Refuge Volunteers in Action
Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge Sponsors
International Coastal Cleanup Day Event, September 17, 2011
The Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge (HSNWR) beach is much cleaner due to the efforts of volunteers who participated in the International Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 17th. This family-friendly event attracted all ages to collect marine debris from an approximately 2.5 mile stretch of the HSNWR beach at the tip of Jupiter Island. The crew worked from 8 a.m. 12 noon and enjoyed a beautiful morning while making a positive difference for the environment.
Every year, countless marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, and other animals are sickened, injured, or killed because of dangerous items we allow into the sea. They are poisoned, choked, or entangled in the trash we leave behind, from leaky paint cans to empty yogurt cups to cast-off fishing line. Trash also poses health threats to humans, contaminates marine environments, and clogs boat propellers.
Items collected included plastic bottles and caps, cigarette butts, fishing line, and some larger items such as plastic tubing and large pieces of wood boxes. The HSNWR arranged for a large dumpster to be on hand to deposit the garbage. HSNWR Manager Bill Miller was thrilled with the efforts of the volunteers.
"Participating in these types of cleanup events reminds us of our close connection with the environment. "Every single person who participated made a huge difference in the health of the marine system that is so critical to our life here in south Florida," said Miller. One of the volunteers observed that there were a lot of children participating in the cleanup." Miller said, Environmental stewardship is something that is learned; the earlier the better.
Other volunteers came from Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge to lend a hand, as well as local community individuals interested in improving the beach, and families from as far as Lake Worth, and a teacher from Ft. Lauderdale. The HSNWR hopes to expand the event next year, attracting more participants and collecting information on the items gathered to report to the Ocean Conservancy as part of their on-going data collection efforts.
--by Deborah L. Drum, Volunteer, Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge