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Save the Bay seeks beach cleanup leaders – great volunteer effort to do with kids

By Save the Bay

SAVE THE BAY IS SEEKING ASSISTANCE FROM RESIDENTS across Rhode Island as it resumes its annual role as organizer of the state’s participation in the International Coastal Cleanup effort this fall.

On Saturday, August 17, Save The Bay will hold a Community Cleanup Leader Training, from 2-4 p.m., at 100 Save The Bay Drive in Providence, for volunteers seeking to clean up litter at a variety of shorelines sites—from beaches and fishing areas, to boat launches and rights-of-way—with a particular need for volunteers willing to tackle small and often overlooked locations.

Teens 12-17 can be cleanup leaders as long as they have an adult co-leader.

“A small group of neighbors, family members or friends can make a big impact at even the tiniest sites,” said Save The Bay Volunteer and Internship Manager July Lewis. “For this year’s International Coastal Cleanup efforts, our greatest need is for those volunteers who are willing to gather even just a few people together to lead cleanups in small neighborhood areas.”

The upcoming leader training will present information about how to identify and organize a cleanup, proper safety protocols, and instruction for documenting and weighing collected trash for later inclusion in the official International Coastal Cleanup report.


“Leading a cleanup is one of the best things you can do to fight trash on our beaches,” said Lewis. “It’s also easy, requires no previous experience, and is often an inspiring experience.”

“Volunteering with Save The Bay is so rewarding,” said volunteer cleanup leader and Save The Bay intern, Dylan Booth. “When you are helping with a beach cleanup, you really feel like you are making a difference and changing the world one step at a time.”
The International Coastal Cleanup, organized globally by the Washington, D.C.-based Ocean Conservancy, and locally by Save The Bay, will take place this year on September 21, with additional cleanups in the weeks that follow.

The event mobilizes 700,000 volunteers to remove coastal debris from around the world every year. Volunteers record the amount, type, and location of trash removed from shorelines, and the results are published in a global report that includes a state- and country-specific Ocean Trash Index. This data-rich report is a crucial reference for policymakers and environmental advocates around the world.


Last year in Rhode Island, 2,293 community members participated in 98 cleanups in 23 towns as part of the state’s International Coastal Cleanup efforts. The volunteers removed 13,389 pounds of trash and debris from along 88 miles of the state’s coastline.

Unsurprisingly, the most commonly collected trash items included cigarette butts and plastic items—such as bottles, bags, and straws—which threaten the health of marine animals that mistake these items for food. Plastics, which are continually deposited in oceans and waterways, are of particular concern because they also break down into tiny pieces of microplastics that are ingested by marine life

“Community volunteers play a pivotal role in preserving shorelines for recreation and the health of our oceans. We’re always looking for more people to join the cleanup effort,” said Lewis.

Those interested in attending the August 17 training can sign up online at http://bit.ly/31j2b5S. Individuals interested in participating in an ICC cleanup can explore all opportunities and register at http://bit.ly/2yNi0Fz. Questions should be directed to July Lewis at jlewis@savebay.org.

Rhode Island’s 2019 International Coastal Cleanup is supported by local businesses and corporations offering financial support and volunteer teams, including: the Sage Family Foundation, Navigant Credit Union, REI, F.L. Putnam Investment Management Company, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Absolut, Roger Williams University, Joseph and Elizabeth Brito, Roy Carpenter’s Beach, Citizens Bank, and Amica Insurance. For more information about the International Coastal Cleanup, visit savebay.org/icc.

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