every year , under the society's leadership, thousands of volunteers clean hundreds of miles of shoreline along new york state's beaches. here's how we do it.
Every year tens of thousands of volunteers remove and collect data on tons of debris from hundreds of miles of shorelines across New York State as part of our annual NY State Beach Cleanup. The Society's Northeast Chapter has led the NY State Beach Cleanup (as part of the International Coastal Cleanup) every September since 1985, from its grassroots beginnings with 100 volunteers at four sites in NYC. We now support beach cleanups across New York State, from the lakes in upstate New York to the Hudson River shorelines and from the beaches of Long Island to the NYC Metro region. Many engaged citizens have made this effort a success: from local schools and churches, boating groups, environmental organizations, Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups, veteran organizations, civic associations and families.
We cannot do it without you.
Consider becoming a beach captain or volunteer! Here are some reasons why:
Removal of marine debris and prevention of future accumulations is vitally important to the coastal environment and to humans. Making up approximately ¾ of all marine debris, plastics persist in the environment for many years and is especially harmful to wildlife. Ingested plastics can cause internal injury and starvation. Thousands of birds and marine animals die each year from entanglement in monofilament fishing line, strapping bands, and 6-pack ring holders. Marine debris can cause injury to beachgoers and pose a navigation hazard to boaters. Pollution from marine debris also compromises the productivity of wetlands which act as nurseries for commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish. Marine debris compresses and kills the salt marsh grass which supports the estuary’s food chain, filters pollution, and protects the coast from wave damage.
Why New York State Beach Cleanup is different than other cleanups:
While the activities on the day of the cleanup are important and receive much positive publicity, the compilation, analysis and dissemination of the data collected have an even greater impact. This cleanup is unique in that volunteers fill out data cards about what they remove. This data is summarized for individual sites and all data cards are sent to The Ocean Conservancy for analysis. The resultant studies produce strategies to combat marine pollution and help inform policy makers, the media and the public about solutions to the problem. Data from our NY State Beach Cleanup was instrumental in garnering support for the Bigger Better Bottle Bill.
The American Littoral Society’s role is to lead, organize and fund the NY State Beach Cleanup. We help identify sites for cleanup, recruit and provide guidance to beach captains and volunteers across New York State, provide training about how data should be recorded and reported, procure and distribute supplies and Certificates of Appreciation, staff a hotline for volunteers and manage publicity. We develop partnerships with public and private groups and have successfully engaged public officials, corporate volunteer programs, environmental organizations and diverse community groups.
The impact of this program includes not only cleaner beaches, but increased awareness and positive changes in buying habits and recycling efforts. A well-organized beach cleanup is a prime activity for learning about the marine environment – its value to people and wildlife, threats to its productivity and the actions that people can take to improve it. Participating in a beach cleanup helps children and adults see that the choices they make directly impact the environment.
The International Coastal Cleanup is a global volunteer effort to help clean up our marine environments. Anyone can participate and it is a great way to give back and spend time outdoors on your favorite beach. No other program in New York does more to improve both the coastal environment and the human behavior that impacts it. Our goal is to increase participation in this program and our collective ability to positively impact the shorelines and waterways of New York. Please consider joining a cleanup at a location near you or become a beach captain and organize a new cleanup in your own community!
You can learn about this year's cleanup at our dedicated beach cleanup website,www.NYSBeachcleanup.org or by contacting Natalie Grant, NY State Beach Cleanup Coordinator at NYSBC@littoralsociety.org.
Become a sponsor:
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of our next New York State Beach Cleanup, please contact Elizabeth Stoehr at Elizabeth@littoralsociety.org.