By Nancy Messmer
This month, Molly Scofield, Port Angeles High School ASB President organized a beach cleanup with the Leadership Class. She and Tanner Price had driven to Clallam Bay-Sekiu in September to take part in the International Coastal Cleanup, where they cleaned Shipwreck Point, a beach along the Strait of Juan De Fuca. They brought many bags and big items back to the Visitor Center and worked with Lion Nancy Messmer to sort, categorize and tally all of the marine debris they found. The data was entered into a global database at Ocean Conservancy and the information used to impact the marine debris problem around the world.
Molly, working with Advisor Pam Helpenstall, organized her classmates for a January 9 cleanup on the downtown waterfront in Port Angeles. In December, Lions Nancy Messmer and Roy Morris talked with the students via Zoom, explaining the state and global efforts to impact plastic pollution and keep the ocean healthy. They provided information and forms for the students to contribute their data, via the Clean Swell app, to the Ocean Conservancy database.
On the day of the Cleanup, the students were well organized with health-dictated restrictions during the pandemic. Working with the City of Port Angeles, they designated an area of downtown beach to be cleaned. Students were divided into two teams, the morning group picking up marine debris and the afternoon group sorting, categorizing and counting the items of marine debris.
The event demonstrated that Beach Cleanups can be effectively organized to be small scale, safe and impactful during the pandemic. Several organizations publish online guidelines for personal, family, and small group beach cleanups. For more information, write to Dr. Messmer at [email protected]