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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Patcong Creek, Linwood, New Jersey, USA

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Patcong Creek, Linwood, New Jersey, USA
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Registered: July 2017
Posts: 1
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My hometown is considered a vacation spot for many people in nearby cities. They consider it to be an "escape to the shore," where they can leave all of their problems back in the city. Little do they know they create other problems: not for themselves, but for the environment. Litter on beaches is a growing issue in South Jersey, and seeing my hometown desecrated has prompted me to take action.
I have lived in Southern New Jersey all of my life. There is nothing I enjoy more than a day on the beach, where the warm summer sun kisses my skin as I float in the glistening ocean with my family and friends. The beach is where I can let all of my problems fly away with the gentle breeze of the summer air, and I can be in a true happy state. I used to never think too much about the water bottles and popsicle wrappers I dug up as I built my sand castle palace when I was little. But recently, the litter has become very apparent to me. Major litter appearances begin on Memorial Day weekend -- the weekend everyone takes advantage of to enjoy the first taste of summer. People crowd the beaches of Margate, Longport, and Ocean City and enjoy their day off from work. On Tuesday, though, everybody goes home and leaves their party trash behind. The ocean eats up the litter at high tide, and it escapes into the deep blue abyss.
Then, Wednesday morning I am greeted by red solo cups and beer bottles washed up around my family's dock. Nearby fishermen on boats and bridges also leave their mark on the back bays and tributaries. Living on the creek and by the ocean comes firsthand knowledge of how humanity affects our waterways and the creatures who inhabit them. When I kayak and paddleboard next to egrets and blue herons hunting for fish at mid-tide, the trash is revealed stuck in the mudflats and marsh grasses. Furious to see my local ecosystem damaged by carelessness, I did all in my power to help fix it.
I began to participate in local beach clean-ups, to pick up any trash I saw laying around our dock, and began to be more careful about my own trash blowing away. I contacted the local Utilities Authority about installing recycling containers at the bridge to go along with the regular trash cans. I partnered with a non-profit, environmental organization to install monofilament recycling containers at the boat ramps around my town. I saw Surfrider's Monofilament Recycling Program in the newspaper and thought it would be a great idea for my local bridges, so I coordinated three different locations in my town with my city for the recycling centers to be installed. With these recycling centers around, fishermen can safely dispose of their fishing lines without threatening the wetlands wildlife by our dock. By doing my part in keeping our beautiful waters clean, I feel a true difference is being made. If more people do their part and do things as little as cleaning up after themselves, the issue of litter on beaches can be diminished. As long the carelessness of people continues to be an issue, I will be right there spreading the word to stop it from hurting our environment. I will to continue to improve the environment wherever I end up in the future and do whatever it takes to keep waterways clean. Carry in, carry out - should be so simple, shouldn't it?
Date: August 8, 2017 Views: 583 File size: 14.8kb, 3319.8kb : 3872 x 2592
Hours Volunteered: 20
Volunteers: 7
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 17, 17-65
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