The Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Adopt-a-Beach program mobilizes thousands of volunteers who give back to their local communities each year. The month of April, especially Earth Day, marks the unofficial beginning of the beach season around the Great Lakes as many groups hold their first Adopt-a-Beach events of the year.
“Keeping Great Lakes beaches and shorelines beautiful is no small task, and it couldn’t be done without the incredible efforts of volunteers all over the region,” said Alliance for the Great Lakes President/CEO Joel Brammeier. “Each cleanup — when combined with hundreds of similar events across the Great Lakes — makes a big difference for the lakes.”
There are a number of opportunities for local residents to get involved in beach cleanups over the next several months.
“Several community groups have joined together to host an event (today) at Lake Harbor Park,” alliance spokeswoman Jennifer Caddick said. “And a number of events are being held on Earth Day (April 22).”
Earth Day activities include Grand Haven High School’s G.R.E.E.N. Club hosting a cleanup at the Rosy Mound Natural Area in Grand Haven Township. Another cleanup is slated for that day to the north at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park.
“If you visit www.greatlakesadopt.org, you can look for events in your area or all around the region by using the map on the homepage,” Caddick said.
Other events set to take place in the Grand Haven area during the next few months include one at North Beach Park on Thursday, May 18; and at Grand Haven State Park on Wednesday, July 5.
Last year, a total of 15,181 Adopt-a-Beach volunteers picked up 40,211 pounds of debris as part of 1,388 cleanup events across the region. Volunteers also collect data that is shared with beach managers and scientists, with a goal of cleaner beaches.
According to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the majority of trash picked up by volunteers last year was plastic, which experts say can be problematic since it breaks down into small pieces that can be eaten by birds, fish and other wildlife.