Saturday, September 17, 2011

International Coastal Cleanup Day at Milford Point

Today was International Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual ritual here along the Connecticut and New York coastline when dozens of volunteers fan out to pick up beach litter from some of our environment's most beautiful locations.

You may have heard about the continent-sized toxic stew of trash (twice the size of Texas)  that perennially floats between San Francisco and Hawaii. It's images like that which propel me to do my small part to clean up this planet.

Like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, probably 85% of the litter I found today was plastic, either soft plastic food wrappers or hard plastics like bottle caps, straws and many unknown objects. Along with that I found a shoe, a car tire, shotgun casings and a variety of unmentionables.

There was a disappointing turnout, but the three of us who did show up at Milford Point made up for our small number with determination. We trudged up and down the coastline with our bags of trash for nearly three hours and were rewarded with a glorious late summer day, bright sunshine and uplifting views of the coastline, marshes and estuaries.

  I love the warm, golden tones of beach grass in the sunlight.

This would be a great spot to explore in a kayak.

I was wondering if these purple martin houses were occupied earlier in the summer.

I would have liked to do some beach-combing right after Hurricane Irene. 
Perhaps there would have been some interesting seashell finds.

After picking up trash, I hung out at the Audubon Coastal Center, expecting to meet a new friend there for a get-together and picnic lunch. I spent some time chatting with an Audubon employee and her husband to pass the time. Then I lingered at the observation deck near the driveway that overlooks the marshes, taking snapshots. After about 45 minutes, I reluctantly left.

When I got home, there was a message from my friend. She had gotten a little lost, as I did, trying to find the sanctuary. I called her back, and she was still there at the center, wondering where I was. After we compared notes, it became apparent that we missed each other by about 5 minutes. Aarrgh.

It was such a beautiful day, and while I enjoyed my time there, I found myself thinking how much nicer it is to share that with another. Sharon, if you're reading this, let's try again! Hope you enjoyed the views!

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