Dreaming of a beach vacation? Why not load up the car and head to Lake Michigan? Afterall, Summer 2020 is not conducive for travel due to COVID-19. We are fortunate to have a playground of sand and water right in our backyard in Northwest Indiana. But before you slather yourself with sunscreen and unroll your trusty beach towel, consider doing your part. There are organized beach cleanups – or you could start your own!
Beach cleanups are dependent on volunteers. You can show your love for the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan by volunteering! Hey, you are at the beach anyway. Every little bit helps to make the beach a prettier, safer place to relax and it also protects the lake’s ecosystem.
Perhaps you can invite your community to join you in this important undertaking. Church groups, Girl Scout/Boy Scout troops, families, friends, companies, sports teams, and social clubs are just a few ideas of groups that might want to join the fun.
Here are some tips to organize a cleanup:
- Find Your Spot. Define the area you’d like to help clean. Of course, some areas need more cleaning than others, so give it some thought.
- Research Your Spot. Check to see if you need permission. Learn as much as you can about your cleanup spot.
- Learn from Others. Check out what past cleanups looked like. It takes dedication for an organizer, but it’s well worth it! Visit another cleanup if you have never participated in one.
- Set a Time. What about a sunset beach cleanup? It tends to be cooler in the evening and you can cleanup after the crowd. Early morning and late at night may be the best to avoid the hottest part of the day.
- Find Supplies. You don’t need much to cleanup a beach. At the very least, you will need garbage bags and gloves. You can ask your volunteers to bring their own sunscreen, reusable water bottles, and bug spray. It is a good idea to bring a first-aid kit and extra water for your volunteers. Plastic water bottles might add to the waste, so be creative!
- Think of Adding Partners. Reach out to local businesses for donations of water and supplies. This isn’t necessary so don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a partner.
- Arrive Early. On the big day, don’t forget to arrive early! As the coordinator, you can set up the check-in area and where to place the trash.
- Plan, plan, plan.Where will you place the recyclables? Who will remove all of the trash? What if hazardous waste is found? Ask questions to someone who has coordinated a beach cleanup in the past. Perhaps a local garbage company will help remove waste.
If organizing your own event doesn’t appeal, there are several cleanups you could join that are already in place for Summer 2020.
- 2 Bag Beach Trail Clean-Up: This event is ongoing and asks you to bring two garbage bags every time you hike or go to the beach. Use one for yourself to clean up your own garbage and extra garbage you see around and give the other bag to someone else, telling them about this challenge! Then, post photos in this event. At the end of the month, the number of bags will be counted.
- Mermaid Straw Beach Clean Up: At Indiana Dunes State Park on July 25th, there is a beach cleanup from 9am - 11am. Meet at the Mermaid Straw tent to sign in. It is asked that you bring your own supplies, like buckets, gloves and pickers. Also, bring a reusable water bottle with you. If you fill an entire 5-gallon bucket, you a free Mermaid Straw!You also get free parking.
Lastly, never under estimate cleaning up after yourself or doing a quick pickup each time you visit Lake Michigan. If everyone would do their part as individuals, think of how clean and safe our beaches would be!
For more information on how you can help to preserve, protect and restore the Indiana Dunes, call Save the Dunes at: (219) 879-3564 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit them at: http://www.savedunes.org