By Michelle Wagner | Outer Banks Voice on August 31, 2020
The Outer Banks Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation saw a changing of the guard this past February, but it wasn’t long after the new leadership took over that COVID-19 altered daily life and caused the organization to suspend its activities and outreach. Even so, Tamara Warren – the chapter’s new chair – found one way to push the group’s message while waiting for restrictions in North Carolina and within the organization to ease.
“We are kind of just waiting in the wing,” Warren told the Voice. Acknowledging that many environmentally-conscious beachgoers already pick up trash when they head over the dune, she said her organization came up with a way to encourage more people to get involved.
The group’s Outer Banks chapter is starting a solo beach clean-up movement, providing buckets donated by Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint, along with trash pickers, gloves and a mask to encourage locals and visitors alike to clean up the beach while they are out enjoying it. The solo beach clean-ups will, at least for now, take the place of community beach clean-up events. “We are just trying to get the word out to leave it better than you found it,” Warren noted. “If you see trash, even though it may not be yours, this is our beach. This is our home, this is where our children play and where we swim. And we want it to be clean.”
Warren noted that often in the summer, trash is not placed in the trash receptacles correctly and lids are not closed. “The wind comes along, the trash cans are blown over and the trash is going down the street and it’s going into our ocean, it’s going into our waterways,” she added.
The local Surfrider Foundation chapter will deliver the buckets for free to members of the community while supplies last, Warren said. Her hope, she said, is that people will take the family and kids out to the beach and make it a fun event while teaching children where trash belongs and why it doesn’t belong on the beach and waterways.
“Educate, educate, educate,” she added.
The organization hopes that as momentum grows for the solo beach clean-up movement, it can start offering prizes through social media. She also encouraged participants to post pictures of themselves cleaning up trash to the local chapter’s Facebook page. “We are all kind of stir crazy being locked up for COVID…we just want to encourage families to come together for a cause,” she said.
And once North Carolina and the Surfrider Foundation lift COVID-19 restrictions, the Outer Banks chapter plans to kick off a blue water campaign to test water quality in the ocean and sound waters. “We will be testing the waters here, we will be posting the results here,” Warren explained, noting that she’s been hearing that ear, eye and sinus infections have recently been attributed to poor water quality locally.
(To inquire about a solo beach clean-up bucket, contact Tamara Warren at email@example.com or 252-362-2299.)
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