Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 253

Tuesday evening it rained... ok... more like it poured.   So I wasn't surprised when I went to Wrightsville Beach Wednesday morning to find a lot of forgotten items.  Wednesday morning was the day of the shoes... and socks.  Ummm.... who wears socks to the beach????

Out of all the mornings that I've gone to the beach, Wednesday was the nicest.  The humidity finally lifted and there was a nice ocean breeze.  I know that I say it often, but I absolutely LOVE where I live.   I'm grateful that I can go to the beach on a whim.... stay for hours or just 20 minutes.  It's always time well spent.

July 16, 2014 at Access 24
Litter by weight: 3 lbs 1.2 oz
Cigarette butts: 12

Total cigarette butts removed: 58,169

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 252

Usually, I'm not a morning person.  I may wake up around 7 am, but I move slowly spending a good 2-hours sitting around sipping tea, playing word games and reading before I am ready to "start" my day.  But with my three kids out of town visiting family, I've been forcing myself to move in the morning so that I can go to a morning yoga class and do a beach cleanup!
Even though I only spend enough time at the beach to do my cleanup and then dip my toes in the ocean before heading off to yoga... I'm really enjoying this new routine.  It's making me feel energized and complete.  ... I suppose that I've really just missed being at the beach and the meditative state I get into while walking and cleaning up.  Plus I'm really glad I made it out this morning... there were a lot more littered cigarette butts than I've picked up in a LONG time.
Do you carry a reusable water bottle?  If you haven't made the switch from single-use bottled water, I highly recommend watching the documentary Tapped to learn about the health and environmental issues of bottled water. (and don't forget to share with friends)

July 15, 2014 at Access 18
Litter by weight: 1 lb 10 oz
Cigarette butts: 117

Total cigarette butts removed: 58,157

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 251

I started my day of (w)RIGHT(sville)!  Quick beach cleanup before I went to yoga!

July 12, 2014 at Access 36
Litter by weight: 6.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 25

Total amount of cigarette butts removed: 58,040

Friday, July 11, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 250

Before I went to yoga this morning, I decided to do a beach cleanup.  Being a Friday morning in the middle of summer, I imagined the beach being very busy and I started to get nervous.  Having been nearly a month since I was at the beach, the thought of a busy beach and picking up litter amongst groups of people started to make me feel a bit apprehensive and I almost changed my mind!  But, it's time to get back into my comfort-zone and there's only one way back!!! 
So I kicked off my flip flops, grabbed my bag and did my 250th beach cleanup at Access 17!  Oh, right and the beach wasn't busy at all.  But, there was definitely a lot of litter left on the beach.  Here's a list of the top 6 things I picked up this morning:

Cigarette butts: 55
Plastic caps: 15
Straws: 14
Fireworks: 13
Food wrappers: 12
Zip ties: 9

First thing's first, I'm.... getting sidetracked because when I saw this packet of "Fancy Ketchup" that Iggy Azalea song immediately popped into my head.  Well, that and "Seriously? What makes McDonald's ketchup so "fancy"?  It's ketchup. In a single-serving plastic pouch."  I don't get it.   

This cleanup marks the start of me using a new app called One+One.  I've only used it once, but so far so RAD!  I'm officially on the map as the first person on the East Coast to log data and I'm 3rd on the leaderboard!  Want to get the app?  It's free in the iTunes app store

July 11, 2014 at Access 17
Litter by weight: 14.5 oz
Cigarette butts: 55

Total cigarette butts removed: 58,015

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 249

Friday evening we volunteered once again for NC Audubon watching after the protected shore bird nesting area.  We've been fortunate during our volunteer time to not have any problems and get to spend our time watching the birds as they nest and take care of their babies.  Now that the dredging and beach renourishment equipment has been removed from the beach (woohoo!), we decided to walk from 44 to 43 to check the posting area and make sure no one was disturbing the protected area.  All was well and there was minimal litter to pick up.  Though we did find a plastic bag that was inside the protected nesting area, but thankfully it was just within reach!
 I've been reading a lot lately.  Mostly novels, but I recently picked up Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.  While not from that book, this quote from Edge of the Sea (1955) by Rachel Carson is one of my absolute favorites....

  "To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be." 

 June 13, 2014 at Access 44/43
Litter by weight: 10.4 oz
Cigarette butts: 3

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,960

Friday, June 6, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 248

A very very windy evening at Wrightsville Beach meant lots of fun for my kids!  

Besides having to be very careful and not let my bag blow open... it was an easy beach cleanup.  With the wind, most of the litter was found at the edge of the dune grasses.  AND for the first time EVER.... there were fewer cigarette butts than anything else!  I picked up 6 plastic food wrappers, 3 sandwich bags and only 2 cigarette butts!!

 June 3, 2014 at Access 39
Litter by weight: 1.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 2

Total amount of cigarette butts removed: 57,957

Friday, May 30, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 247

It's simple.  Whatever we do (or don't do) impacts the world we live in. 

We're volunteering with Audubon NC as Wrightsville Beach Bird Stewards!  It's a great reason to be at the beach and while we're there, I'm able to do a quick 20 minute beach clean up.  Watching the birds has given my kids a renewed perspective on helping cleanup the beach-- to protect the birds!  This week we got to see 2 oyster catcher chicks!

There are also lots and lots of Black Skimmers that are currently nesting on Wrightsville Beach.  I LOVE watching them skim along the surface of the water.  (ok, I also love just watching them sit on their nests).  Want to see more pictures of the nesting shorebirds at Wrightsville Beach?  Check out the WB Bird Stewards blog!

May 29, 2014 at Access 43/44
Litter by weight: 14.9 oz
Cigarette butts: 23

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,955

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 246

Memorial Day weekend is considered the official start of beach season.  It's also the start of what any of us who clean the beach would call the "trashing of the beach".  Beach goers come in droves for their moment at the beach... and they live in the experience... but somehow a sad majority forget to respect and protect this natural wonder that they rush to visit.  Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the beach on Memorial Day (I heard the horror stories of trash lined beaches)... but I did make it out to Wrightsville Beach on Saturday evening to do a beach clean up with Bonnie Monteleone and her daughter Tricia (not pictured).

Bonnie is a good friend and a local environmental hero of mine.  Her nonprofit-- Plastic Ocean Project-- educates through field research, implements progressive outreach initiatives and is currently working on 5 solutions to address the global plastic pollution problem.  Plus she created an eye-openning art exhibit entitled "What Goes Around, Comes Around" that will be traveling across the US this summer and throughout the rest of 2014 (and hopefully beyond).  

AND... yes, there's more... for  Jack Johnson's All At Once campaign during his recent tour (happening now!), Plastic Ocean Project was chosen to be a partner to receive direct and matching donations from the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation!  Any donations made now through September 1, 2014... Jack Johnson will MATCH (doesn't matter if the donation is $1 or $100)!  

Learn more about Plastic Ocean Project (POP) and how to donate here.
Are you ready for the run down of what Bonnie and I picked up during Saturday's beach cleanup?  Here we go... from most to least items found!
Cigarette butts: 44 (this is a fantastic improvement!)
Food Wrappers: 28
Straws: 14
Toys: 10
Misc. plastics: 8
Caps: 3
Boogie boards/broken leash: 3
Zip ties: 3 (these are from the beach renourishment project)
Cups: 2
Clothing/eyeware: 2
Plasticware: 1

See the common problem?  ... PLASTIC.  Plastic. plastic....  
May 24, 2014 at Access 36
Litter by weight: 1 lb 7.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 44

Total amount of cigarette butts removed: 57,932

Friday, May 23, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 245

This year, my kids and I are volunteering for NC Audubon at the far southend of Wrightsville Beach. So whenever we can, we'll be spending our time helping educate beach goers about the nesting birds and why it's so important to not disturb their nesting area.  Since the beach isn't too busy (yet), it's been a great opportunity to get myself acquainted with the nesting birds... like these Black Skimmers. (seen through a scope).
So far, we've only volunteered a few times.... but I'm loving connecting with and learning more about one of the reasons "why" we do beach cleanups.  Wrightsville Beach is these birds' home.  They start a family here... let's keep it clean

While we were watching the Black Skimmers, we witnessed what's called a "mob".  When disturbed-- by people, dogs, or even an Osprey flying by-- all of the birds, including those nesting, fly in a mob to scare off the threat.  The birds are willing to sacrifice their nest for the good of the flock.  So, if you're heading to accesses 43/44 at Wrightsville Beach... please pay attention to the postings that protect the shore bird nesting area.  Also, it's worth noting that there is no cut-through to Access 44 from 43.  44 can only be accessed from the Jack Parker parking lot.

May 22, 2014 at Access 44
Litter by weight: 10.7 oz 
Cigarette butts: 10

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,888

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 244

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
~Lao Tzu 

Friday evening marked the beginning of our evenings at the beach AND my kids took their first dip in the ocean of 2014!  The beach renourishment is still running full force at Wrightsville Beach, but will hopefully be finished by the end of the month.  My 20 minute beach cleanup was super easy as the access 39 was SO clean.  Thanks to the WB smoke-free beach ordinance, I only picked up FIVE littered cigarette butts! 
May 16, 2014 at Access 39
Litter by weight: 2.4 oz
Cigarette butts: 5

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,878

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 243

"A common misconception about people who are passionate about their values is that they expect everyone to live like them. In actuality, many of the most passionate driven people I know, are also some of the most open minded." 
 ~Alex Eaves, STAY VOCAL
Leave the criticisms and judgements behind.  Be an encourager.

May 9, 2014 at Access 43/44
Litter by weight: 1 lb 10 oz
Cigarette butts: 19

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,873

Friday, May 2, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 242

"Establishing goals is all right if you don't let them deprive you of interesting detours." 
~Doug Larson

I've been taking a lot of detours lately and letting this blog sit... I'll be here full force once I find my way back.... 
May 2, 2014 at Access 44
Litter by weight: 3.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 6

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,854

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 241

It has been almost exactly a month since I did my last beach clean up.  The cause?  My family and I went on a nearly 3 week camping/roadtrip throughout southwest US!  It was really really amazing... awe inspiring.  But, only having been home since Sunday... I've been taking my time and comfortably easing back into our every day routine.  Slowly but surely, I'll get back to doing more consistent beach cleanups!

Now a lot has changed since we were last at Wrightsville Beach back in March.  Today, when we walked up to Access 43, we could see dredging equipment stationed off the beach and orange plastic fencing in sections that's usually roped off for nesting shore birds. (sigh)  And from reading the Lumina News, it seems like Wrightsville Beach is going to have all the equipment for this renourishment project until the end of May!!!
While we were at the beach, I just couldn't stop thinking about the sea turtles that nest at WB.  How are they supposed to get over that huge pipe and lay their eggs??  I really don't see it happening.  I then started thinking about the nesting shore birds.  My kids and I love coming to the south end of WB during shore bird nesting season to see a greater than normal amount of birds soaring above us and listening to the sounds they make as they come together like a symphony.  I wonder how the birds will be impacted by the dredging activity right next to their nesting area?

Now, I don't know much about the renourishment process... yes, WB wasn't looking good on the sand front.... but it seems like this just isn't the right time of year for this all to be happening.  I'd like to make a suggestion that if you're concerned about the timing of this project, to take a moment and write a personal letter to the Army Corps of Engineers.  Your letter may not impact this particular renourishment project, but it could help in better planning for future projects.

Direct thoughtful, positive and polite letters to:
Colonel Steven A. Baker
Wilmington District
US Army Corps of Engineers 
69 Darlington Ave
Wilmington, NC 28403

20 minutes on April 24, 2014 at Access 43
Litter by weight: 1 lb 1.8 oz
Cigarette butts: 11

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,848

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 240

For 2 months, I had planned to do a beach cleanup on March 25 while my kids had their science class at Airlie Gardens.  So when I woke up that Tuesday morning, you can imagine my disappointment when it was overcast and raining.  Thankfully, by the time my kids had their class, the rain let up and I was able to do my planned 20 minute beach cleanup! (AND no time more because as my timer went off... the rain began to fall again!)
As usual when it's an overcast rainy day, the lone people are just me on the sand and a few surfers in the water.  It makes cleaning the beach SO much easier not having to weave through people and their possessions.  That being said, I still pause at things like water bottles.  With surfers in the ocean, it's possible that a seemingly left-behind bottle of water could still have an owner.  But, I always err on the side of "reality"and pick it up.
20 minutes on March 25, 2014 at Access 19
Litter by weight: 15.2 oz
Cigarette butts: 42

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,837

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 239

This afternoon, as my kids and I were talking, I mentioned that it was World Water Day.  My kids looked at me like they were waiting for me to say something more.... so, I finished with: "All life is dependent upon water.  Water IS life.  If there's anything worth celebrating, it is definitely Water."
Normally on World Water Day, I'd wax poetic about how awesome water is... no doubt it IS magic.  And the magic of water extends beyond its sustaining all life.  In some cases, water makes life more livable.  does that even make sense?  I guess, to me, it does because I'm thinking about my friends who run the non-profit Ocean Cure.  Ocean Cure utilizes the ocean by doing charity surf camps for medically fragile youth and adults because they believe in the powerful emotional and healing properties of the ocean.  It's true.

Water sustains us, but it also helps heal us.

Ocean Cure is currently in need of funding to purchase four WAVEJET battery powered surfboard systems to broaden the work they do with Life Rolls On/They Will Surf Again, Wounded Warriors, Little Pink Houses of Hope and many other medically fragile adults and children.

Learn more here:  Go Fund Ocean Cure

20 minutes on March 22, 2014 at Access 36
Litter by weight: 1 lb 1.3 oz
Cigarette butts: 40

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,795

Oh, and if you're curious about what Access 36 looked like back on March 22, 2011: Our Daily Ocean: Day 52

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Our Daily Ocean: Day 238

On Tuesday, I went to Wrightsville Beach in the middle of the day and was shocked to find it completely packed (for a winter weekday).  Of course, my first thought was "doesn't anyone work in this town?"  And then it hit me... spring break for ECU, UNC and App State (and who knows what other NC universities!?).

 So, I learned a valuable lesson.  When living in a beach town, it is important to know when universities are on spring break... or just be shocked when there's no parking and the beach is packed in the middle of the week in winter!
Now, even though the beach was packed, I didn't see (or smell) anyone smoking! YAY! ... and there wasn't much litter to pick up!  In fact, even though we did our best to weave through the people sprawled out on the sand, we only picked up 5 cigarette butts!!

Clean Beach and Clear Waters: Wrightsville Beach from Wilmington and Beaches CVB on Vimeo.

... yup, first smoke-free beach in North Carolina.  And, we're STILL excited about it!
20 minutes on March 11, 2014 at Access 28
Litter by weight: 2 lbs 9.1 oz
Cigarette butts: 5

Total cigarette butts removed: 57,760