On Saturday September 16th, a Coastal Beach Clean Up was being held in the Ventura Harbor at the Channel Island National Park Headquarters. This was the first beach clean up I have volunteered in, and I was pleased to see that there were so many volunteers. There were group members from REI, Girl Scouts, members from our class, etc. Once you were checked in you received a t-shirt, your glove, and a trash bag. After you’ve gathered everything you needed for the clean up, you headed to the quick safety orientation, then you were off to picking up the trash on the beach.
It was a beautiful day which made the experience even better. At first it was difficult finding a lot of trash. However, as we ended up more towards the dunes, we hit the jackpot. There were water bottles, styrofoam, plastic, and glass…A lot of glass. It was saddening to see so much of it because the beach is a place for everyone to have fun, and we shouldn’t have to worry about stepping on glass or seeing trash in general.
While we were all on the hunt for more trash, I was looking around at my surroundings and really taking it all in. I started to think about the actual functions of the beach as we have been learning so far in class. It was just an interesting perspective than the usual beach goer ideas I normally have. Just looking out at the water and really thinking about how the waves are breaking and noticing how they were constructive waves, building up the beach as they tend to do during the summer. There were a lot of surfers out too, something I have always wanted to learn. It was just really great seeing all the people out and seeing how much joy the beach brings everyone.
At the end of the day, around 12:00pm, everyone would bring in their trash and it would be weighed. There was a raffle for all participants, and whoever won would receive gifts from REI and the National Park Service gift shop. There was also another table that had snacks and drinks for everyone after the three hours of hunting for trash. It was really amazing to see just how much trash was found by everyone. There were a lot of garbage bags filled with it, and I remember seeing someone finding grill tops from barbecuers, tons of plastic water bottles, and more.
The overall experience was amazing. Seeing everyone come together to help keep our beaches safe and clean was a good feeling. The clean up was very successful, and I will definitely be participating in the ones to come.