Shimada Friendship Park and other locations
9AM to Noon
Followed by a BBQ and celebration
By Juliana Gonzalez
As the big day approaches, I find myself thinking about the best way to inspire others to come out and lend the ocean a hand. It is easy for people like Beth Terry and me who think about marine debris all the time because it’s part of the work we do, but that’s not the case for most people.
However, if you really think about it, plastic is a problem that confronts all of us on a daily basis. I live on a busy street a few blocks from a local high school and find trash along my fence nearly every day from students who drop their snack wrappers on the sidewalk. Many of the students do not realize that trash blows from the sidewalk to storm drains and eventually to the Bay and ocean. Every piece of plastic trash that we allow to enter into the marine environment will stay there forever, leaching chemicals into the ocean waters or ending up as part of the meal of a sea creature.
What is obvious is the impact we can make during a shoreline cleanup. We reveal beauty. The Watershed Project returns every year to pick up and tally all trash that washes to shore at a magnificent site on the South Richmond shoreline– Shimada Friendship Park. This is a small park in Richmond that sits alongside the Bay Trail and spills into Point Isabel Regional Shoreline. It has a small sandy beach and a great marsh, which is habitat to thousands of birds, including the endangered California clapper rail.
During the cleanup event, we concentrate on all the trash and human-made objects we find, and carefully tally and sort them. But after we are done and take a moment to reflect, we see the site for all its beauty. We are able to concentrate on the birds and the plants that live there, and our eye is not distracted by unnatural objects sprinkled along the landscape. I am very much aware that every piece of trash we remove reveals the natural beauty that is hidden beneath.
Please join us at one of the multiple locations around the County and be part of the magical transformation that happens during Coastal Cleanup Day, when creeks and shorelines regain their natural beauty. And while you are at it, take a pledge to pick up trash every day to make the planet a more beautiful place for all.
To help you get started with your plastic-free diet we have invited nationally renowned activist Beth Terry who recently published her book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too (Skyhorse, 2012) about simple tips to become less dependent on plastic convenience items. She will be available to talk to the public about her experience leading a plastic-free life during the event.
Also, if you are a water lover and would like to join the flotsom flotilla, there are a few kayaks available for free for the first 10 volunteers to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are also welcome to bring your own kayaks and join the flotilla to pick up trash from those difficult to reach areas of the marsh.