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The Alliance’s annual Adopt-a-Beach™ Spring Kickoff is off and running with volunteers in six states -- Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin -- clearing Great Lakes shorelines and monitoring water quality from April 1 through Memorial Day.
Adopters have already scheduled 320 events for the 2012 season, 190 of them during the Spring Kickoff.
Volunteers improve beaches by picking up trash and monitoring water quality. These citizen scientists then log their data into the regional Adopt-a-Beach™ online system, where information about the types and sources of beach litter is catalogued, tracked and accessible to the public. In 2011, participants removed 32,667 pounds of trash from Great Lakes shorelines and tributaries, translating to just over 4 pounds of trash per person.
Adopt-a-Beach™ -- now 10,000 strong -- has come a long way since its origins as a volunteer beach cleanup and monitoring program on Lake Michigan. The program now improves all five Great Lakes and is helping local communities in myriad ways. A few examples:
• Alliance Adopt-a-Beach™ volunteers are working with park districts in Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee to find ways to reduce bird populations on shorelines. Seagulls, geese and other birds often congregate along shorelines where beachgoers have left behind litter and food; the birds’ droppings foul beaches and can harm water quality.
• The Alliance has launched an effort to identify pollution sources and impairments in the hardest hit parts of the Great Lakes -- hot spots of beach closings and "Areas of Concern" targeted by the U.S. and Canada in light of water degradation from past pollution. In addition to clearing trash and sampling water quality, Adopt-a-Beach™ volunteers help identify sources of pollution and impairment to help bring about long-term improvement.
• Beach adopters who want to go the extra mile for their beaches are committing to extra training and beach visits. In Milwaukee, seven teams are enrolled in the Alliance’s Tier Two Adopt-a-Beach™ Program, committing to one or more beach visits a month for three months. They also commit to quality control training that helps ensure the accuracy of their data, which is shared with local and state beach authorities.
• Adopt-a-Beach™ enjoys strong business support, with many businesses providing financial sponsorship or forming employee-led Adopt-a-Beach™ teams. “Sustainability is very important at Johnson Controls, and this is one way that we, as employees, and our families can contribute,” says Todd Schaap from the Johnson Controls Information Technology Team in Holland, Mich.
Beach adoption is easy and open to everyone. Groups can e-mail the Alliance at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Alliance’s Adopt-a-Beach™ web pages at www.greatlakes.org/adoptabeach to find our more about the program.
See www.greatlakesadopt.org for information about public cleanup events scheduled around the Great Lakes. Contact the following state coordinators for information about Adopt-a-Beach™ in your state:
Illinois/Indiana: Katie Larson, email@example.com, 312-939-0838 x222Michigan/Minnesota: Jamie Cross, firstname.lastname@example.org, 616-850-0745 x12Southeast Michigan: Sam Lovall, email@example.com, 313-462-2323New York: Nate Drag, firstname.lastname@example.org, 716 261-9393Ohio: Hyle Lowry, email@example.com, 216-630-8140Wisconsin: Todd Brennan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 414-559-0317
See press release >
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