, pulled 2 and 1/2 umbrellas out of the surf as well as one tented shelter.  Felt energetic, so removed two more tented shelters and pulled them up to the trash.  Fun Monday.  Rgds  Dick and Linda

(From Zone 2)
Hi Ginger,
    Collected three bags of trash.  The usual.  I focused on plastics and styrofoam mostly... Left the biodegradable stuff.  So, didn't pick up cigarettes, but I did pick up those that had the plastic mouth pieces.  
    Lots of flip flops today.  I've decided to give them all to the place that sends them to Africa even if they are not in pairs.  They way they described it is that the people have nothing to wear on their feet....so two unmatched is better than nothing on either foot.....or two unmatched.  I collected 6 pairs today and one or two "singles".  Also, a bic lighter, and two chapsticks.  Also, two towels and a couple t-shirts.  There was a large plastic pail and lots of shovels of assorted sizes and colors.  Some young college age kids were visiting the Beach from South Carolina....they were so excited to be on the beach and were asking lots of questions about the turtles and jelly fish and shells.  As I brought the large plastic pail back to a garbage can....I was going to leave it there in case someone wanted it....one of the kids asked if it was OK if he used it....So, it got recycled right on the spot!!!  There was also one new item.....a carpenter's hammer that I haven't seen before.....couldn't find any evidence of a carpenter tho!
   There were actually quite a few people on the beach this morning....maybe because sunrise is getting later.  A handful asked what I was doing and it was nice being able to tell them about the turtles and the effect our trash could have on them.  Another handful...had their own bags and were picking up trash along with their shells.  One lady said she wished there were as many collectible shells as there were bits of trash.

(From Zone 3)
Hi Ginger,
 Oh I SO wanted to find turtle tracks this morning.... but alas! No tracks! 
On a brighter note, litter was not so bad today. I collected 2 bags in zone 3. It was mostly plastic water bottles and soda cans. Nothing major in terms of trash. One thing I did come across, however, was a tee shirt balled up right on the shore line with the waves gently coming right up to it. When I picked up the tee shirt it felt unusually heavy. So I gave it a shake, and a wallet and a Blackberry fell out. Fortunately, I was able to find the owner on facebook and send him a message to let him know I have his things! My first instinct was to tell him to call me- but then I remembered I have his phone. Thank goodness for the internet. Hopefully he will send me an email today so I can return his things to him.
This morning was a very pleasant one on the beach. There were many beautiful sea shells, and the breeze was... dare I say... even a bit cool!
Still hoping for those elusive tracks...
 -Susan Miller

(From Zone 5 --- this zone may rival as the trashiest zone)
I collected one bag of trash on July 28, mostly plastic bottles.  Additionally there was a truck tire that floated ashore and had been pushed above the high tide line.  The city has seen it because there were beach patrol tire tracks near the tire.

 Cleaner beach today.  Only picked one bag full, lots of plastic tops and straws today.  Then odds and ends of shoes toys etc.  The number of cigarette butts seemed to have tripled since the beginning of the summer.  There was alot of trash from the Oceanic again.  Wish we could get them to do a patrol at the end of the night.  Saw no dogs but did see 2 sets of dog tracks.
Have a good weekend

Hi Ginger
Yesterday I picked up 1.5 bags of trash & 1 bag of recyclables/sand toys in zone 5. The most unusual was a barbie shoe. The most disgusting was a used tampon.

Inspiration From Bobby Brandon
If you did not read the Lumina News this week, you will want to click on this link to read how Bobby Brandon is tackling the litter problem head on: http://www.luminanews.com/article.asp?aid=6706&iid=231&sud=30

Every Monday morning, Bobby takes to the streets of WB to clean up litter.  And boy is he serious!!!-- he loads his truck with a heavy duty broom, heavy duty work gloves and garbage bags.  According to the article, Mr. Brandon believes each person needs to do their part and not just depend upon the town to clean up the litter.

You Are Being Heard, Or At Least Read
I know some of you may wonder how much people are listening and how much of a difference are we making.  I wonder the same thing sometimes.  However, I want you to know that you are making a difference and people are taking note.

I saw Mayor Cignotti a few weeks ago when he was wearing a WBSTP shirt and he commented on your work.

Alderman Bill Sisson and Mayor Pro-tem, Bill Blair have both commented on your work during the Cleaner Greener Committee meetings.

Alderman Lisa Weeks often uses our newsletter to address WB businesses on ways they can help alleviate some of the litter patterns that you have observed on your morning walks.

Alderman Susan Collins has commented on your work and states that she too picks up litter on the beach.

Your work is so appreciated and your observations are helpful in providing data and evidence on the need for change.  Thank you for all you are doing.

The Next 30 Years
As many of you know, WB has an "anti-litter" committee called the WB Cleaner Greener Committee.  This committee is charged with providing recommendations/solutions to improve the litter situation at WB.  I do believe this is a positive step in the right direction; and the committee members all seem passionate about their responsibility.

However, I found it interesting to learn that the town of WB also had a similar committee in 1980 (30 years ago).  The name of the committee in 1980 was:  Wrightsville Beach Clean Community Committee.  Perhaps the committee of 30 years ago was successful and things have changed so much that the need has arisen again.  The committee then addressed solutions and enforcement regarding litter and the committee of today is examining these issues as well.  

Since I am of age to remember 30 years ago, I can say with confidence that litter was illegal 30 years ago and it is still illegal today.    Education in that regard has worked as there is probably not a soul alive in this country that does not know that littering is illegal.  (Remember the commercial:  "give a hoot, don't pollute"?)  Maybe we can educate on just how detrimental litter is to our environment and our quality of life.  Maybe enforcement will help to drive the education home.  I don't know all of the answers, but I am sure there will be much discussion among the committee members.

I do know that in the next 30 years, I would like to see a positive change in the litter problem at WB and around the world.  If we do not see a change and we use the Trashy Talking Turtlers' data as a guideline, here are some things we, our children, and our grandchildren can look forward to at WB:

14,220 bags of trash (not including all of the random large items that do not fit into bags) (only litter collected during 3 months of the year by WBSTP at *474 bags/yr. for 30 years.) *based on 2009 total

*5.400,000 cigarette butts (which is a very very VERY conservative estimate based on 3 month/year for 30 years) *based on estimates in Week 1 2010 newsletter

If we have a nest this year, and a female from that nest is lucky enough to survive, she will be ready to nest on WB in about 30 years.  Will WB be ready for her????  I sure hope so.


Hello Trashy Talking Turtlers!!!!

It has been a busy week, so I will get straight to the numbers so as not to delay this newsletter an longer.

Numbers for Week 10:
We picked up trash in 22 of the 42 zones (52%)

Zone 0 = 5.5 bags
Zone 1 = 7 bags
Zone 2 = 2.75 bags
Zone 3 = 7 bags
Zone 4 = 6.5 bags
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags

Total for Week 10 = 34.25 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 384.25 ( & as always this does not include the random trash that does not fit into the bags such as boogie boards, towels, etc.)

Trash vs. Treasure:
Many of you reported observing a very high tide line this week and with that came lots and lots and lots of cigarette butts, bottle caps, and random little plastic pieces that the Ocean spit onto our shore.  Thank you for taking the time to retrieve as much of these items as you did.  

Some of you continue to comment that the trash is better, but the holes are much much worse.  In fact, large holes were reported in every zone.  In fact, Wednesday morning, (which is actually week 11) I found a hole that must be a close cousin to the Grand Canyon--not kidding.

In Zone 0, Vickie found a frisbee and AnneMarie found a hand held fishing net.  Together, these items could provide for a day of endless fun!
In Zone 1, Dick and Linda found a full size gold shovel.  I guess a full size shovel is much more efficient when you are digging to China as those little plastic shovels just break too easily.

Kim Meyer found denture adhesive, but no teeth attached.  If you remember, Kim also found a dreadlock earlier this year with no man attached.  Wonder if the denture adhesive would work on dreadlocks?  HHHMMM?

Melanie reports that zone 4 continues to be littered with fireworks remnants in front of the Blockade Runner.  Hopefully the people who are illegally setting off fireworks at Blockade Runner will begin to pick up the litter from those fireworks.  At this point, there is no telling how many of those plastic shells have been buried beneath the sand.

Chuck found a youth Schwinn bike helmet in Zone 5 complete with fishing line attached.  Not to worry, he will be donating this item to a very happy kid.

Page found a mess, and I do mean "a big mess", of fishing line tied to the post in the bird sanctuary of Zone 5.  It was really unbelievable.  It had to be cut free with a knife.

Also in Zone 5 are the chairs from the Oceanic scattered along the tide line.  Joy even found one of these chairs all the way down at access 39.  Here is a link to a picture that explains just how dangerous beach furniture can be to sea turtles.   http://research.myfwc.com/gallery/image_details.asp?id=10958  Please keep in mind that this is not the only incident of a turtle being entangled or caught in beach furniture.  Sad, really...

The Indian Ocean
We know that there have been plastic garbage patches found floating in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, but now there is evidence of a plastic patch in the Indian Ocean as well.

I strongly urge you to click on the link below to read more about this issue.  You will find a picture of a child playing on a beach that looks completely covered in trash.  It is very difficult to clean plastic out of the ocean as it breaks down into tiny pieces (never going away, but just getting smaller and smaller so that marine life cannot help but ingest it).  The only real solution as pointed out in this article is to clean trash from the beach as soon as possible and to reduce our consumption of plastic or REFUSE plastic altogether.   http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/new-ocean-garbage-patch-discovered#

Again, please click on the link to learn more.  Also, share this information with your friends and family.  The more people are educated, the better and the sooner that people will begin to change their consumer patterns.  I cringe to think that if humans continue on their current path, all the world's beaches could one day resemble the beach in this picture.  It is too much for even one beach to be in this condition.  It is too much for even one child to play on a beach that is littered with plastic and other debris.  

A Blog You Will Want to Read
I was introduced to the following blog by a volunteer with Surfrider Foundation.  The blog is posted by a local lady who has made it her mission to help get cigarettes banned on WB.  She and her three children are collecting litter for 20 minutes two days a week on WB.  In just two days, or 40 minutes, they collected 543 cigarette butts.  This lady is a new inspiration for me.

She also includes other valuable information about litter and environmental issues.  You will want to view the video of the Albatross.  I will warn you that the video is very disturbing and many of you have viewed similar videos before, but it is a true reminder of why it is so important for us to tirelessly advocate for a cleaner beach.

Events at WB
Beach Cleanup at Wrightsville Beach Sat 8/14
CFCC Green Building Club has adopted Beach Access #16 (Johnny Mercers Pier) at Wrightsville Beach. Last month they collected 80 pounds of trash. Please join them at their next cleanup this weekend. They will be meeting in the shade at the entrance to the pier. Bags and gloves will be provided.           

*If you decide to join this event, you may want to wear your WBSTP t-shirt.

Vito's and Trashy Talking Turtlers
Monday, August 16th 7:00PM at the Vito's Picnic area.
Vito's and John Marcucci will host WBSTP volunteers for a pizza party.  This will also be a time to bring any flip flops that you have not yet recycled.  We will be collecting the flip flops to send to families in other countries who are unable to afford shoes.

*If you plan to attend this event, please contact Ginger Taylor by Friday.*

Treat the earth well.
It was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors,
we borrow it from our Children.

Ancient Indian Proverb

Trashy Talking Turtlers---  August 9 - August 15, 2010

Aloha Trashy Talking Turtlers!

Let's Talk Trashy Numbers:
From time to time, some of the volunteers will say to me that they forgot to email their trash reports and did not send them because I had already written the newsletter.  Please do not worry if you are late---I completely understand---life gets busy.  Sometimes, volunteers will email their numbers the next week and I just include them into the Grand Total (that is why the Grand Totals never completely add up if you are reading carefully ;-) ).  Also, sometimes, I will overlook one of your emails or file it into the wrong folder.  Once I realize this, I will add those numbers into the Grand Total.  Such was the case this week.  Kym Davidson sent me an email last week and reported 6 bags of trash in zone 5.  I read her email, but misfiled it and did not catch it until this week; thus those 6 bags will be added to the Grand Total in this newsletter.

So, all of that to say: "it is never too late to send in your numbers, they will count".

Also, someone had a question about the "42" zones.  We all know that we pick up trash in zones 0 - 5 which equals 6 zones.  So where do I get the "42" zones and where do all of those extra zones come from????   The answer is that I multiply the number of zones (6) by the number of days in the week (7).  I do this because we monitor for nests in each zone every day; and thus we have 42 opportunities (or zones) to collect litter from the beach.

Thank you so much for all of the hard work you have been doing.

Numbers for Week 11:
We picked up trash in 23 of the 42 zones (55%)

Zone 0 = 4.58 bags
Zone 1 = 7.83 bags
Zone 2 = 5.75 bags
Zone 3 = 7 bags
Zone 4 = 6.5 bags
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags

Total for Week 11 = 37.16 

Grand Total since June 1 = 427.41 bags of trash!!!!  (& as always this does not include the large random items that will not fit into the bags)

Trash vs. Treasure:
Here are some of your reports:

Hi Ginger,
    I collected two bags of trash on Monday.  There were a lot of plastic bottle tops and plastic tidbits.  It looked like a lot of the trash had been returned to the beach from the ocean.....There was a line of grass and "junk"  around the high tide mark.  There were things that looked like they'd been thrown around awhile before they again landed on the beach.  I figured the ocean was giving us a second chance to pick things up :o)

1 grocery bag of trash, lots of plastic wrappers from juice box straws like one every two feet, must have been a kid convention on the beach

Hi Ginger,
    We had 1 1/2 walmart bags today in zone 2.  The litter is so much better than in past years.  Keep up the good work.  In fact, last week we saw a man picking up litter on his own, and today a woman and child were picking it up.

Sara and I collected 1/3 of a kitchen garbage bag in Zone 2 on Thursday.  The beach did not seem too bad with the exception of cigarrette butts. Hundreds!

One large kitchen garbage bag of trash. 
One phone which we found the owner of and dropped off at wbpd where he picked up. 

This morning was a gorgeous morning on the beach. I collected three bags of litter in zone 3 today. Most of the trash seemed to be pretty typical- soda cans, water bottles, small plastic sand toys, etc. There seemed to be an absolutely innumerable amount of plastic straws, plastic water bottle caps, and those little plastic rings that come off the top of soda and water bottles. These were everywhere!

The largest amount of trash that I found was right next to Johnie Mercer's Pier. It appeared that a group had a little nighttime beach party and just left all of their garbage right there in the sand. I collected a whole bag of trash here- probably a good 12-14 beer cans and bottles, some empty and some full. I came across this spot at about 7:30 am when I was actually finishing up for the day, and by that time there was a small group of sunbathers and beach goers who had already assembled here. They all watched me pick up the trash but no one got up to help. That was a little disheartening.

Lastly, believe it or not, I found two sea turtles in the sand this morning. Yes, two! Haha. Honestly, when I found these toys on two different areas of the beach I thought it was a sign. But alas... still no tracks!

Trash report Zone 1 Tuesday, August 10

3 grocery bags of trash--bottle caps, plastic wrappers, cigarette butts, candy wrappers, tissues, handi wipes, etc.
 2 abandoned canopies
1 boogie board
1 pair child's Crocs
1 beach towel
1 pr men's underwear
1 pr boy's underwear
Several plastic toys/buckets
4 soda cans
 Several  "four-letter words" scratched in the sand in BIG letters.  I took care of that with my feet.  
 Has anyone ever asked the Shell Island Resort if their staff could police the trash on their beach? 

About a grocery bag and 1/2 today.  A lot of it was those plastic straw packages for juiceboxes!

Friday, 8/13 Zone 0  1/3 grocery bag - mostly bottle lids, straws, etc. and one men's boxer shorts.  Hey - it happens.  I can see how someone could forget those : )
 Have a great rest of the weekend!

I collected 1.5 bags trash & 1.5 bags recyclables/treasures (beach toys) in zone 5 today. What is up w/ me & sanitary products??? I found a used panty liner today & unused condoms.  Lots of bottles & cans. The receptacles at Crystal pier were overflowing & a pile of clothes & shoes beside the cans, that was there last week, still remained; so I am not sure if they were emptied all week??? Seems like a Saturday or weekend trash run would be helpful in controlling litter overflow.

As always, thanks!

In general, several of you reported men's boxers or underwear this week---all up and down the beach.  Not sure what was going on with that---maybe it was the moon!  Also there was quite a bit of dog poop reported in zones 4 and 5.  Nancy Faye Craig even cleaned the dop poop in zone 5 while she was subbing for another volunteer----Thank you Nancy for being such a trooper!

It All Starts With Me:
Last week I included Danielle's blog about the number of cigarette butts she is collecting on WB.  On Tuesday, Aug 17th, she colllected 409 butts in 20 minutes.  This makes her total 952 butts in 3 days or 60 minutes.  This number will hopefully help convince town officials that banning smoking on the beach is a good thing.  You can follow Danielle's blog here:  http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/.   
I thought about Danielle this week as I was walking in Zone 4 because I came across a spot with 15 cigarette butts sticking straight out of the sand.  

Plastic Bags:
As we know, plastic never biodegrades, it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces and becomes a toxic part of our ecosystem.  It takes a lot of energy and resources to even produce plastic bags that are single use and then thrown away.  I think about going to the grocery store vs. going to Costco or Sam's where they do not give you plastic bags.  If I can put my items in the cart without a bag at Costco or Sam's, why not do the same at the grocery store?  Of course, using a reusable bag makes it easier, but sometimes I find myself without my reusable bags when I am at the store.  Also, the other day I was at Harris Teeter buying sushi for lunch and I told the cashier that I did not need a bag.  I mean really, why would I need a plastic bag to carry packaged sushi 50 steps from the store to my car????  

It is estimated that if one person switches to reusable bags vs. plastic bags, then they would reduce plastic bags by 6 in one week, or 24 in one month, or 288 in a year, or 22,176 in a lifetime (77 years).  If one in five people in the US switched to reusable bags, then we would reduce plastic bag consumption by 1,330,560,000,000 over our lifetime.

To learn more, please click on the following link to view a short video:

Sea Turtle Hospital and Sea Turtle Camp:
If you have not visited the Sea Turtle Hospital on Topsail Island, I highly recommend it.  Tours only last a few more weeks and the hours are every day from 2:00 - 4:00 except for Wednesday and Sunday.  If you do not want to wait in a long line, the best day to go is Saturday as this is the day when beach tourists are either just arriving at the beach or leaving the beach and do not have as much time to visit the hospital.

Besides being open to the public for tours, the Sea Turtle Hospital offers several opportunities for education including training interns and offering special programs for camps and other groups.  One such camp is the Sea Turtle Camp.  I have included the link to Sea Turtle Camp below because it has an awesome video of Jean Beasley talking about sea turtles and it also includes incredible footage of a sea turtle release.  Once you click on the link, the video will be in the center of the home page.  It only lasts a couple of minutes.

Thank you Vito's
On Monday night, many of us ascended upon Vito's for free Pizza.  I think it is fair to say that we all had a great time and we missed those who were unable to attend.  Thank you Vito's.

Trashy Talking Turtlers --  August 16, 2010 - August 22, 2010

Hello and Kudos Trashy Talking Turtlers!

As the summer is winding down, so too is the amount of trash that we are seeing on the beach; and that is a good thing.  

Collectively you have collected 458.16 bags of trash so far this season.  But that's not all!  You have also saved toys for children who need them and donated them to various centers around town, you have collected shoes and donated them to be mailed to families, in other countries, who are unable to afford shoes, and you have washed towels and donated to the Sea Turtle Hospital and to Animal Shelters and Veterianrian offices.  Thank you for all of your hard work.

Numbers for Week 12:
We picked up trash in 22 of the 42 zones (52%)

Zone 0 = 1.5 bags
Zone 1 = 2.75 bags
zone 2 = 4 bags
Zone 3 = 8 bags
Zone 4 = 7.5 bags
Zone 5 = 7 bags

Total for Week 12 = 30.75 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 458.16 bags of trash!!!!!!  (& as always that does not include the endless amounts of trash that did not fit into the bags that you just hauled over to the trash cans).

Your Reports:
*Zone 0 had one Styrofoam cup and two scraps of paper. Laraine was so in need of finding trash she picked up two bird feathers.
Abrons, Butler and Doss *

Hi Ginger,
 I walked Zone 1 today (8/20) for Hank and Allison.  During my trek, I did not find turtle tracks, but I did find about 1 grocery bag full of trash.  This included a nearly whole box of matches of the wooden stick variety and a long piece of kite string that had been cut into pieces.  Additionally, on my way south, I noticed a "camp" of sorts that included several beach chairs and towels, two umbrellas, a raft, plastic bags along with other empty food containers including an empty can of Bud, etc.  The site looked recently used, so thinking the owners were swimming or searching for shells, I  didn't disturb anything.  On my way back, I saw  Officer Chris Swartz of WBPD checking out the site.  Come to find out the collection belonged to a homeless person that has been inhabiting the beach in recent weeks.  After being chased away from JM Pier at some point, he then must have moved his apartment north to Zone 1.  According to Chris, this assortment of items had been gathered by this guy a bit at a time.  Some of it may have come from the trash, but some of it looked fairly decent.  Ha.....unbeknownst to us, this guy has apparently been hoarding many of the items left behind by others.  No wonder some of our volunteers think the beach seems cleaner!!   

Good Morning,
WOW...Zone 4 was a busy area this morning (maybe it is like that everyday).  I found the following:
1 set of house keys on a long purple string (I turned this into the police dept)
1 toy shovel
1 pair of goggles
2 beach chairs
1 towel
3 beer bottles
2 soda cans
1 wooden and metal umbrella pole about 4 feet long
lots of cigarette butts
lots of plastic bottle caps
lots of plastic wrappers
I also found at least 10 holes that I was able to fill in.  And then there was one "hole" about 12 feet long kind of like a crazy S shape.  It was a least 3 feet deep in sections.  I tried my best to fill it in but I dare say it can still use some help.  Maybe the Volunteer that walks Zone 4 tomorrow can work on it a little.  It is just south of the Water Tower and in front of a light blue house.  Hopefully during the day today someone else will kick it in some more.  
Have a great day to you all.  Michelle Leonard

When John and I walked zone 4 on Wednesday, we collected 3 bags of trash which always contains plastic firework remnants in front of the Blockade Runner by the volley ball court.  But sadly, we also found 5 baby sting rays between the volley ball court and the dune line.  Of course, they were dead and I am so confused about that.  We know the tide did not wash them up to the dune line, so why are they there and how did they die---it was very disturbing.  But more disturbing is that when I walked zone 4 today (week 13--a week later) the baby rays were still there.  Yes, they did smell.  There are always things that cannot be explained and I find events like this to be one of them.

On down the beach strand in zone 4, we saw the Great Wall of China.  I'm pretty excited that I can find the Grand Canyon and The Great Wall of China without ever leaving WB!  Why would you want to vacation anywhere else?  You can see it all right here!  The builder of this project built a wall that was about 2-3 feet high that snaked up and down for about 12 feet (yes, I'm pretty sure this is the same wall that Michelle saw on Saturday--3 days later).  Now, if a sea turtle had tried to nest in that area, it would have ran head first into one of those "S" curves, would have had a difficult time turning around, and would have surely not laid a nest, and likely would have been trapped there.  The Great Wall was built right in front of a cabana that had been left overnight.  The cabana had tire marks beside it, but had not been ticketed.

Picked up one bag again but saw a TON of cigarette butts.  Also alot of holes this week. Deep but not too wide.  On the very south end there were some people with two dogs.  I called it in but I don't think the officer was able to catch them.  Or he just told them to leave without a citation.  There was one cabana with an overflowing trash can next to it.

It looked like they moved in for the weekend and then just left everything. There is a trash can under all that stuff. 

Frustration is mounting in Zone 5 as chairs from the Oceanic continue to be found along the shore line every week.  I can not stress enough how dangerous beach furniture is to marine life when it gets washed out to sea.  Not only are the chairs plastic which will break down into smaller pieces and release toxins, but sea life easily become entangled in beach furniture, become stressed, and unable to escape and eventually die.  Oceanic, please remove your chairs from the beach strand at night.  All the Sea World will thank you.

Chuck found a life preserver in Zone 5 this week---I'm thinking it may be a symbol of hope or thanks from Mother Ocean for all you guys are doing in helping to keep her healthy.

Driving for Trash vs. Walking for Trash
I heard a couple of comments last week (on two different occassions) about different people driving down the beach to assess the trash situation and determining that the litter problem did not seem that bad.  Really?  Then where does 458.16 bags of trash come from and where does 1167 cigarette butts come from if the litter problem is not that bad (http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/)?  What would "bad" be?  I really am curious.

I find it rather difficult to not be offended for all of the volunteers (WBSTP and ALL the MANY other VOLUNTEERS and GROUPS) who choose to spend their time cleaning trash from WB only to have others comment that the trash is not that bad.  What about people like Bobby Brandon who choose to take to the streets with his own bags, brooms and gloves to clean up the mess???  What about people like Danielle who teach her children stewardship of the Earth by taking them to the beach to pick up cigarette butts????  Wonder if they would say the litter is not that bad?  Wonder if people did not volunteer their time to pick up the trash if the litter would seem that bad?  Wonder if all the people and organizations who are studying and researching the "garbage patch" would agree that the litter situation is not that bad?

So, anyway, being offended will get me nowhere and is not very helpful!!!!!   So, I am trying to get to a point of understanding and develop a new attitude.  Sometimes you want to see a problem for yourself to determine what the situation is.  So, driving the length of the beach strand would seem like a good idea as you get to cover the entire length of the beach.  However, volunteers who participate in litter clean up can attest to the fact that when you are walking on the beach, it is much easier to see all the trash and bits that are partially buried in the sand than it would be viewing from inside a vehicle.  You can not cover as much area in as short amount of time as you could driving the beach, but it is much more effective to walk and that is why it takes a large number of volunteers to clean the beach. 

I would like to invite anyone who is interested in assessing the litter situation to walk the beach early in the morning for 1 -2 miles south of Johnny Mercer, from mid June to mid August.  Although, the litter situation may seem improved over years past, it remains a very serious problem.  If we stick our heads in the sand and try to ignore it, we will find that our heads are stuck in trash!

A Special Thank you to all Individuals, Volunteers, Town Officials, Town Employees, Residents, and Tourists who practice being good stewards of the Earth and her Oceans.  You are Amazing!

August 23-31, 2009

Hello Trashy Talking Turtlers,

It is with mixed emotions that I write this final newsletter.  Although I am looking forward to not having the feeling of a deadline or the pressure to "get the newsletter done", I will miss checking my email and seeing all the kindred messages from you guys.  I remember a feeling of disappointment once turtle season was over last year when I would check my emails and it seemed I only had "junk".

And, of course, I would not be honest if I did not say that I am somewhat disappointed that WB did not see more nesting activity this year.

However, I am very excited and proud of the work that the WBSTP volunteers have done in terms of cleaning our beach and helping our Oceans to be a safer habitat for all marine life; and, I am just as excited about the nesting activity across the state.  According to seaturtle.org, NC has 845 reported nests so far!!!

Numbers for Week 13 (This is a 9 day week so we will add 12 zones (6 per day) making the total number of zones 54 instead of the usual 42.)
We picked up trash in 27 of the 52 zones (50%)

Zone 0 = 2.83 bags
Zone 1 = 4 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3 = 7 bags
Zone 4 = 5.25 bags
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags

Total Number of Bags for Week 13 = 29.58

Grand Total from June 1, 2010 - August 31, 2010 = 496.24!!!!!!!!!!  (& as always this does not include all of the random and large items that you drug and hauled to the trash bins that would not fit into your garbage bags)  Please give yourself a hand, high five, pat on the back, and take a bow!!!  You definitely deserve it!  Job well done.  The Earth Thanks You!!!!!   

Work Continues for Nancy Fahey
Although we may be finished monitoring the beach by foot, Nancy Fahey, our tireless leader will continue to monitor the beach by ATV through September 15th.  We should all send her positive sea turtle thoughts because you never know with the turtles......

Not only is Nancy monitoring for nests, but she is also taking time to pick up trash.  In just two days, she has collected 11 bags of trash!!!!  If we added that to our Grand Total then we would have 507.24 bags of trash!!!!!!  Among the trash Nancy has collected, she has picked up at least 12 balloons in two days.

I know we have talked about balloons before, but one more time won't hurt, right???

Letting balloons go into the air is pretty cool to young kids and they love to watch the balloons float away into the sky.  I remember when I was in elementary school (yes, I can still remember that far), we released balloons with our addresses inside hoping for pen pals.  It was a project that I much enjoyed; however in that lesson about helium, no one ever taught me about the risks to the environment when a balloon deflates, lands, and becomes trash which breaks down into toxic particles or is ingested by wildlife.  Perhaps we did not know back then about the detrimental effects of letting balloons go, but now we do.  So, we can either ignore this knowledge or face it head on like Nancy did yesterday.

Yesterday, after collecting more balloons from our shore, Nancy learned from two different sources that a local agency in Wilmington had released lots and lots of balloons to celebrate the success of their clients.  Being the true environmental and sea turtle advocate that Nancy is, she picked up the phone and called the agency.  She explained her concerns with the release of the balloons including the example this sets to other agencies and individuals who may use the release of balloons as a symbolism of celebration.  Nancy pointed out that sea turtles and other marine life often ingest balloons for food and become very sick.  She also explained that marine life can become entangled in the ribbons that are attached to the balloons and often become injured or die as a result.  Nancy encouraged the representative from the agency to go to seaturtlehospital.org and view the picture on the home page of the balloons that have been passed by some of the sea turtles that have been rehabbed at the hospital.

The agency representative was very open to what Nancy had to say and left Nancy with the feeling that the agency would not release balloons in the future.  To be fair to the agency, they did take the extra steps to special order biodegradable balloons and also used raffia instead of ribbon.   Nancy did thank the agency for their consideration of the environment, but encouraged them to celebrate in a different way in the future such as  releasing butterflies, planting trees, or planting a field of wildflowers.  We know that even if items are biodegradable, they are still litter (paper is biodegradable, but if it is on the ground, it is still litter) and just because items are biodegradable, it does not mean that it is safe for wildlife.

As Nancy and I were discussing this situation, we thought of all the times people release balloons on the beach during celebrations or even during memorial events.  The idea occurred to us that it would be nice if WB had an ordinance against releasing balloons on the beach.  It really seems like such an innocent gesture, but if individuals were aware of the consequences of this one act on the environment, many would abandon it all together.  

Thank you Nancy for advocating and educating on behalf of our Planet!

It Starts with Me!
I have highlighted Danielle's blog several times in this newsletter and yet I feel compelled to do so again.  I am so impressed and inspired by her dedication to clean litter from Wrightsville Beach that I am thinking about joining her.  Why not pick up cigarette butts for 20 minutes a day/2 days a week????  (I can think of some reasons, but I'm definitely considering it.) Danielle and her family has picked up 2171 cigarette butts in just 7 days!

I will definitely keep reading her blog and I encourage others to do the same if you are interested.   Danielle has a great way of writing about and photographing the typical trash that we see on the beach when walking. If you look at the pictures on her blog, you will surely recognize items that you too have collected including silicone gel packs!  She is definitely a kindred spirit.  (Also, I think reading her blog will help with my separation issues from the Trashy Talking Turtlers)  :-)

One more reason to check out her blog today is that she wrote about the sea turtles and has a picture of our potential nest!!!!  Thank you Danielle for bringing attention to this issue.  When I originally wrote the draft for this newsletter, the blog about the sea turtles was not yet posted.  So, you can imagine that when I checked the blog this morning before correcting the final draft, I was excited and had to include it here.  http://itstartswithme-danielle.blogspot.com/

Stay Tuned
WBSTP and Surfrider Foundation are joining forces to help Keep America Beautiful with the Big Sweep on Saturday, September 25th.  We will need volunteers to pull this off and make it a big success.  It will be very exciting to join with the community in an effort to clean our beaches and waterways.  Please stay tuned for ways in which you can help.  I will be contacting you via email very soon.

A sincere thank you to all of you who have woken before sun rise to monitor for sea turtle activity, to those of you who have missed the sun rise because you were bent over the sand picking up trash, to those of you who walked the beach with your significant other, but could not hold their hand because your hand was either carrying a trash bag or just felt too dirty from all the trash you had touched to touch someone else's hand, to those who inspired and educated others about sea turtles and litter.  You are all saints!

I think about all the trash we have collected, some of it was fresh and some of it had been spit out by the Ocean and was covered in barnacles and sea life.  Renee mentioned that it seemed the Ocean was giving us another chance to pick up the litter that She spit back at us.  I like this thought.  Isn't that such a positive way to think about the litter that comes back to us from the Ocean.  It is as if Mother Ocean trusts us to help her and protect; and indeed, we will!!

So, I feel I must once again include the "Sea Turtle Zen" from the book Animal Speak:

...Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth.  In Mother Earth is all that we need.  She will care for us, protect us, and nurture us, as long as we do the same for her.   For that to happen we must slow down and heighten our sensibilities.  We must see the connection to all things.  Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither can we separate ourselves from what we do to the Earth...

Peace and Blessings,
Ginger Taylor

Nancy collects more Trash

HI All.   Yes, it is another Trashy Talking Turtler Newsletter.   And why not?   Nancy Fahey is still out there every morning on her ATV looking  for nests and picking up trash.  It also gives me a reason to connect with you all again!!!!

Nancy Adds To Our Total:
Nancy has been going strong for 9 days; and although she has not found any new turtle tracks, she has found plenty of human tracks.  Since September 1st, she has collected 27 bags of trash.  

This brings our total to : 523.24 bags of trash!!!!!

Balloons and WB
Nancy has also kept track of the number of balloons she has collected from our shore and so far her total is 24!!!  This lets us all know that we have some education to do.

I was at the WB BOA meeting tonight to show off some trash (more about that below) and at the end of the meeting Mayor Cignotti and the BOA members briefly discussed "the turtle people" and the balloons.  It was pointed out that there is an ordinance about having balloons as decorations, but they may look more into any ordinances about releasing balloons at the beach.

I came home and googled WB balloon ordinance.  I have not yet come across an ordinance about balloons (which doesn't mean it is not there---it only means that I did not find it b/c I was tired and gave up my search), but I did come across an application form for people who want to have a celebration or event on the beach.  It does clearly state on that form that balloons are not to be used for decorations.  I was so excited about this and I am more excited that the BOA may look more into this issue.

Thank you Nancy.  Keep up the good work.

Trash at BOA
I have been saving some of my trash.  Okay, I am not a hoarder as most of the trash we collected was thrown away simply b/c it was too gross to keep and could not easily be rinsed off.  However, I did keep 1/3 - 1/2 of our trash with the idea that it would be educational at some point and just because I am so curious that if I were a cat, I would be dead!

I, of course, kept toys and toy parts, plastic bottles, glass bottles, aluminum cans, cup lids, random junk.  I have also kept 143 bottle caps (water, beer, soda, and sun tan lotion), 103 straws (33 of which are kids juice box straws---no I did not keep all of the cellophane straw wrappers, but you know we have all picked up tons of those), 60 pieces of fireworks remnants (I am sad to say that we left just as many on the beach b/c we did not have time to get them all), 6 balloons, 4 cigarette lighters, 2 cigar tips, 10 plastic spoons, 1 plastic fork, 1 plastic knife, 1 stainless steel knife, 1 pairing knife that was suspiciously slid inside of an empty sharpie pen case, 5 tubes of chapstick, 11 plastic cup lids, 9 hair accessories, and the list goes on and on.

I brought this marvelous display of organized trash to the Cleaner Greener Committee and it was suggested to show it to the BOA.  So, I did.  I have to say that I did not have a lot of time to prepare b/c of daily life and work and other volunteer obligations, but I went anyway.  I also prepared a graph which I have attached here to show how much trash was picked up in each zone and how many days out of a possible 92 days that trash was collected per zone.   

I hope you find the graph and information interesting.  You may have to download the graph in order to view it.

WBSTP Listed on Santa Monica, CA Blog
Yes, you guys are getting to be famous now.  This is how the story goes....  If you have been reading the newsletter, you know Danielle and her "It Starts With Me Blog"   Well, through talking with her, I learned that she came across the idea when she saw Sara's Daily Ocean Blog.  Sara lives in CA and made a goal to document the trash that she collects on the beach in CA.  Please go to her blog to learn more  http://www.thedailyocean.blogspot.com/.   Danielle has become friends with Sara and mentioned our group to her.  Sara became a follower on the luminanews.com sea turtle news blog and mentioned us on her Santa Monica, CA blog.  It  really is amazing how people can be united for a common purpose.

To view Sara's comment on WBSTP scroll down to her entry on Sept. 3rd.

Saving Plastic Bottle Caps
Since saving the plastic bottle caps on the beach, I have had two requests for them.  One person is collecting them for recycled art projects and another person is collecting them to raise money for cancer awareness.

If you continue to pick up litter and would like to save your caps, please do.  I will be happy to collect them and redistribute for a good cause.

More to Come
Since Nancy is still out on the beach, I will have at least one more update on her total trash report.