Saturday morning dawned bright and sunny and by 8:45 a crush of volunteers were rambling down the wooden steps by the Aquarina Beach Club swarming on to southern Melbourne Beach.
A mighty thanks to all of our enthusiastic volunteers and supporters who helped make the first "Smarty's Army" Coastal Clean Up a huge success last Saturday, January 13. We had a remarkable turn-out of 77 participants who combed and scoured the beach. Men, women and kids grabbed their clean-up bags and brought back a jumble of plastic and foam debris, shoes and sandals, children's toys and balloons, a street sign, hefty hunks of cement and wooden pier boards, tree trunks and heaven knows what else. All were inventoried the Surfrider tent. A special shout out to the AQ's sledge-hammer swinging and circular saw carving guys.
Bell and Buddha, yellow and black labs, romped up and down the beach and swam in the ocean, while several pods of dolphins glided by not far off shore. We organized the beach clean-up to honor Smarty, our fun-loving Toller retriever who left us at the end of September.
Smarty loved watching the shorebirds soaring through the sky, romping down the beach, and splashing in the ocean. Each of the participants rceived a "Smarty's Army" T-Shirt. Our pal and professional artist Linda Townshend, who hails from south Jersey, donated her work on the design and a wonderful illustration of Smarty trotting down the beach-- faithful tennis ball in mouth-- a series of waves in the background.
Eight folks signed up as new Surfrider members, others are signing up online. Bravo! While beach cleanups alone can’t solve the ocean trash problem, they are an integral piece to the overall solution. Surfrider gave us a total count of more than 200 pounds of marine debris, not including construction material.
Because of your efforts, our beach is cleaner and safer than ever before. We are lucky to live in one of the most unique, ecologically diverse and picturesque places on the planet. Let do more to keep it that way. Make a difference year-round by picking up debris on your morning or afternoon walks at our beaches.
We hope we’ll see even more Aquarina residents at the "Smarty's Army" next Coastal Cleanup slated for March or early April.