Recruits Aid Beach Clean Up

by Press Release--Nature Center of Cape May | Oct 27, 2011
On Saturday, October 22, more than 130 volunteers gathered in front of NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May to participate in Clean Ocean Action’s bi-annual Beach Sweeps. These “Sweeps,” which are the very definition of a “grass-roots activity,” were first conducted over 30 years ago during a time when our Garden State beaches were littered with hypodermic needles, plastic beer can holders and glass bottles. Today, the nature of the trash has changed; plastic shopping bags are the principle offender, but the challenge continues.

Since 2009, Cape May Harbor has been designated an official “beach” by Clean Ocean Action with NCCM Sanctuary Director Gretchen Whitman assigned as its “Beach Captain.” Officially, the harbor’s beach extends from the Corinthian Yacht Club, west along the rim of the harbor to Fisherman’s Memorial and then north to Harbor View Park. A lot of beach, yes, but then, Director Whitman manages to recruit a lot of volunteers.

More than 100 of Saturday’s volunteers were members of Recruit Company R-185 from the U.S. Coast Guard’s nearby Training Center of Cape May. About to enter week seven of their eight-week training syllabus, the recruits were the very essence of energy, teamwork and motivation. Divided into 11 teams each led by a community volunteer, the recruits swept the beaches clear of debris, helped with clean-up and maintenance projects around the Center and completed educational displays and lab upgrades.

The presence of Coast Guard recruits participating in a community activity at the center is not a novel occurrence. Twice every year for the past 15 years, recruit companies have volunteered there. The recruits’ assistance is a critically important “shot-in-the-arm” for this small, non-profit organization. The recruits, in turn, enjoy the experience to be “off-base” and out from under the constant scrutiny of their company commanders. They especially enjoy their “break time” and the chance to inhale junk food and soft drinks. For their part, company commanders appreciate the opportunity to observe their recruits and identify their inherent strengths and areas that need work.

The relationship between the Nature Center of Cape May and the Coast Guard is certainly unique and valued by all participants. The Nature Center has long demonstrated its appreciation of its neighbors through its “Good Neighbor Fund,” which enables upwards of 25 or more Coast Guard dependent children to attend classes at the Center free of charge every summer.

Saturday was much more than a Beach Sweep…it was evidence of neighbors, good neighbors, working together for a common good. A very well done to Company R-185, Charlie, Dave, Victoria, Orlando & Rosalie, Mark, Kim, Sue and Gretchen at the Nature Center of Cape May and to all of the other community volunteers who participated on Saturday.

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Author: Press Release--Nature Center of Cape May

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