By Nancy Messmer
In previous years, mid-September was the time for locals and tourists to come together, celebrate the harvest and clean the beaches. This year, the choices are different due to COVID-19. The Annual Potato Dig/Seed Swap is cancelled and the International Coastal Cleanup will happen on fewer beaches, but with added new features.
Friends of Hoko River State Park volunteers have worked through the summer, using COVID-19 restrictions. No more than five volunteers work simultaneously, and they use masks and social distancing for safety, signing in and out for their work shifts. Volunteers have worked in the Cowan Heritage Area on the kitchen garden, pioneer orchard, demonstration plots and on the Little Hoko River Trail. They look forward to hosting visitors and accomplishing more projects next year. Watch the Friends of Hoko River State Park Facebook page for updates.
For several years, the Annual Potato Dig and Seed Swap has welcomed visitors on the Sunday following the International Coastal Cleanup, on the third Saturday in September. Locals and visitors from afar come to coastal and Strait beaches to clean them of marine debris. This year the beach cleanups are on Saturday, September 19 and the emphasis is on working locally. Olympic Peninsula residents are invited to clean Olympic Peninsula beaches, registering on www.coastsavers.org. Look at the website for information about open beaches. As well, learn about new opportunities this year.
Stop the Inflow Working Group is sponsoring Marine Debris Data Collection Demonstrations and Training, first at the Saturday International Beach Cleanup in Ocean Shores, and more throughout the year. As access to beaches has been restricted, some volunteers are focusing on collecting marine debris, analyzing what is collected, and sending the data to large scientific studies that add up the data and assist in international efforts to stop plastic pollution and promote clean oceans. This year, there will be a Demonstration/Training by Zero Waste Washington at the Ocean City beach access at Ocean Shores. Contact [email protected] to sign up for this opportunity. Read the Washington Coastsavers website for more information on additional locations and trainings (type in “Stop the Inflow”).
In the 50th year of Earth Day, and also part of the International Coastal Cleanup will be the announcement of the 2020 Olympic Peninsula Environmental Activist of the Year, celebrating lifetime commitment to improving the environment locally and globally. Watch the website, www.coastsavers.org,for the announcement.
Mid-September activities are different this year on the North Olympic Peninsula and there are still great opportunities for local residents to celebrate the season. Friends of the Hoko River State Park will wrap up fall harvesting, and look forward to hosting the First Day Walk on Jan. 1, 2021, at the Little Hoko River Trail.
Local beaches need local volunteers to clean them. Join in.