CoastWeeks 2008 kicks off this weekend with opportunities for you to get involved in the protection and restoration of the Lake Erie watershed.
"What we are trying to do is encourage the public to take responsibility for their garbage," says Maumee Bay Naturalist Dana Bolin.
Many everyday items are senselessly discarded, littering the natural landscape. Bolin explains, "Cigarette butts are probably the number one item that we collect off the beach. We also find an awful lot of plastic beverage containers."
Saturday, September 13 is the 12th annual Clean Your Streams Day. This is your chance to get involved. "It gives people a sense of stewardship. It gives them an opportunity to get outside," Bolin says, "Do something that is good for the environment and then feel like they are making a contribution."
How can I volunteer?
The event is Saturday, September 13 at 10:00 a.m. at Maumee Bay State Park. Pre-registration required: 419-836-9117. Meet at Maumee Bay Nature Center, 1400 Park Road #1, Oregon, OH.
For volunteers like Fred Gerke with the Western Lake Erie Association, it's the purity of nature he enjoys. Many of our local waterways and ponds hold an abundance of wildlife. "It's got nature stuff, don't have human stuff in there, garbage and stuff like that. That will be our goal as we come up to this day of taking the garbage out of the park," he tells us.
But it's not an easy task. Last year 1,100 volunteers across the region gathered nearly 26,000 pounds of garbage that landed in the wrong place. "It's just beautiful to see nature as itself. Nice beautiful Maumee Bay State Park, and now we can enjoy it because we are picking up the garbage and seeing nice beaches, nice water and everything," says Gerke.