Each President’s Day for the past eight years, the Eco-School Network teams with Sea Turtles Forever for an epic Oregon Coast clean-up to remove micro-plastics from the beach. We need your support to make an even bigger impact this year.
This clean-up protects marine life and sea birds from potentially fatal plastics ingestion. Our clean-up takes place the weekend before the area is closed to humans, for nesting season of the snowy plover, a threatened species.
So how bad is it?
The clean-up area, just south of the Columbia River delta, at Fort Steven’s State Park, has the dubious distinction of the highest plastic density landfall on the Pacific coast. Ocean currents carry the plastic directly from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s hard to overstate the severity of the problem. To a casual observer from the public view points, the litter is not visible. It’s only when you get up close and personal with the sand, plants and driftwood that the problem is apparent; small plastics bits, the majority of which are smaller than a fingernail are everywhere. These microplastics extend as deep as 10” below ground. Each year, the wind and tide push the bits deeper into pristine habitat for all sorts of shore life that are the basis for the marine and eventually, human food chains. It's especially bad this year.
What happens after the clean-up?
After the clean-up, we weigh, sort, and properly dispose of the plastic, award certificates to the kids, and explore ways we can reduce plastic waste in our own lives. The biggest impacts take place after the clean-up itself. The visceral clean-up experience sticks in the minds and hearts of volunteers, and motivates many to take action in their homes, schools and communities. After last year's clean up, one eighth-grade student named Henry returned to school and launched a campaign to eliminate the thousands of plastic cafeteria utensils used each week at his school. He formed a student team (photo below), raised $1,000 for silverware, and educated his peers through a video he produced. He even helped convince the school district to start a silverware pilot for other schools. His video was shared with many other area schools in the Eco-School Network. Dozens of Eco-School Network parent leaders have launched new waste-reduction and programs in their schools after participating in the clean-up, and 16 Network schools switched to durable utensils last school year alone.
The Eco-School Network s a 501 (c) 3 non-profit that equips parents and students to lead their school communities toward sustainability. They launch and maintain greening projects in 89 schools. This year, 44,000 Oregon students in Network schools are reducing waste, engaging in climate activism, growing veggies, walking and biking to school, and caring for their schoolyard habitat.
Sea Turtles Forever is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit that researches the effects of marine plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean, and conducts research and monitoring of endangered sea turtles in Costa Rica. When it’s not raining, volunteers get to use large “static charge filtration” screens that Executive Director Marc Ward patented to separate microplastics from sand.
How can you help?
We welcome your support in two forms:
-Direct cash contributions (most helpful)!
-Volunteer with us on the day of the event - contact [email protected]
Photos and video footage will be shared with donors after the event, so you can see the difference you made!
Your investment will help us boost the impact and scale of this event, providing staff time to recruit and support more volunteers so they can remove even more plastic, provide quality materials, and set up procedures to make it easier in future years. We are shooting to beat our previous record of 528 pounds of plastic removed in a single, 4 hour clean up! Read about one of our past clean-ups here: https://www.dailyastorian.com/news/local/less-plastic-more-turtles/article_035a3743-a432-5e38-977c-e65d96bd59b2.html.
Learn more about the Eco-School Network
Here is an itemized list of my anticipated expenses for this project: