Thousands Of Beach Sweeps Volunteers Clean NJ Beaches & Waterways

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The band Barenaked Ladies and volunteers in Atlantic City (Photo courtesy Clean Ocean Action)

The band Barenaked Ladies and volunteers in Atlantic City (Photo courtesy Clean Ocean Action)

STATE – On Saturday, Oct. 19, thousands of volunteers hit the beaches to participate in Clean Ocean Action’s (COA) 28th Annual Fall Beach Sweeps at over 60 sites along the Jersey Shore. Volunteers collected, tallied, and removed harmful and unsightly debris from New Jersey’s coastline, one year after Superstorm Sandy.

This year, Beach Sweeps has been folded into Clean Ocean Action’s Wave of Action For The Shore program, a monthly volunteer initiative started in December 2012 to help the people, businesses, habitats and waterways of New York and New Jersey affected by Superstorm Sandy.

“Clean Ocean Action is excited to continue to integrate Beach Sweeps into the Waves of Action program, a year-long initiative to recover and restore the NY/NJ coastline after the devastation of Sandy,” commented Catie Tobin, Clean Ocean Action Ocean Advocacy and Education Fellow. “With more than 1,700 volunteers pre-registered for Fall Beach Sweeps, it is evident that taking care of our shores a year after Sandy continues to be a priority,” she added.

Middle school student and Union Beach Captain Peter Donnelly shows the message in a bottle he found (Photo courtesy of Clean Ocean Action)

High school student and Union Beach Captain Peter Donnelly shows the message in a bottle he found (Photo courtesy of Clean Ocean Action)

“As we approach the one year anniversary of Sandy, COA’s volunteers continue to provide invaluable assistance to the recovery of the entire shore area, and Sea Bright in particular. We are very grateful for their support and look forward to continuing our longstanding, positive relationship,” stated Sea Bright Volunteer Coordinator Frank Lawrence.

The data collected today will be combined with data collected at Spring Beach Sweeps in April, and then analyzed and presented in an annual report. These annual reports identify pollution problems, educate citizens on the types and quantities of debris, aid legislators in passing and enforcing laws to protect the marine environment, and contribute to local and international efforts to combat marine pollution. The data from the Spring and Fall 2013 Beach Sweeps will be released next spring. Beach Sweeps Reports from previous years are available at www.cleanoceanaction.org.

Key to the program’s success are the volunteer Beach Captains that lead each of the Beach Sweeps locations. These dedicated volunteers coordinate and manage all of the volunteers the day of the event, answer questions from the volunteers about ocean pollution and serve as Clean Ocean Action representatives.

“We would like to thank all the people who care enough about our oceans and beaches to come out and help make Clean Ocean Action’s Fall Beach Sweeps such a success. Sandy may have set us back but thanks to the hard work of people from all over we are coming back. We would also like to thank Union Beach’s Public Works. Through everything they have had to deal with this year they still have time to help with supplies, tables and picking up the stuff that gets picked up on the beach,” said Middle School Student and Union Beach Captain Peter and Union Beach Captain Fran Donnelly.

“Over the last 20 years as the Sea Bright Public Beach Captain, it has been amazing to meet so many different people who have the same love of the ocean. It has been especially wonderful to see all the children from local schools growing up. My son has now taken over from me as Beach Captain, so we are in good hands,” said Sea Bright Public Beach Captains Mark and Cash Woldseth.

“I get a lot of support from the local girl scouts and their families, thanks to Erin and Nadine Foreman. I am so very grateful for them!” exclaimed Island Beach State Park Beach Captain Leah Savia.

The Fall Beach Sweeps were made possible by support from generous sponsors. The Statewide Sponsors for the 2013 Beach Sweeps are Aveda, Bank of America, Comcast, TD Bank, and ShopRite Wakefern.

“Aveda’s focus on environmental leadership and responsibility has led to years of collaboration with Clean Ocean Action to protect clean water. Our vision of connecting beauty, environment, and well-being is showcased through partnerships with local organizations like Clean Ocean Action. We look forward to continuing to defend life’s most precious natural resource – water,” stated Aveda Earth Fund Director Katie Galloway.

“Through Beach Sweeps, our teams of volunteers have assisted in cleaning-up trash and debris on New Jersey beaches, lakes, rivers and streams,” said Bob Doherty, New Jersey President, Bank of America. “Clean Ocean Action offers people a chance to improve their environment and be part of a global effort to drive positive change.”

“Comcast has been a proud supporter of Beach Sweeps since 2008 and hundreds of our employees have volunteered for the event as part of our Comcast Cares Day efforts. Clean Ocean Action does an amazing job of educating and engaging the public while building awareness of what it takes to keep our shoreline beautiful and our marine life healthy. We love the Jersey shore and everything Clean Ocean Action does to protect it,” remarked Comcast Director of Community Investment Kimberly Smith.

“Wakefern Food Corp./ShopRite is pleased with our 13+ year partnership with Clean Ocean Action. As an environmentally and community oriented business, ShopRite respects when an organization can bring about effective change by involving more and more community member volunteers each year,” explained Suzanne Forbes, Environmental Affairs Administrator, Corporate Communications, Wakefern Food Corporation. “Historically, and recently due to the devastation brought on by Superstorm Sandy, the Beach Sweeps event brings about the improvement of an important ecological habitat, and the creation of a greener generation,” Forbes added.

County Sponsors include Atlantic City Electric, BD, Brook 35 & West, Montecalvo Material Recovery Facility, The Grove, and United Teletech Financial. Site Sponsors include Adventure Aquarium – Ocean City 59th Street Pavilion, Baine Contracting – Brick Beach I, Brookdale Community College – Ideal Beach, Enterprise Rent A Car – Sandy Hook, Kohl’s – Sandy Hook, New Jersey Natural Gas – Belmar 1st Avenue, Paul V. Fernicola & Associates – Loch Arbour/Allenhurst, Surfrider Foundation/Jersey Shore Chapter – Asbury Park North Beach, Surfrider Foundation/South Jersey Chapter – In Memory of Tommy Kraemer – Avalon.

Beach Sweeps Highlights:

  • AmeriCorps volunteers at Asbury Park Convention Hall removed over 1,000 cigarette filters from the boardwalk.
  • At the Atlantic City Beach Sweep location, the band Barenaked Ladies pitched in alongside a group of their fans, followed by a short acoustic performance by the band for the volunteers. This is one of several of their service projects with the environmental non-profit REVERB along their national tour.
  • The combined 200 volunteers at Belmar 1st Avenue and 16th Avenue found a large amount of cigarette filters and small plastic pieces.
  • 40 volunteers in Loch Arbour found a plastic bugle, bikini top and a rubber snake.
  • Over 450 volunteers at Sandy Hook found a baby binky and a rat costume.
  • At Toney’s Brook in Glen Ridge, volunteers found plastic hot dog, Costco card, shopping cart, metal window frame, very old wood and metal wheel, plastic furniture cover with zipper, various baseballs, Nerf balls and a Frisbee, many tiny liquor bottles and cigar wrappers.
  • Over 50 volunteers in Union Beach, led by high school student Beach Captain Peter Donnelly, found a message in a bottle.

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