• CACS launches annual cleanup effort on area beaches
By Randi Somers
Creating art and musical instruments from trash gathered from beaches, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies staff and volunteers kicked off their annual Coast Walk (clean up campaign) Thursday with fun, food and education at their headquarters on Smokey Bay Way.
The clean up effort is ongoing with individuals and groups stopping by the office Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.to pick up data cards to document their finds and observations of marinelife, wildlife and shoreline activity, contributing to the research as well as the cleaning of beaches. Of course picking up trash isn’t limited to CACS volunteers. Anyone who treasures planet Earth and her oceans is encouraged to pick up trash every time they take a walk. Earthlings are also urged not to clutter their planet with trash in the first place.
CACS Special Programs Coordinator Patrick Chandler who heads up the effort said that the some of the trash they are converting into treasures came from CACS and GoAK cleanup at Gore Point (on the far side of the Kenai Peninsula) and more from Prince William Sound’s Montague Island, donated to the cause by the Gulf of Alaska Keepers.
He said that Gulf of Alaska Keepers reports twice the usual debris and four times as much styrofoam was washed up on Gore Point’s beaches due to the March 2011 tsunami on the coast of Japan. “And there are some Japanese treasures being found,” he added.
Chandler said that they hold workshops in Peninsula schools to enhance awareness of the importance of not trashing and cleaning up debris. “It seems to be paying off,” he said. “Young people are developing a sensitivity to the issue.” In the long run, he hopes they will grow up to avoid trashing and will pick up trash wherever they encounter it.
CACS has conducted the Coastwalk cleanup for 28 years and is seeing results in both public education and healthier seas and beaches.
This year’s scheduled activities include “Washed Ashore Workshops” with Angela Haseltine-Pozzi Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m. on Clover Lane.
Then a Saturday, Clover Lane workshop is for teachers who want to have their students create marine debris art work in their classrooms.
Cleanups scheduled so far include McDonald Spit via water taxi Red Mountain Marine Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Participants are urged to bring lunch and sign up in advance.
Then Mud Bay is slated for cleaning Oct. 6 with participants meeting at the Homer Spit parking lot trailhead on Kachemak Drive.
The next day, Oct. 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. McKeon Spit will be the goal for cleanup with Mako’s Water Taxi taking the volunteers to that spit. Again, lunch and advance sign up are required.
CACS will be creating art from all non-toxic debris found during this year’s coastwaks and requests help to create huge marine debris sculptures.
Call 235 6667 or go to akcoastalstudies.org for more information.
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