Marine debris is a problem that continues to grow. Our waterways and oceans are constantly polluted with a wide variety of marine debris ranging from polystyrene trays and plastic bags to derelict fishing equipment and abandoned boats.
Marine life, such as several Fish species, Whales, Sharks, Sea Turtles, and Birds have been known to ingest marine debris or become entangled in marine debris, which may lead to injury, intestinal blockage, and death. Marine debris is an Eastern North Carolina concern not only because of the threats to our native wildlife, our ecosystem and our own health, but it also washes up on beaches and shorelines degrading the environment, and effecting our local economy and tourism.
Local cooperation and regional partnership is needed to create public awareness while developing ways to decrease the amount of debris going into the waterways as well as cleaning up the debris found in our waterways and on our shores.
We hope that this Symposium will create local cooperation and regional partnership by providing a forum for the exchange of information on recent developments, program ideas, and best management practices for marine debris prevention, education, and removal.
Register here: 2016 Registration for the NCMDS in Wrightsville Beach, NC
Get ready for ONE awesome day of FUN for the entire family at the Tenth Annual Earth and Surf Fest on Saturday, July 9th in North Topsail Beach.
This rad waste-free eco awareness event showcases many of the splendors that there is to enjoy in our coastal community environment.
Things get kicked off at 7am with registration for the Fun, Sun, and 5K Run on the beach, a one mile fun run, and the On Shore Surf Shop surf contest.
A free beach yoga session is offered by Keep Onslow Beautiful Committee member and certified yoga instructor, Christina Lewis, at 10am. Bring a mat or towel and get ready to sweat and breathe in the sweet salty ocean air. Don’t forget your refillable/reusable water bottle. Refilling stations will be located at the event.
Live music begins in the morning and continues throughout the day. We will also have a live broadcast with fav local DJ, Vaughn, from the morning show at Modern Rock 98.7/.
Local musician, artist, and long time beach sweeper, Justina will get things started with an acoustic solo act at the bathhouse stage area. Headliners are local surf music jam rockers, Arise Awake who will get us through the mid day.
Later that afternoon, you get the chance to show your talents with a 2 hour open mic gig hosted by Wes Rider. Be sure to bring a guitar, drums, or whatever you need to showcase your talents. Open mic jam session begins at 3pm and there will be a sign up form available at the bathhouse stage area starting at 2:30pm.
A traditional beach cleanup will be held throughout the day with the crew at the Plastic Ocean Project. Prizes will be given, you can learn how to participate in a fun citizen science program, and you also have the chance to earn SAT credit hours (for high school volunteers).
This is a waste-free event so place make sure to carpool, bring your own reusable water bottle, and use the recycle and compost bins properly. Pack in and pack out any waste you bring that is not compostable or recyclable, please. There will be a healthy and waste-free food truck on site for all your munching needs throughout the day.
Healthy and eco friendly vendors and environmental education booths include: Keep Onslow Beautiful, Plastic Ocean Project, Spring Locker, White Oak New River Association, NC Coastal Federation, Onslow Co Museum, NC CMAST and NC Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, Arbonne, Your Bottle Means Jobs, Sonoco Recycling, Loggerhead Designs, Oceana, Going Green, Beauty Counter, On Shore Surf Shop,Forkful Food Truck, Sparkling ICE, and more…
Thank you so much to our sponsors: KIXX Outfitters, On Shore Surf Shop, Only in Onslow, Sonoco Recycling, Spring Locker, Sparkling ICE, Keep Onslow Beautiful, Onslow County Solid Waste Department, Onslow County Parks and Recreation, Nixon, Dragon, Loggerhead Designs, Hyperflex Wetsuits, …lost, Global Surf Industries, Savage Surfboards, Sanuk, Prolite, Go Pro, Clean Energy Events, and Sun Bum.
Be sure to check out http://www.earthandsurffest.com for registration, location with a map, and event info.
I learned early last year that Guyana would be banning styrofoam (polystyrene) containers starting in 2016 and was super stoked to hear the news, especially considering that I knew I would be traveling there as part of eXXpedition Amazon. http://exxpedition.com/amazon-2015/
Guyana’s Environmental Protection Agency spearheaded the ban and newly elected government officials have been supportive of the ban since their focus on improving both solid waste infrastructure and litter control in the country.
While staying in Guyana this past December, I noticed that the capital city, Georgetown, had noticeable improvements in disposal options and litter control compared to other areas of the country. After speaking with several locals in Georgetown and Bartica, I learned that the efforts had just begun within the last year and that within just 3 months, they had noticed a significant improvement in roadside litter in the Georgetown area. I also learned that efforts to expand infrastructure and grassroots cleanup programs to other areas of the country were in the works, but that it would take time.
While I was in Bartica, the local tradition of disposing of waste along the river bank was still common practice (see images below). The areas under piers and along the river looked like old school dumps and the amount of plastic being disposed of on the water’s edge was overwhelming. In other areas near Bartica (up river from Georgetown), the common practice of waste disposal included the open burning of trash, while in Georgetown there was noticeable trash collection services being provided and roadside cleanups taking place.
Bartica, Guyana December 2015
According to several sources in Georgetown, the new government that took office last year has a huge focus on community environment improvement and have taken steps to help local organizations cleanup and greenup Guyana. A cab driver that I spoke to in December went so far as to say that there would be a tax increase to improve infrastructure, but that it was well worth it to see the streets clean of debris and that the major improvements on solid waste collection and management would also cut down on disease and make the area more attractive for everyone.
The news on the ban is that as of April 1, 2016, the Styrofoam ban came into place and that the importation of these materials are now no longer allowed in Guyana. This is great news for Guyana being able to reduce the waste going into landfills since they do not have the means to recycle it and the ban will also help them focus on new recycle programs that are in the works there.
The country’s Ministry of Finance is also considering tax incentives for importers that bring in alternatives to polystyrene products, like compostable, recyclable, or reusable containers. This and efforts such as this could potentially help boost more sustainable companies and thus bring the cost of alternatives down on a global scale.
Guyana is setting an example that I hope others follow. Government officials in Guyana are aware of the problems with single-use plastics that do not biodegrade and they are doing something about it. With the news of the overwhelming global crisis of marine debris, Guyana is hearing the message and focusing on making improvements that their citizens can be proud of.
Pine Knoll Shores Aquarium
BEACH KEEPERS BEACH CLEAN-UP
FRIDAY MAY, 13
Help keep the Crystal Coast pristine on Friday, May 13 during a public Beach Keepers beach clean-up event. Spend the day removing marine debris from Shackleford Banks with Cape Lookout National Seashore, the Crystal Coast Tourism Authority, Island Express Ferries and the Aquarium. Advance registration is required and participants need to provide their own food, reusable water bottles, and other beach necessities. This free event begins at 7:30 a.m. in Beaufort and will last approximately seven hours, including transportation to and from Shackleford Banks. For those on Instagram, the event will also include an InstaMeet – an opportunity for Instagrammers to come together, share photos, and tell stories about the day.
Help keep the Crystal Coast pristine on Friday, May 13, in a public Beach Keepers clean-up on Shackleford Banks. Join us at 600 Front Street, Beaufort, and spend the day removing marine debris from Shackleford Banks. For those on Instagram, the event will also include an InstaMeet. This is a great project for families or groups with children and is appropriate for anyone ages 8 and up. Be prepared to get wet and dirty!
What to Bring:
Lunch and Reusable water bottle
Ages 8 and up, maximum 60 participants
This activity is free
Mark Your Calendars Paddlers (SUP, Kayak, Canoe)!
A Paddle Trash Fishing Tournament will be held Saturday, May 14th in a collaborative effort to keep our local waterways clean.
Calling all Paddle Boarders, Kayakers, and Canoers! The National Esturarine Research Reserve, Keep Onslow Beautful, Plastic Ocean Project, On Shore Surf Shop, and the local paddling community are gearing up for a Paddle Trash Fishing Tournament on Permuda Island during the Great American Cleanup and Coastal Cleanup this spring.
Paddlers will meet up at Onslow Beach Access #2 (2950 Island Drive, North Topsail Beach 28460) at 8:30am on Saturday, May 14th for a safety briefing and cleanup event review. We will paddle over at 9am to fish for trash on Permuda Island.
Boats will be on hand to remove debris and for safety. If you do not have a kayak or paddle board, On Shore Surf Shop will be offering huge discounts on rentals for this cleanup. Prizes will go to the most trash cleaned up and most unique find.
Don’t forget to bring your lifejacket, reusable/refillable water bottle, and a hat or sunscreen if you need it. We will provide a water refilling cooler, bags, gloves, and other materials needed for the cleanup.
For more information about this cleanup or how you can coordinate your own waterway or beach cleanup, please email KeepOnslowBeautiful@onslowcountync.gov or call 910.937.1442.
My sister, @nelizadrew (www.nelizadrew.wordpress.com) traveled here to the NC coast for a visit. We decided to go camping in Ocracoke for the weekend. Above is a short vid of our journey.
…more to come.
I was asked recently to give several presentations at local libraries about “Environmental Heroes”. This took some thought and consideration, because throughout my life I have had so many.
My first environmental hero is my dad, George Victor Smith. He taught me how to enjoy nature. I grew up with my beautiful sister, Drew, right along the ICW in Beaufort, NC. Days were filled with marsh mud up to my ankles (sometimes knees) and playing with periwinkles from the marsh grass or frogs from the ditch. We canoed, fished, learned to swim, and played with every creature we could find. My dad thought me that it’s okay to get muddy, explore, and really discover nature by getting my hands dirty.
When I was around 10 years old, and in the Girl Scouts, I learned about Rachel Carson and joined the NC Big Sweep beach cleanups as a volunteer. Rachel Carson is a well-known environmental hero and continues to inspire millions worldwide with the research she published in order to save coastal wildlife. I think what I learned most from her books and teachings is that no matter the struggle, everyone has a voice and to never give up on what you feel is right for the environment.
At around age 20 and during college, my environmental hero was my environmental biology professor, Dr. Gilbert Grant. A world-traveling environmental hero, who’s passion for birds and bats, taught me not only about the laws of ecology, but during some travels together I learned about ethnobotany, identifying plant species in the field, and also how documenting and recording data for publication plays a vital role in studying how our ecosystems are changing now and in the future and allows for others to share the same knowledge.
In my mid twenties, my environmental hero or heroes, I should say, were the very inspiring members of the Carolina Recycling Association, as mentioned during #WasteReductionWednesday s. These fine illustrious (as Tom Rhodes would say) colleagues inspired me to go full-tilt-boogy into the resource management world as a career and I have never looked back ever since. The knowledge gained by each member has shown me how not only to implement sustainable waste reduction programs in the community, but also to live the sustainable and waste free lifestyle – practicing what I teach.
In my early 30s, I had so many environmental heroes. Three of which stand out the most to me. My dear friend, Kristin Fountain, is a local environmental hero with strong coastal roots and has taught me to have no fear when it comes to protecting what you love (the marine environment). She left home during college to live in Cambodia for two years and volunteer for a Sea Horse Conservation program.
Kristin was very inspirational and quite possibly the single reason that I learned to scuba dive. Dr. Sylvia Earle, a well-known environmental hero, has also been a huge inspiration and has helped me, through her writings and documentaries, to find the words to teach others about how our fate and the ocean’s fate are one and the same.
Another hero of my mid thirties is Captain Charles Moore. He discovered the Pacific Garbage Patch by accident and he continues to study the area and educate others about it’s detrimental effects to us all. Someone who reminds me a lot of Captain Moore is my fav local environmental hero, Bonnie Monteleone of UNCW and the Plastic Ocean Project. She has been to every ocean gyre collecting plastic debris and studying things like chemical absorption and the effects plastics have on certain marine creatures. She also came up with one of the best ideas I have seen yet on how to teach folks about plastics in the ocean. She has a traveling art exhibit. Check it out here: www.plasticoceanproject.org
One of my most recent environmental heroes, past three years, is my dear friend Dr. Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia. She is a professor of environmental engineering and has studied solid waste infrastructure all over the world. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to how our impacts on land effect the quality of our oceans and has developed my fav app of all time, the #MarineDebrisTracker App. (free to download on your smart device). Check it out here: http://www.marinedebris.engr.uga.edu
I met Jenna while working to form the NC Marine Debris Symposium stakeholder group three years ago and she has been a key leader in our group ever since. I adore her not only for sharing her knowledge and inspiring me to learn more about plastics in the ocean, but also she, like all of my heroes, practices what she teaches and is a role model for all.
Most recently Jenna was part of the eXXpedition (http://exxpedition.com) Atlantic journeying at sea aboard a 72 foot sailing vessel studying plastics in the ocean and making her way with other women across the Atlantic for this research. She inspired me to submit an application to join the 2015 crew (eXXpedition Amazon). Now, officially part of the 2015 eXXpedition crew, I will be continuing her research and collecting samples and conducting studies both land-based and at sea for the month of Dec.
My most recent environmental heroes are Olivia (10) and Carter Ries (12) of One More Generation (http://onemoregeneration.org), a non-profit that they built because they see the need for youth involvement in shaping our future community environment around the world. Just like Rachel Carson, these young heroes are a voice for a generation to become inspired, take notice, and support. Their efforts are vast and impressive. From the preservation of our endangered wildlife and environmental conservation to youth empowerment and the list of projects and programs they are taking on keeps growing.
My husband, Wes Rider, is an environmental hero protecting the ocean with his pre-surf session beach cleanups. My sister, Drew, is a true waste reduction environmental hero and is a minimalist when it comes to consumer products. My friend, Beth Howard, and the art teacher at Dixon Elementary School is my hero for helping start up the school recycling program at her school and is a long-time volunteer at the local sea-turtle hospital.
My list of environmental heroes is always growing. It is important for all of us to seek out the inspiration of others. We are never so full of knowledge that we cannot learn from the experience of others, no matter their age, background, or where they live. We should all aspire to be environmental heroes if only just for the preservation of our own community environment, but to those that yearn to go above and beyond, I salute you today and everyday. You are all my environmental heroes. “…do your best, because we need you.” – Anonymous Interviewee during the documentary eXXpedition Atlantic
Blue skies and calm seas,
Here are some of my fav products made from ocean trash:
1. Method hand soap: Beyond the Bottle / Ocean Plastic
2. Bureo Skateboards: Skateboards made from discarded Fishing Nets
3. Adidas Shoes: (Newly announced) Adidas and Parley for the Oceans
* Wouldn’t it be super rad if they made the adidas outdoor climacool boat shoes out of marine debris? I adore mine!! They are THE perfect non-marking (a must on boats) vegan boat friendly shoes. Water actually pours right through them leaving you dry and did I mention they are beyond comfy and light? My all-around travel shoe and my must have for eXXpedition Amazon!
Here is what mine look like:
I love these innovations…. Let’s keep ’em coming.
Blue skies and calm seas,
Keep Onslow Beautiful and several sponsors are gathering to host the 9th Annual Earth & Surf Fest at North Topsail Beach July 4 rain or shine. The event aims to promote waste reduction, litter and marine debris prevention and a healthy lifestyle. This is an environmental awareness event.
Festivities begin with a 7 a.m. registration for the 5K beach run and surf contest. The 5K race on the beach will award prizes to the top overall male and female runners and the first and second place finishers in each age group. The course is an out-and-back course that is run completely on the beach. The start and finish of the race is on beach in front of Onslow Public Beach Public Access #2. Runners will head north about 1.5 miles before turning around and heading back south. T-shirts are available for runners and surfers registered for the event and some will also be available for purchase until supplies run out.
Surf and stand-up paddle boarding contests are being coordinated by On Shore Surf Shop and other sponsors. Registration is available online at http://www.earthandsurffest.com/-surf–sup-registration.html or at the store in Surf City.
Free stand-up paddle board demonstrations plus kayak and canoe demonstrations will be on the sound side and are coordinated by Surf City Paddle Club and the New River Foundation.
A beach yoga class will be at 10 am by Keep Onslow Beautiful committee member and registered yoga teacher, Christina Lewis
A beach cleanup for the entire section of North Topsail and Surf City beaches is also scheduled. A sign up tent (aqua blue/green tent that says “Keep Onslow Beautiful”) will be located at the event. Sign up, pick a location to clean up and venture out. Buckets, gloves, and other materials will be provided. SAT credit hours for high school students will be recorded. Don’t forget to bring forms!
Free live music from Trevor Harris and the Birds, and Pamlico Joe will be featured. WRMR 98.7 Modern Rock and DJ Christine Martinez will also be on-site for a live broadcast and giving out Modern Rock 98.7 coolers until supplies last (mid day).
This is a waste-free event. Everything will be either recyclable or compostable. Recycle and compost bins will be conveniently located. Guests are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles for use at refilling stations located throughout the festival. All activities will also be completely solar powered in keeping with the theme.
It’s all taking place at Beach Access #2, 2950 Island Drive in North Topsail Beach. Additional information is available at: Earth and Surf Fest
Make plans to enjoy the holiday at the Earth & Surf Fest.
Happy Birthday to the National Ocean Policy (NOP)
Learn more here: Healthy Oceans Coalition / NOP Background
Want to do more for our marine environment locally? Please consider volunteering for the Plastic Ocean Project, Keep Onslow Beautiful, Project AWARE, or a local Surfrider Foundation chapter and also be sure to register for and attend the North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium
Don’t have time to officially volunteer for an org, but still want to be an environmental hero – clean your beach whenever you are there, pick up debris in a parking lot on your way to and from your car, or simply donate to help fund vital programs that help preserve our marine ecosystem.
Blue skies and calm seas,