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September 11, 2007 > Cleaning up the shoreline

Cleaning up the shoreline

By Anuja Seith

When Tommy leaves his toys scattered about the living room and Mom or Dad arrive on the scene, they usually try to help him understand that the mess needs to be cleaned up. Others use the space too and finding his toys for future use may be a problem if they are unorganized. Although a bit reluctant to comply at first, as Tommy grows up and becomes "Tom," he realizes that it makes sense to leave things in an orderly fashion. His environment is healthier and life is made easier with a bit of preventive well-directed effort. Although some learn this lesson and aspire to preserve a modicum of order in their lives, even small indiscretions add up, creating a mess. The larger environment responds in the same way and just like a thorough home spring cleaning, time needs to be set aside to straighten up our collective mess. On Costal Cleanup Day we can make a difference and give Mother Nature some help. Since we collectively made the mess, it is only right that all of us pitch in to clean up after ourselves.

For 23 years, a volunteer event is held on the third Saturday of September, focused on marine environment in the country. Since its inception, 750,000 Californians have removed tons of trash from coasts and shoreline. This year, many cities, service groups and parks across the state are coming together to clean our mess. For example, the city of Fremont, Hayward Shoreline Interpretative Center and Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, are all organizing their volunteers and staff to pick up trash and recycling material. "We get a lot of trash from highways and so we will send people on different trails with plastic bags and gloves to pick up everything from cigarettes butts to needles and batteries," says Carmen Minch, Outdoor Recreation Planner at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

The Environmental Division of city of Fremont has been coordinating a coastal cleanup event for the past 10 years because garbage and recyclables from local creeks eventually flow into San Francisco Bay. East Bay Regional Park District has also joined in this effort with volunteers and staff across Alameda and Contra Costa counties. "It is a kind of an introduction for kids, who comprise of 65 percent of our volunteer to understand our impact on the environment," says Kathleen Fusek, Volunteer Coordinator at East Bay Regional Park District.

At most gatherings, snacks and drinks will be available for people who take time off for Coastal Cleanup Day. In addition, at Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge volunteers get a T-shirt and can participate in a raffle, while East Bay Regional Park District and Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center give "patches" to express their appreciation. This day is a highlight of California Coastal Commission's year round "Adopt-A-Beach" program, which encourages a group of people to adopt and clean a beach at least three times a year (school groups can fulfill this obligation with a single clean up). For all who enjoy the scenic beauty of our shorelines, rivers and lakes, this is a chance to show it.

Cleaning up the shoreline
Saturday, September 15

Hayward Shoreline Interpretive Center
9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
4901 Break Water Ave., Hayward
(510) 670-7270

East Bay Regional Park District
8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
(510) 544-2515

Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
1 Marshlands Road, Fremont
(510) 792-0222 ext. 38

City of Fremont
9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
(510) 494-4570

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