Thursday, January 23, 2014

Adopt-a-Beach Program Expands to South Portland, Maine!

On Sunday, January 12, I had the pleasure of spending a couple hours at the beach with Sarah Heeley and Meghan Pryor and their families.  Sarah and Meghan have just become our first Adopt-a-Beach group in South Portland, Maine! They adopted scenic Willard Beach, a place that was very busy with families and dogs on the nice, sunny day.

A beautiful day for a cleanup on Willard Beach!
Sarah learned of the Adopt-a-Beach opportunity through her mother, Susan DeQuattro, who adopted Cape Neddick Beach in York, ME nearly a year ago. Sarah is a licensed massage therapist who lives near Willard Beach. She said in her adoption application, "I love the beach and want to help keep it clean!  I also want to help educate our community, bring awareness about clean beaches, and set a good example for our daughter." In addition to other family members, Sarah and Megan's daughters Charlotte and Eden - both 2 years old - came along, showing that beach cleanups are great for all ages!

The Adopt-a-Beach program requirements are fairly minimal. All you need to do is download and read our brief handbook (available online here), fill out and send in an application, and we'll set up your first cleanup. A Blue Ocean Society staff member conducts the first cleanup with you and we'll bring you all the supplies you need for your cleanups. We ask for a one-year commitment to cleaning your site once per month. Most cleanups take only an hour - so really, it is a commitment of about 12 hours per year.
Cleaning the beach
At the first Willard Beach cleanup, we picked up about 12 pounds of litter. The crazy thing is that it was 12 pounds of mostly very small things - small pieces of foam, plastic and cigarette butts. But even these little pieces count, because they can potentially be swallowed by animals such as birds and fish.

Thanks to Sarah and Megan and their families for their commitment to a healthy marine environment!

Megan & Eden Pryor, Sarah Heeley

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cleanups Necessary, Even in the Winter

Volunteers at a foggy Jenness Beach cleanup - the first of the year!
Our first public cleanup of the year showed that cleanups are necessary even in the winter. Luckily, today felt more like a fall or spring day than a day early in January.  Nine of us trekked along Jenness Beach, picking our way around the ice as the fog hovered around us.

The beach was relatively clean-looking - we theorized that the recent heavy seas, winds and tides had washed a lot of debris clear across the beach and into the yards of the beach homes and roadways lining the beach.  Still, we managed to collect 25 pounds of litter in a little under an hour!

Plastic and foam pieces were prevalent, as were cigarette butts and bottle caps.  As is often the case in the winter time, we found lots and lots of dog poop - some even already bagged up.

Thanks to the dog owners who are diligent about picking up after their dogs, and thanks to the beach goers and homeowners who join in our efforts by picking up litter they find that has washed into their yards, or that is on the beach during their walks.  It's unfortunate that we have to pick up litter on the beach at all, but I'd rather pick up pounds and pounds of garbage than think about the effects that litter could have on marine life if it washed out to sea.

Our next cleanups are next weekend - on Saturday, January 18 we have cleanups at North Hampton State Beach at 9 AM, and at Cape Neddick Beach in York, ME at 10 AM. Both are small, beautiful beaches that could use your help! If you'd like to sign up for either of these cleanups, email or call the Blue Ocean Society office at 603-431-0260. We hope to see you there! Thanks to the dedicated volunteers who came out today!

Want to support our beach cleanups? Click here to become a member or adopt a whale!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year! First Cleanup Jan 11

Winter is a great time to be at the beach!
Happy New Year!

This is a long-overdue post to this blog, but I'm happy to say that the New Year has brought new resolve to post more frequently...starting today!

This is just a quick post to let you know that our first public beach cleanup of the year will be this Saturday, January 11, at 10:30 AM at Jenness Beach in Rye, NH. All supplies will be provided, although you're welcome to bring your own gloves and reusable bags. We'll also have hot coffee available (you'll get bonus points if you bring your own mug!). To learn more about Blue Ocean Society beach cleanups, click here. If you'd like to see data from our Jenness Beach or other cleanups, click here.

The cleanup usually takes 1-1.5 hours, and is conducted rain, snow or shine (unless travel is unsafe). If it is canceled for some reason, we'll post a message on Facebook and leave a message on our answering machine at 603-431-0260.

RSVP'ing is helpful, but not necessary. If you'd like to RSVP, call 603-431-0260 or e-mail We hope to see you there!