Saturday, March 22, 2008

Beach Clean Up

Yesterday my daughter and I participated in a beach clean up with her Girl Scout Troop. Last month we also did a beach clean up with a volunteer group to which we belong. Both times we found an alarming amount of fishing line, balloons, and other debris that can harm sea creatures, especially sea turtles. Our area has one of the largest concentration of sea turtle nesting sites in this country. Our county has been proactive in preventing sea turtle deaths by keeping lights out on the beach which can confuse turtles - instinct drives nesting, egg-laden female turtles and lure newly-hatched baby turtles from their nests on beaches towards the brightest horizon, ideally the waterline, but the bright lights of street lamps, illuminated parking lots, and buildings can disorient them towards artificial light sources. However the large amount of garbage found on the beaches can also contribute to sea turtle deaths. Discarded fishing line can become entangled around animals, balloons and plastic bags floating on the oceans surface can be mistaken for jellyfish a staple of the turtles diet. While we regularly participate in organized beach clean ups, we also do our part whenever we go to the beach. While wandering the beach searching for shells, we take two bags - one for sea treasures we find and the other for trash. At the end of the day the treasures come home and the trash is disposed of properly.

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