The NC Marine Debris Symposium crew is offering up a limited number of scholarships this year to cover registrations costs for currently enrolled college students. Scholarship applications are available upon request from now until the end of July. Submit your request today! 2016 NC Marine Debris Symposium
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.
Queen’s Creek Elementary School, located in Swansboro, NC, is once again being recognized as an NC Green School of Excellence and we can congratulate them by helping them fund their next project that will expand their environmental efforts, provide an even brighter future for their students both now and in the future, and provide an opportunity for other schools in NC to learn how to follow in their footsteps.
The school is currently collecting donations to support their NC GreenPower Solar School Pilot Program. Students and staff are grateful for the support from NC GreenPower and SECU who recently invested 2/3 of the funding needed for the project. NC Green Power is located in Raleigh, NC and is 501 (c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to improve the quality of our state’s environment by connecting consumers with green energy and carbon offset providers. Since the program started in 2003, NC GreenPower supported have provided more than 450 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy right here in NC and have mitigated nearly 14,500 metric tonnes of greenhouse gases through carbon offset projects.
Please join Coastinista in donating to the Queen’s Creek Elementary Solar Project (link below). Not only will this help reduce energy use, but more importantly, this program provides teacher training to incorporate this program into their lessons while connecting with the NC Standard Course of Study and allowing for other schools in the area to learn as well during potential teacher workshops and student inquiry programs. “Additionally, having experience with solar energy at a young age allows our students to develop the mindsets needed for a more sustainable world in the future.” – Cathy Dalimante, School Assistant Principal
Queen’s Creek Elementary is already one of Onslow’s top recycling schools and has developed further programs to not only reduce waste, but make sure that more is being captured for recycling programs that address nontraditional materials for recycling through a program called TerraCycle. Several grade levels at QCE attend tours of the local landfill and recycle centers to further their student’s education and awareness of proper waste disposal, waste reduction, recycling, and the environmental impacts of marine debris. They also promote the Ocean Friendly Establishments program to area businesses through student and teacher letters that provide detailed information on how we all benefit from a clean community environment.
East Carteret High School’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science Class will be presenting tomorrow on the Marine Debris work they’ve been doing with the Duke Marine Lab this semester.
During the past year, the class has toured the Duke Marine Lab drone facility and received hands-on experience in the operation of “autonomous fixed wing and multicopter” platforms in use for supporting marine science studies and research.
The AP class also had the opportunity to analyze large files of aerial multi-spectral, high-resolution images, and orthomosaics with a focus on marine debris. This opportunity offers valuable skills and experience that also engages them in improving our community environment.
The class also traveled to Carrot Island in Beaufort, also known as the Rachel Carson Reserve, which is a National Estuarine Research Reserve right across Taylor’s Creek from Front Street, to “ground-truth” the data they had analyzed.
To close-the-loop on the work they had been doing at the drone facility, and tracking marine debris from the air, the class visited the same site this past Monday to remove the marine debris that they had analyzed; eight students collected over ten bags of debris in about an hour. Materials were separated to make sure recyclables were captured. Since this island is not inhabited, it is clear that the debris is both washing up and also littered by reserve visitors.
The presentation, tomorrow at ECHS, will be the culmination of this marine debris research using drones. Marine Debris specialists, researchers, removal coordinators, and stakeholders will be present to learn from the students and offer insight on how we move forward to collaborate and continue the effort to study, remove, and reduce marine debris here in North Carolina.
More to come…
Plans for the 2016 NCMDS are well underway at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach, NC.
Find out all the details, updates, get a copy of the draft agenda, and get your registration in here:
For more information about the NCMDS, contact RidTheSeaOfMarineDebris@gmail.com
See you in September,
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.
Thank you so much to the awesome group of people who have generously contributed to my eXXpedition research fund so far:
Vic, Barbara, and Luna Smith, Carolina Recycling Association, Sonoco Recycling, Wes Rider, Amber Parker, Starr Watson, Jim Ries and One More Generation, Keary Cunningham and Drew Smith and Neptune and Nutmeg Candles, Bonnie Monteleone and Plastic Ocean Project, Benjamin LeRoy, Laura Curtis, Ginger Taylor. Buff products, Lululemon of North Hills Raleigh, Wilmington Yoga Center, Rebecca Rider-Yopp, Amy Poe,
Rocco Possemato, Mike Dunn, Beth Montgomery, and Molly Matlock!
I am so grateful for your support and cannot wait to share the journey and outcome from this project!
When I started asking for support for this research trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what to say. I was not even sure I was going to start a funding site, but was encouraged to do so. This project hits really close to home since marine debris, plastic pollution prevention, and resource management is something that has shaped my life and career path. It is not easy to ask for money, even to fund a project like this one and especially from friends. For me, it is mostly due to fear of being let down by those I am closest to. This feeling comes only natural and if you ask anyone who has started or been involved in a non-profit or research project, chances are they will tell you the same. I have to remind myself that there are so many worthwhile projects out there and not everyone is as passionate about the ocean and the environment as I am.
When I was asked to join the crew for eXXpedition Amazon, I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was (am). A feeling of overwhelming inspiration and gratitude just consumed me. I feel like all the roads in my life have lead me here and to what I am doing now, not just eXXpedition of course, but almost everything that is going on in my life right now is happening because of where I grew up, the volunteer work I did throughout the years, the knowledge I have gained in my job for over 11 years, the many side projects, connections and collaborations along the way, and volunteer hours spent supporting other groups over many years. It is mostly the people I met along the way that inspired me to do more and delve deeper, quite literally deeper since my recent underwater obsession with scuba diving.
I’ve had a couple of people recently ask me if eXXpedition is part of my job. It is not part of my position in local government, but it is part of my duty as the person that I am. We don’t always get paid for what we are supposed to be doing in our lives and sometimes it takes money and resources to make it happen. With that said, I feel like I will be paid for the work on eXXpedition in the same way I was paid for volunteering and cleaning up beaches for NC Big Sweep and the Ocean Conservancy for over 25 years. Payment comes in the feeling you get when you are doing something you feel is necessary for your heart and soul (and for me, the planet), something not completely selfless, but not entirely selfish either.
Volunteering to make the world a better place most certainly counts as work. No matter if you are feeding hungry children, picking up trash on the beach, or giving care to orphaned wildlife, it’s feel good work, but still work. I find that the volunteer work I do with regards to marine debris is not only time consuming and physical work, but also it’s extremely emotional. Like many of you, I grew up on the water. I’ve lived on the coast my entire life and it hurts me to see what is happening to our marine ecosystems.
For this volunteer research eXXpedition, I will be taking almost an entire month of leave time from my job with local government (all approved and encouraged). Working over 11 years in a job that offers me vacation leave has afforded me the time off and by doing the eXXpedition project in December, it has also helped me avoid any important meetings, grant deadlines, and job related projects. While others are on vacation, spending time with family, and shopping for the holidays, I will be at sea collecting plastics. This all basically adds up to 32 days gone, 20 days I am taking off work (plus holidays and weekends), and that comes to 160 hrs of vacation time used (don’t gasp, I’ve been in the same job for over 11 years – I have a lot of leave time on the books).
The airline travel cost is exactly $1,056.00, which includes flights from Raleigh to Recife and in order to get a super discounted rate, I will be traveling for two days and taking four flights to get there. The total airfare costs also include a flight from Guyana to Trinidad and then Trinidad back to Raleigh via a connection in New Jersey – again, cheap flights sometimes mean strange and a few connecting flights with long, at times, layovers. Other expenses include my visa for Brazil, which including processing fees came to $250.00. My room and board before we set sail and after I get back off the boat comes to approximately $600, which includes hotel/hostel stays for 8 nights while in Brazil and Guyana, food, and transportation to solid waste facilities where I will be studying infrastructure, doing waste-audits, and meeting with officials and local groups. At sea, I have costs related to sail, vessel, and equipment maintenance, insurance, research station supplies and scientific equipment, port services and fees, professional crew, fuel, food, and communication expenses totaling $6,148.61 for the 20+ days at sea. This amount also includes other research related expenses as part of the full eXXpedition program. This makes a grand total (not including gear) of $8,054.61. UPDATED 9-20-15 – I have raised $4,700 in donations and $1,000 worth of travel gear sponsors so far, which is a great start and although I will be paid up by the end of August, I will still plug away for donations until I leave or until I reach my goal.
Some might ask, why? Why take that much time off work to do work that you’re not getting paid for and why spend that much money to study solid waste issues and plastics in the ocean? The reasons are very obvious to me, but let me share why they might be of interest to you.
Litter and pollution, marine debris, and improper disposal are the material manifestation of consumer behaviors worldwide and are not just an environmental issue. We don’t see the end result of failing to dispose of a plastic container properly, using single-use items on a daily basis and having them magically disappear for us at the curb, or that bag that blows away in the wind. Yet millions of tons of plastic pollution are washing through our streams and rivers, ending up eventually in huge gyres of plastic debris circulating in the world’s oceans. See the official 5gyres website (www.5gyres.com) for a full picture of the contamination. Scientists are even finding plastic pollution in the polar ice caps! At present, the ocean’s litter and plastic problem is increasing at the same rate as population growth and further.
The problem, although also environmental, is that improper disposal, litter, and pollution have negative impacts on our health and economy. That’s right, this involves your business’s bottom line and your wallet! Let’s say you own a surf shop or paddleboard company – do you think folks will rent or purchase equipment from you if the nearby beach is too polluted to swim in? How about your fish tackle shop or seafood business – do you think people are going to shop for tackle when there are no more fish to catch or eat your seafood if it is contaminated with plastic? The answer, my friend, cousin, and neighbor, is no. Just like the first law of ecology, so thus the laws of the economy, and that is everything is connected to everything. When one business looses money, we all do. Those taxes paid by that business that is loosing money also pays for your teacher’s salary, your fire department, police, and rescue services too. We are all more connected than most stop to consider.
No matter where the initial pollution comes from (it’s worldwide) the resulting outcome spreads and has an impact where you live too! Yes, your mother, daughter, grandchild, grandparents, future generations to come, and you are already feeling the impact! Do you know someone that is or has battled cancer? We all do! All of us!
The link between plastic pollution and cancer is not new information, yet we continue to make single-use products out of the same materials without slowing down, we are actually speeding up consumption at an unsustainable rate. According to the Center for Disease Control we are expected to see 19.3 million new cancer cases diagnosed each year. Americans continue to use 35-50 BILLION plastic water bottles a year! That’s just water bottles, not including other beverages and products. A dear friend of mine and a world renown environmental engineer at the University of Georgia, Dr. Jenna Jambeck, has found through her research that somewhere between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic entered the ocean in 2010. Find our more about this here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768. The connections here are undeniable.
As part of this eXXpedition project we will be using the latest tools in citizen science using mobile and geolocation technologies to participate in global experiments to influence global change through collective research and documentary films. “eXXpedition” tackles a little talked about topic in a completely new/different way and hopes to create conversations that enable the general public to participate and use the gained knowledge to make informed consumer choices that have an impact on us all. We know that successful innovation rarely comes from within an industry – it takes outsiders tackling problems in fresh ways with a mix of disciplines to create solutions – like voting with your wallet to support companies making such sustainable innovations and not supporting companies that are making the problem worse. The power is in the consumer – that’s you!
Policymakers, politicians and the public remain largely unaware of the extent of the plastics problem and the magnitude of the threat to marine ecosystems and your own community environment. Plastics do not biodegrade on land or in water, instead becoming brittle in sunlight, photo-degrading, and breaking apart into ever-smaller bits of plastic, still containing toxic substances introduced during the manufacturing process. These plastics act like sponges for other toxins, leading to the bio-accumulation of toxins in the food chain – your food chain! Many of these chemicals are linked to disease and are found contaminating our bodies through food and consumer products. Plastic debris also threatens marine and terrestrial wildlife through entanglement or by clogging their digestive tracts.
By studying solid waste infrastructure on land we can see how effective or not these programs are at preventing litter, marine debris, and capturing materials to be reused, re-marketed, or properly disposed of. We also see what programs are effective and strive to work with officials to expand these programs and work on improving them as well. By doing landfill and trash audits, we see what the main consumer products are in an area. We can then use this info to tract trends and target producers and consumers with potential and proven solutions.
As part of this eXXpedition, I will also be studying what I find on the bottom of the ocean while conducting underwater cleanups while in Brazil and Guyana. This is a part of a two-part study being done on accumulation rates and also chemical absorption studies. I will also be using the Project AWARE method of surveying underwater areas and collecting data for their international database. While at sea, I will be part of a crew conducing surface sampling using manta trawls to collect plastics, including micro-plastics, while sailing from Recife, Brazil to Georgetown, Guyana. This research is in conjunction with the University of Georgia and the Marine Debris Tracker App data collection among others.
So now that you know more than you probably want to about eXXpedition, plastic ocean pollution, and my research projects, I will end with a note of thanks and gratitude for your support both monetarily and morally. In return, I will support your local business on my blog site (www.coastinista.com) with advertising and blog mentions and articles.
I appreciate every dollar donated and every high-five and good vibe sent my way along this journey. I also ask that you help me spread the word about marine debris, litter, pollution prevention, plastic-use reduction, and eXXpedition.
Thank you for supporting eXXpedition and my journey to “make the unseen seen”! Not one, but all. Together is better!
Con mucho amor,
A recent development is that I am affiliated with the Plastic Ocean Project (POP inc. – a 501c3 non-profit organization) which has offered to except donations on my behalf which assures that your donation is tax deductible. For more information on tax deductible donations, please email RidTheSeaOfMarineDebris@gmail.com. Other donations can be made on the go-fund-me site listed on the side bar of this blog site.