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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Ocean view community beaches, Norfolk, Virginia, USA

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Ocean view community beaches, Norfolk, Virginia, USA
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Registered: December 2015
City/Town/Province: Norfolk
Posts: 1
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My name is Zachary and I am a senior at Mathew Maury High School in Norfolk, Virginia. During my four years at Maury, I have contributed over 600 documented hours of service to the greater community. My life-long goal is to become a physician and a world traveler in order to improve the lives of others. Until that day comes, I give blood, am active at school and in church, as well as serve as a volunteer soccer coach in the local recreation league.

Each year the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Clean the Bay Day recruits over 6,000 volunteers to collect over 100,000 pounds of harmful debris such as plastic bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers and cigarette buts from more than 6,500 miles of shoreline (Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s website). This past spring, I initiated a clean the beach project. The idea for this project came from my earliest memories on the beaches. My family has always loved going to the beach and for as long as I could remember. A family rule was that we had to remove at least one bag of trash before we could leave the beach. I work in coordination with the city's Department of Recreation, Parks and Open Space to keep Norfolk’s Bay clean through weekly cleanups on Saturday and Sunday morning. The City of Norfolk, Virginia has seven amazing miles of public beachfront that are open year round for public recreation. During the summer at the three lifeguard beaches (Sarah Constant Beach, Ocean View Beach, and Community Beach), many visitors do not appreciate the natural beauty of this area and as a result the beaches become significantly littered.

The result of this initiative came from me wanting to see if I could have a greater impact on the beaches I love. This initiative is not just about keeping the beaches clean, but raising awareness to the negative impacts on marine life as well as the local environment from litter such as plastics. From the opening of the beach season during the 2015 Memorial Day weekend, I began by collaboratively working with the city’s Department of Recreation, Parks and Open Space (RPOS), I was able to work with a number of my friends as well as my dad to perform weekend cleanups each Saturday, Sunday and the holiday Monday on Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day to pickup litter, which included paper, plastic, food and cigarette butts.

This project was well received by RPOS. RPOS is now looking at putting together a summer environmental project for teens to keep this initiative ongoing. Additionally, the support provided by RPOS was significant. They provided free trash bags and plastic gloves to support the effort.

The most important outcome of this initiative is that it created a better experience for people visiting the beach. The project also prevented plastics and other trash from entering the waterways. An average of ten bags of trash were collected each week for a total of 147 bags of litter collected and disposed of properly. This project may not have been the cleanest, but seeing a clean beach after a clean up was breath taking.
Date: December 31, 2015 Views: 5207 File size: 8.2kb, 1564.5kb : 3264 x 2448
Hours Volunteered: 60
Volunteers: 5
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17 & 18 to 51
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 2 miles of bay beachfront
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