Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Trashy Talking Turtlers: Week 8

Trashy Talking Turtlers

Week 8: July 19 - July 25

Hola, Trashy Talking Turtlers!
You have been very busy collecting trash and reporting your finds, so I will get straight to the numbers.

Numbers for Week 8:
We picked up trash in 20 of the 42 zones (47 percent)
Zone 0 = 3.25 bags
Zone 1 = 5.5 bags
Zone 2 = 2 bags
Zone 3 = 6 bags
Zone 4 = 7.5 bags
Zone 5 = 7 bags
Total for Week 8 = 31.25 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 318.5 bags of trash (Not including large items that do not fit into trash bags.) Wow! That is an accomplishment!

Trash or Treasure
No one reported much in the way of treasures this week, except for a couple of skim boards, hats and towels. However, several of you commented that you believe the litter is better than it has been. This is great news. But after pulling last year's numbers, we are nearly equal with 2009 reports. For week 8 in 2009, we had collected 32.41 bags; and our grand total at that point was 313.636 bags. So, perhaps there is a trend as the Independence Holiday winds down.

Did someone say Johnnie Mercer’s Pier was unlittered?
On Monday, July 19, both Renee and Doug Beach—a true advocate for clean beaches who picks up trash every day—agreed the beach in Zone 2, near Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, was relatively "unlittered.” Impressively, July 19 was the day after the Reef/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest, and I do believe that people help clean the beach after the event. However, Susan Miller picked up trash in Zone 3 around Johnnie Mercer’s Pier on Friday, July 23, and here are her comments:

Hi Ginger,
My trash total for Friday, July 23, was 2 bags from zone 3. I felt very encouraged after yesterday's walk. There was much, much less trash than I found 2 weeks ago. On July 9, I was so grossed out and discouraged by the amount of trash on the beach. That day, I collected an entire bag filled only with glass bottles. But yesterday, I did not find any glass bottles at all. Most of the litter appeared to be accidental, such as sand toys, the occasional beach towel, and one stray flip flop. The only litter I gathered yesterday that really concerned me were four large—and rather dangerous looking—metal tent spikes.
To be able to say that Johnnie Mercer’s Pier is "unlittered" should be celebrated. Cheers! I sure hope this happens again and again and again.

Crystal Pier and Shell Island
Unfortunately, Vicki, Joy and Page did not have the same elated feeling at Shell Island and Crystal Pier this week as Renee and Susan had at Johnnie Mercer’s. Here are their comments:

Hi Ginger,
For this Tuesday, Zone 0, I picked up 1.5 bags of trash including a skim board and single boat shoe.
Incidentally, there were 9 huge holes in the sand in front of Shell Island, the most I have ever seen. I always try to fill in the small ones but these were very large and there were so many. It is really a shame the Shell Islanders don't seem to understand the turtle message.

Hi Ginger,
The zone was quiet today. Only one bag and it was mostly bottle caps and bottles, although there were a lot of cigarettes and cigars with the plastic mouthpieces. No holes and no canopies. There was also a dog with its owner, and after I explained that there was a $250 fine, he left the beach. I saw additional dog tracks between accesses 40 and 39. Most of the trash was around the Oceanic and included a lot of their coasters and napkins. Their plastic chairs are also littering the beach.

Hi Ginger,
Got one bag of trash, which I picked up from the high tide line only, with the exception of Crystal Pier—which was horrendous. Nancy Faye and I both spent a lot of time there picking up straws, etc.
There were 8 chairs off the pier sitting at the high tide line. Do the night patrols not see this, or if they do, is it not their job to pull them back? I only saw one large hole.
A lady asked me if I'd found any big shells when I was finishing my walk. I explained I had trash, not shells, and that I had found plenty! Her friend said, "I bet."

Jennifer O'Keefe and Bonnie Monteleone
If you were able to read the Trashy Talking Turtlers newsletters last year, you will remember that Jennifer O'Keefe, from Keep America Beautiful, and Bonnie Monteleone, a University of North Carolina Wilmington student, sailed to Bermuda to study the "Atlantic Garbage Patch.” Bonnie also spent six weeks with Captain Charlie Moore in 2009 studying the "Pacific Garbage Patch."
Well, these two ladies are at it again. They just returned from a sailing trip in which they are studied the accumulated plastic just off our coast in the Atlantic Ocean. You can read about some of their adventures on their blog,

A Ship Made From Plastic Bottles
Well, I have heard of "a ship in a bottle," but this is the first time I have heard of a ship made from recycled plastic bottles. Visit to read about a crew who made a ship largely from 12,500 plastic bottles and sailed 8,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean for four months. The crew did it to raise awareness for how plastic affects our oceans and to encourage people to recycle. Visit their website to learn the many ways in which they practiced being "green" while at sea.
This story encourages me. Although I would never want to sail a ship made of plastic bottles, I can certainly join in raising awareness by picking plastic up from our beaches while searching for sea turtle tracks.
Who's Who at the Wrightsville Beach Mullet Run
The first annual Wrightsville Beach Mullet Run (a stand-up paddleboard race) took place last weekend to benefit Surfers Healing and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital. Among those in attendance at the awards ceremony held at Wrightsville Beach park were our very own Nancy Faye and Jean Beasley. The ceremony included food and a raffle. One of the most coveted prizes was a large stuffed sea turtle, named Rain in memory of an injured sea turtle, donated by Jean Beasley.

For The Sea Turtles
Sometimes, I become very disheartened and frustrated with the current nesting situation. Although I remain hopeful that WB will host a nesting turtle this year, I am beginning to wonder if it will actually happen. Every week as I search for the elusive sea turtle tracks, I find glistening pieces of plastic instead. I begin to feel frustrated.
But, then I remember. Even though the sea turtles are not nesting on WB, they are still nesting. So far, there are at least 680 nests in NC this year according to That is good news and I am happy for the turtles! I also remember that even though I am not finding tracks, I am helping by picking up trash. This, too, is a good thing for the sea turtles.
I hope, with all of my heart, that you will find tracks—especially the new volunteers—and that you get to watch a nest boil this year. There is nothing like it in the world. Regardless, I am happy that each of you are of such spirit that you continue to protect the sea turtles. Because of people like you, the turtles have a better chance of survival. So, please keep doing what you do and know that eventually the sea turtle will reward you. Who knows…it may even be tonight!

I will close with a quote from a sea turtle website:
"We can share beaches and ocean with sea turtles but it requires commitment and effort on our part. We can make certain that future generations will have the opportunity to know these unusual animals. The late Dr. Archie Carr, a scientist and author who almost singlehandedly began to turn the tide on the extinction of sea turtles, summed it up when he wrote, ‘For most of the wild things on earth, the future must depend upon the conscience of mankind.’ Our planet has come to an unprecedented point in its history where the actions of one species—man—will determine the fate of life on earth. It is not too late to ensure a future for sea turtles." -Victoria B. Van Meter, Florida's Sea Turtles

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wrightsville Beach Trashy Talking Turtlers Week 7

July 12 - July 18
Here is a shout out to all of you Trashy Talking Turtlers!
I can not believe all of the work that you have been doing for the past 7+ weeks. Here are your numbers:
Totals for Week 7:
We picked up trash in 19 of the 42 zones (45 percent)
Zone 0 = 8.5 bags
Zone 1 = 1.5 bags
Zone 2 = 9.75 bags
Zone 3 = 5 bags
Zone 4 = 5.5 bags
Zone 5 = 7.5 bags
Total for Week 7 = 37.75 bags
Grand Total = 284.25 (and always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs, broken boogie boards and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Trash vs. Treasure
I am pasting some of your e-mails here that represent the activity that we are finding on the beach. Please note that Terri and John Littlejohn's report includes some of those large random items that don't get included in our total numbers because we do not convert these items into bags. I wonder how many bags we would have if we did convert this type of litter into numbers of bags – hmmm…

Zone 1 had a large number of trash items this morning, more than I've ever seen before. There were six broken chairs, two quilts and two towels—all non-salvageable. Plus, one medium-sized garden-type shovel.
John Littlejohn

Morgan and I collected about 6 grocery-sized bags today in Zone 0. We collected two bags of traditional trash—these contained cigarette butts, straws, plastic straw covers, one flip flop, one water shoe, one belt (weird), several plastic water bottles, a few beer cans and fabric softener sheets.

The majority of the bulk was due to the remains of what looked like an after-hours wedding party in front of Shell Island Resort. There was a bow tie, a receipt for a tux rental and a beer can with a coozie that told the bride and groom's name with date of 7/17/2010. There was one full six pack of beer (complete with cardboard carrier), two empty cans of store-bought boiled peanuts, and about a case of empty beer cans (and cardboard case) plus several empty beer bottles. There were cigarette butts and cigarette packages as well. We left behind a broken Styrofoam cooler, several full beer cans and an attachment into which I am guessing an umbrella is placed. We just couldn't carry them all to the trash.
No tracks :(
Talk to you soon,

Zone 2 on Thursday was loaded with cigarette butts. Hundreds. We collected half of a 13-gallon bag. Lots of drink bottles. Also, there is more and more evidence of dogs on the beach.

I subbed for Page in Zone 5 this morning.
Lots of trash—we picked up 4 bags and could have done much more. Around Oceanic it was a mess, trash cans overflowing, and it almost looked like people just dropped trash from the Oceanic outdoor dining area. Picked up lots of Styrofoam plates around Oceanic; a lot of beer cans and bottles near the inlet, one unopened Bud Light; whoever played volleyball down near there had Jersey Mike’s for dinner last night and left all the wrappings—apparently for the whole team. Left a small life jacket and some sunglasses on the beach as there were surfers out who may have (hopefully) been the owners. A few holes but not bad. Large dog tracks.
Julie Nichols

This week's Lumina News
I picked up a Lumina News last Thursday and was thrilled after reading it. Not because the Trashy Talking Turtlers were mentioned in the "My Thoughts" section (although that was pretty cool), but because of a little five-year-old girl named Kirra who is afraid that the sea turtles will choke from all the cigarettes on the beach. If you have not read this article, you will really want to—you will fall in love with this little girl and what seems to be her innate passion to make the Earth a cleaner place. Here is the link:
As I said last week, you have to love the next generation – they just may change the world!!!

Reduce Plastic Consumption
A picture is worth a thousand words!
Although recycling is wonderful, we all know that we should reduce our plastic consumption. Here is a slide show of what a recycling plant looks like. If you were not convinced to reduce your consumption before watching this slide show, you probably will be convinced after watching it. It is pretty unreal how much trash we produce. One quote on the slide show is that Americans dispose of 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour and we make 750,000 photocopies every minute of every day. Here is the link:

Guess Who was Caught Wearing a WBSTP T-Shirt????
Mayor David Cignotti was caught sporting a WBSTP Logo T-shirt at the Reef/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest on Sunday! I must say, the shirt looked great! Thank you Mayor Cignotti!

Events At WB
On Saturday, July 24, there will be a ''Mullet Run" which is a combination of running and paddle boarding. This is the first competition of its kind at WB. The funds raised from the event will benefit Surfer’s Healing an event during which surfers help children, who have been diagnosed with autism, take to the waves. The other charity that will benefit from this event is the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital. You can read about the event in Lumina News or click on this link:

Thanks for all you do.
I sure hope a mother sea turtle visits us tonight!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project Trashy Talking Turtlers Week 6

July 5 - July 11 (Fireworks)

Helloooo Trashy Talking Turtlers,
Here are your numbers:
Week 6:
We picked up trash in 16 of the 42 zones (38 percent)
Zone 0 = 5.5 bags
Zone 1 = 12.5 bags
Zone 2 = 8.25 bags
Zone 3 = 3 bags
Zone 4 = 6 bags
Zone 5 = 4 bags
Total for Week 6 = 39.25 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 245.50 bags! (and as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs, boogie boards, and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Trash vs. Treasure
Anne Marie went shopping in Zone 0 and found four shirts, a pair of shorts, pant legs (oddly enough just the pant legs . . . not the full pants!), a beach hat, beach towel, cooler, used firecrackers--not a bad shopping day at all!
Dick and Linda had their daughter and grandchildren join them to pick up 8.5 bags of trash including a $1 bill a quarter and a pair of sunglasses.
Susan found a nice pair of sneakers in Zone 3. She gave them to someone who appeared to be homeless and he followed her the rest of the way and professed his love for her. Although Susan admits this was a bit awkward, she felt he was quite harmless. Everyone says that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, but maybe you just need to give him a pair of gently used shoes!
Renee met two little boys who were here on vacation who spent their mornings cleaning up WB—you have to love the next generation, they just may change the world!
In general, most of you are continuing to collect trash that is made from plastic, cigarette butts and fireworks remnants. Several of you commented about how many cigarette butts you saw on the beach this week.
And, there is still dog poop being found in Zone 4.

Fireworks and the Blockade Runner and Zone 4
I like fireworks on the 4th of July. I usually go downtown every year to see them. I think Wilmington has an excellent display and it has become part of my tradition to celebrate Independence Day.
However, I don't like firework remnants on the beach. John and I monitor Zone 4 every Wednesday and for the past three weeks, we have found an exceptionally large amount of firework remnants throughout the zone, but heavily concentrated in front of the Blockade Runner. I always walk up to the volley ball court in front of the Blockade Runner because someone usually leaves plastic straws, cup lids or plastic bottles there. However, for the past three weeks, this area is completely littered with fireworks; so much so, that I can't pick it all up in the amount of time I have to monitor the beach before we go to work.
This week (which is actually Week 7, but I thought I would include it here anyway) was especially horrible. I actually gave up and declared that there was no way to collect it all and began muddling over how I should approach this problem and how to be diplomatic. Fortunately, I did not have to muddle long because I saw Shannon Slocum, WB Park Ranger, driving down the beach. I flagged him down and voiced my concerns. He did drive over to the volley ball court and checked out the scene and stated he would mention this to the Blockade Runner staff. I hope this helps because I was very disheartened yesterday and it was hard to feel positive about the situation.
Some people may wonder what the big deal is; after all, it is just fireworks. Well, besides being disruptive if turtles do nest on the beach, fireworks’ casings contains plastic and sometimes the whole casing is plastic! Not only is the casing made of plastic, but even the cardboard casings have compartments at the base of the shell that contain materials to propel the fireworks, and these compartments contain plastic parts as well. I cannot tell you how many of those exploded plastic casings I have picked up in Zone 4 and there are many, many more left to be picked up or to be washed out to sea! I really hope that the Blockade Runner will discourage their guests from using fireworks; and I also hope they will help clean up this area of the beach.
By the way, as we all know, it is illegal to have fireworks in N.C.; so there is room for enforcement.

There continue to be very large holes on the beach. As we have mentioned before, this is dangerous to humans as well as sea turtles. Although WB has ordinances about filling in holes before leaving the beach, this ordinance seems to be greatly ignored. Oak Island just passed an ordinance this week about filling in holes before leaving the beach. WECT TV also ran a segment this week proclaiming holes to be among the five most dangerous things at the beach since many people do not see them as they are walking along the beach and often become injured as they stumble into the holes. Please be careful out there and watch your step.

Events at WB
The Reef/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest contest will be held at WB this weekend. If you like surfing this is a great event to attend. During the event, at 10:30 on Saturday, there will be a Kids Beach Sweep. Again, you have to love the next generation because they just may change the world!

Sea Turtles and Boomballatti's
If you have not visited Boomballatti's Ice Cream Shop located in The Forum, you are really missing out on yummy homemade ice cream. The shop is locally owned and operated by Kevin and Michelle who happen to love the sea turtles! They have even allowed WBSTP to have a donation box in their shop which has helped us raise quite a bit of money for education and rescue purposes.
If you like ice cream, you will love Boomballatti's and you just may find Kevin sporting a WBSTP hat!
Thank you Boomballatti's!

Thank you Trashy Talking Turtlers for making our Planet a better place!
Happy Turtling!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project Trashy Talking Turtlers Week 5

Week 5: June 28 - July 4, 2010 -- "Making a Difference"

Aloha Trashy Talking Turtlers,
We made it through the Fourth of July, but the turtles must still be on vacation! Maybe they will return to WB this week!
Even if the turtles are on vacation, we have not been. WBSTP volunteers remain very dedicated to picking up trash and keeping our beach clean and safe for both sea turtles and visiting humans. Below are your results:

Week 5:
We picked up trash in 18 of the 42 zones (42.85 percent)
Zone 0 = 2.5 bags
Zone 1 = 4 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3 = 10 bags (this was all in one day)
Zone 4 = 7 bags
Zone 5 = 9.25 bags
Total for Week 5 = 37.75 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 206.25 bags! (and as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

More Numbers:
I have been thinking more about the 176 cigarette butts that Susan Miller picked up last week and I tallied some numbers.

If we collected 176 butts in each zone (I'm sure there are actually a lot more) that would equal 1,056 butts per day, or 7,392 butts per week, or 29,568 butts per month, or 88,704 butts per summer (or 3 months). Just something to ponder.

Staying Positive and What Can We Do With All of Those Flip Flops?
Although it can be a challenge to remain positive when we have not yet found a sea turtle nest on WB, many of you continue to do so. Renee has even found some benefits to picking up cigarette butts and has researched what we can do with all of those flip flops:

Hi Ginger,
I can't believe it's Week 5 already!
I picked up about 4 bags of trash made up of the usual stuff. Lots of cigarette butts. They may not fill up too many bags, but you have to squat each time you pick one up. Kudos to Susan Miller who did it 176 times! I wonder if picking up butts is good exercise for one’s but(tocks) . . . hmmm.
Found lots of flip flops this week—two pairs and thre loners. Also found one of those flipper things that people wear on their feet when they scuba dive. I know there's a name for them just can't think of it at the moment.Also, a little girl’s bathing suit and several T-shirts in assorted sizes.
Lots of evidence of fruit too—apples, oranges, bananas, grapes—well at least litterers are eating some healthy food along with their chips, candy, sodas, beers and juicy juice.
You know sometimes when you're picking up bags of trash you can't help but wonder how people can be so inconsiderate. But I was out on the beach yesterday (strictly pleasure) and when you see how many people use our beaches, and how many things they bring with them, it is amazing how little is left behind. When you also consider that a lot of what is left behind is accidental (who would intentionally leave their monogrammed towel, their lip gloss or their fake breast), it seems that most people are conscientious about keeping the beach clean. We're just getting the stuff that slips through the cracks.
Oh, one more thing . . I found a day care center that was thrilled to get all the plastic toys I've found on the beach. They also liked all the T-shirts - they can use them as smocks or when some little campers spill juice on themselves. So, maybe people can look for day care centers near where they live.
The Flip Flop Store in Independence Mall will recycle pairs of flip flops. They box them up and send them to countries in which people literally have nothing to wear on their as long as they will stay on someone’s feet - they are accepted. I also found a place that will take a single flip flop even if it is not part of a pair: Unique Eco Designs. They are in Nairobi, Kenya and they provide jobs to women and children to help support their local economy. They also donate 9 percent of the profits to charity. Hansen's Surf Shop in San Diego, Calif. is also an official collection site for Unique Eco Designs. Here's what they say: "...we are StyleSubstanceSole --oops, Soul....we live in...the land of flip flops - what better place to make a real impact? We could actually help reduce landfills one flip flop at a time."
Not sure how much any of thiscosts....but if we collect enough and send them in bulk . . .?

All for this week.

I think it would be a great idea to recycle our found pairs of flip flops at the Flip Flop Store. I didn't even know this store existed! I can't think of a more wonderful way to recycle flip flops than to send them to people who have no way of obtaining shoes on their own. If you guys want to do this individually or organize this as a group, I will be happy to help. Also, if you want to save your single flip flops to send to the store in Calif., I can look more into this. We can use flat rate shipping boxes and it likely will not cost that much if we do it collectively. Please let me know by e-mail if you would like to take part in this. Thanks Renee. What a great resource.

Trash vs. Treasure:
You guys reported the usual trash and treasures left behind this week, but a whole bag of used fireworks was collected in Zone 4 by the Blockade Runner. Dogs also roam free in Zone 4 as dog poop is usually reported in this zone several times a week. You did find more structures/tents left on the beach and also numerous large holes. One hole in Zone 1 actually had an orange caution cone in it. Page was subbing in Zone 1 when she found the hole and sent a picture to my cell phone with the question: why didn't they just fill it in? Well, that is a very good question; and one that I do not know the answer more thing to ponder. is an organization that is dedicated to keeping the island free of trash while also advocating for the island to remain open to the public. They were very successful in raising awareness and protecting the island from litter invasion over the holiday weekend. My hat is off to them for making such a difference! Please read the article about posted in the Lumina News. You can read it online at or you can buy the paper for only a quarter.

Trashy Talking Turtlers and Lumina News:
Lumina News has posted a blog on-line for WBSTP News. As of this week, you can find copies of the Trashy Talking Turtlers Newsletters on their blog site. To view, just go to and click on the Sea Turtle Project blog. I think it is wonderful that the town and the local paper are supportive of the sea turtles and our efforts to protect them and our environment.

Making a Difference:
Brenda and Frank Weaver picked up trash in Zone 1 and Frank found a star fish that was still alive. Of course, being gentle and kind like WBSTP volunteers are, he placed it back into the ocean. It reminded me of the following story:

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

WBSTP volunteers are all making a difference. Whether you monitor the beach for tracks, pick up litter, educate the public, or help rescue a sea turtle (or any other animal), you are all making a difference one step at a time. Many times your actions influence others to change and many of you share stories of other people picking up trash because they see you doing it. This effect could be exponentially great for our planet! I am so proud to be a part of a group of such caring individuals.

Hope you find a nest this week!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project Trashy Talking Turtlers Week 4

Week 4: June 21 - June 27, 2010

Hi Trashy Talking Turtlers,

As you know, we still have not found any turtle tracks, but many of you responded that you would be sending out prayers and positive energy and some of you are even lighting candles for the turtles. I, myself, have added a candle-lighting to my routine and I make sure I wear my turtle necklace on my monitoring days. This week, I even wore turtle Silly Bandz! I will not give up. Surely one mother sea turtle will find WB a great place for her clutch this year. Carolina Beach just found their first nest this week, so I know it is not too late. OMMMMM!

We are also not giving up on having a clean beach when Mother Sea Turtle does emerge to lay her clutch. I know it can be difficult to pick up trash every week, so I sincerely thank you for all of your efforts.

Numbers for Week 4:
We picked up trash in 22 of the 42 zones (52 percent)
Zone 0 = 2.5 bags
Zone 1 = 5 bags
Zone 2 = 11 bags
Zone 3 = 8 bags
Zone 4 = 8 bags
Zone 5 = 6.5 bags
Total for Week 4 = 41 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 166.5 bags!!!(and as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Trash vs. Treasure
I know that it seems I mention Renee in this section every week. Here is why: she walks Zone 2 (Johnnie Mercer’s Pier) on Monday mornings--lots of trash! Week 4 was no exception for her. She collected seven bags of trash and said she could have gotten more. Part of this trash included a dirty diaper (for the second week in a row--yuck). I don't understand why people think it is a good idea to leave dirty diapers on the beach or in parking lots or anywhere but the trash can, for that matter; but lots of people will leave dirty diapers by Johnnie Mercer’s Pier. I know because I once walked this zone as well, on a Monday, no less. I'm sure anyone who walks this zone can echo the same sentiments--it really does seem unbelievable how others leave their trash for the ocean to consume or for others to clean up. In fact, it was walking Zone 2 on a Monday morning that prompted my interest in collecting all of this data--imagine that!

Among her loot, Renee reported that she also picked up Ben's towel. She knew it was Ben's towel because it had his name on it! (See how funny you guys are--I love it!) The good news is that when Renee returned from her monitoring walk, the public works crew had arrived and were also picking up trash under the pier. The bad news for Renee, they also took her flip flops--oops! So when you guys find nice flip flops on your walks, please check with Renee to see if they are her size before you discard them--she could use a new pair!

Bonnie and Suzie picked up trash on Saturday around Johnnie Mercer’s and they also described it as a trash haven.

Dr. Doss and Chris also pick up litter in Zone 0 every week. They have a pattern of always finding eye wear of some sort whether it is sunglasses, goggles or eyeglass pieces—interesting . . . . wonder if this is just a favorite gathering place of discarded eye wear?

Angela found evidence of romance or skinny dipping or streaking in Zone 0 as she found panties and tighty whities.

Susan Miller walks Zone 3 and she found evidence of another kind--a fake breast. (I laugh even as I type it.) Oh, I'll just copy her e-mail here as it contains lots of good info besides:

Hi Ginger,
It was a beautiful morning at the beach today--although very hot, even at 6 a.m.! I collected two full bags of trash in Zone 3. Today I decided to bring all of the trash home with me, since most of it could be recycled, rather than throwing it in the trash bins on the beach. I almost gave up because the bags got so heavy.
I was shocked and appalled by the number of cigarette butts I picked up today- a total of 176, and that was from just one small strip of the beach! I also collected a large number of glass beer bottles. Among the more interesting things I found were a fake breast of some kind, which I suppose one could call a cutlet, and a very sparkly silver flip flop.
Right when I arrived at the beach today, I saw a gentleman playing with his dog a bit down the way. I began to rehearse what I would say to him in my head, but before I even got to him, a police officer zoomed by on an ATV. I felt a little bit bad for the guy, but also grateful as well, since the dog was not even on a leash.
Susan also edits the WB Sea Turtle Project Facebook account. If you have not checked us out on Facebook, please do. Susan does a fantastic job. You can see a picture there of the 176 cigarette butts that she collected.

Chuck Warden always finds construction lumber in Zone 5. Pretty soon he will have enough to build his own beach house!

In General
Most of you felt this week was cleaner than usual and some even expressed that the trash seems to be less this year. Well, you know me, I pulled out last year's report and found that we have actually collected more trash this year.

Last year, our total on week 4 was 131 bags as compared to this year at 166.5. This does not necessarily mean that the beach is not cleaner this year, but it does simply mean that we have absolutely collected more trash. I hope all of you are proud of your good stewardship of the Earth--it means a lot.

We did find less holes and structures this week, so that is a good thing. Maybe there has been better enforcement.

Volunteers did find dog poop in Zones 4 and Zones 5 on different days.

And as always, there were lots of cigarette butts....

Behind the Scenes
I know we feel alone sometimes, but we are not. Most people would like to see the litter situation improve. And although most people or groups of people are not monitoring the beach every single day for 90 days as we are, others do help.

As noted earlier in this newsletter, the public works deptartment works very hard to help keep litter off our beach.

Next week, the WB Anti-Litter Committee will hold its first meeting. This alone shows that the town and its officials are interested in moving toward better solutions in dealing with the litter problems that we are documenting here.

Alderman, Lisa Weeks picked up litter a couple of weekends ago around Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and also noted this as a problem area.

Many organizations also spend their time and resources in collecting litter from the beach. I will not name them as I know I would leave some out.

Former mayor, Stephen Whalen also walks our beach and picks up litter.

We truly are in this together, even if we have differing opinions on how to solve the problem. I am so glad to be a part of a group that is both respectful to Mother Earth and fellow human beings!

4th of July!
It is coming--so get ready. Fireworks remnants have already been seen on the beach, so expect more of this next week.

I truly hope you enjoy the holiday! But even more than that, I truly hope you find a nest! OMMMM!

Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project Trashy Talking Turtlers

Week 3: June 14 - June 20, 2010

Greeting Trashy Talking Turtlers,

You have been very busy this week looking for turtle tracks, picking up trash, filling in holes, reporting tents found on the beach, kindly informing dog owners that there is a $250 fine for having a dog on the beach and e-mailing me with your entertaining reports. I would not be honest if I said I do not enjoy the reports. Many of you are so humorous and I am amazed at the things you are finding on the beach and what you are willing to pick up.

Week 3:
We picked up trash in 28 of the 42 zones (66.7 percent)
Zone 0 = 5.5 bags
Zone 1 = 14.5 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3 = 13.5 bags
Zone 4 = 5 bags
Zone 5 = 7 bags
Total for Week 3 = 50.5 bags

Grand Total since June 1 = 124.5 bags! (and as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs and other random items that are too large for the bags.)

Turtle Tracks vs. Human Tracks
Where are those turtle tracks? I truly believe they are going to show up tonight, but I believe that every night. I often pray for WB to get a nesting sea turtle because I know we are all working so hard to protect the turtles and educate others about their plight. I also meditate and visualize that the turtles will come to WB. Some of you have shared that you do the same types of things. So, maybe if we all join together in one thought and send out positive energy every night (maybe at 9 p.m.), then the vibrations of our positive energy will surely travel across the sea and the mother sea turtles will come. It may not help, but it won't hurt, right?

Even though we have not been able to celebrate turtle tracks, we all too often see the tracks that are left behind by humans in the form of litter, holes, canopies and unattended dog poop. Much of the litter is accidental, but it is litter, nonetheless, and ends up in the vortexes of our oceans where sea life ingests it, gets tangled in it and is sometimes killed by it. This is but one reason why the work we do in cleaning the beach is so important. I thank you for your efforts in picking up litter as it is still an act of protecting sea turtles even if it is not in the form of finding a nest. I would so much rather be protecting a nest, but those things are out of our control at the moment.

We do know that turtle tracks are usually very visible, but sometimes can be more difficult to spot. So, please remember to look for tracks first and garbage second. Some of you walk the beach looking for tracks and then pick up the litter on the way back. Many of you walk as a team, so you look for tracks and trash simultaneously. Whatever your strategy is, I'm sure the turtles are very thankful for all of your work. Even if they have not nested on our beach yet, they are swimming just off our shore and a cleaner ocean is much better for them and for us.

Trash vs. Treasure
We know that turtles mistake plastic bags for jelly fish and will often ingest them for food. Well, it seems that we humans make the same mistake (in reverse). Renee was picking up trash in Zone 2 and stopped to pick up what she thought was a Ziploc bag only to discover that it was a jelly fish instead!

Kathleen and Morgan thought they saw a turtle on the beach and rushed closer only to discover it was a person asleep. Julie also found four people asleep in Zone 1.

Dick and Linda's luck turned this week as they found no treasures in Zone 1 and just four bags of trash.

Kim Meyer found a dread lock on the beach, but no person attached. She also found a new fishing or bait net which she gave to someone who was fishing and made him quite happy.

Martha found some really cool toys in Zone 1 and had the pleasure of meeting Doug Beach. Many of you may know him as he picks up trash on the beach every morning in Zone 2. He is always happy to see turtle volunteers contributing to the cause. And yes, Beach is his real last name.

Stephanie collected five bags of trash in Zone 3 and this was only at the tide line!

Annette subbed in Zone 3 and picked up five overturned trashcans and replaced the garbage from those receptacles. In addition, she picked up three bags of trash including a sheet, clothing articles and recyclables.

Jenny Johnston and her family monitored zone 5 on two different days this week and collected lots of cigarette butts. Jenny also saw about 8 -10 neatly piled dead baby sharks by the Oceanic Pier along with a line of charcoal and a partly burned cigarette package. Although the sharks did not appear to be burned, this is a disturbing scene to say the least.

Patterns that have been reported are lots of cigarette butts, straws, plastic wrappers, Sippy drink straw wrappers, children's toys, beach chairs, towels and also the plastic chairs that are left in the tide line at Crystal Pier. Several of you have reported these chairs over the past two weeks. There has been an occurrence in which a sea turtle has become entrapped in a plastic chair in the ocean and has died. Hopefully, Oceanic Restaurant will become more aware of this situation and will secure the chairs at night.

There was only one (unmentionable) reported on the beach this week and it was unopened. But, not to worry, as romance on the beach is not dead. Just read Joy's e-mail below:

Hola Ginger
Well the beach seems so much cleaner than last year at this time. Picked up only one grocery bag of miscellaneous plastic (broken beach toys, straws and covers, caps, etc.), three shoes and four beer cans. There was a group of college-age people with a dog. I told them of the ordinance and they just shrugged. However, at the south part of Zone 5 was a couple in the water having intercourse. It was such a pretty morning for it. They left all their clothes on the beach and I was so tempted to pick it up as litter but didn't. They did come out in all their glory as I walked by going the other way. Other than that a quiet morning. Oh yes lots of cigarette butts.

Why do we care about dogs, holes and structures?
Most of the veteran volunteers understand the dangers that dogs, holes and structures, such as tents and canopies, pose for nesting sea turtles as well as humans, but I will talk about this again as it is obviously still a problem on WB.

Let's start with dogs. This is the most difficult for me to discuss because I personally love dogs and I think they are fun to watch on the beach. I have a dog of my own and would love to be able to take her to WB to play.

However, there is a town ordinance against having dogs on the beach from April to September, and all other months, the dogs must be kept on a leash. I'm not sure what prompted the history of this ordinance, but I do know that these are the busiest months for humans on the beach ;and it is also sea turtle nesting season. Dogs would distract sea turtles from nesting and also may dig up the nests. Other problems that we see are that some owners are not responsible and they allow their dogs to poop on the beach without even cleaning it up.

This week there were two dog poops found in Zone 3 and one in Zone 4. Now, I ask you who wants to step in that when you are having a beautiful day at the beach lounging in the pristine sand? Also, who wants their children to play in sand that may contain dog poop? So, while I would love to take my dog to the beach, I can understand why there are some laws about this. We already have enough trouble with bacteria in our water, do we really want to add to this problem?

Page did kindly inform one dog owner this week that there is a $250 fine for dogs on the beach and the owner told Page they had a permit and quickly disappeared over the next access. A permit? Really? I have never heard of that before....

Onto holes
They are very dangerous for humans and sea turtles. Last year, I spoke about holes dug in beach sand from a scientific and engineering perspective. It is one of the most dangerous holes that can be dug and will easily collapse causing serious injury and sometimes death (60 percent of the time) to the victims who are found in a hole. The beach sand will quickly act as quick sand if it is near the tide line when it collapses. We see headlines and stories of this every year on the national news.

When I presented our information last year at the N.C. State Sea Turtle meeting, many of the beach coordinators and volunteers were as concerned about the issue of holes as they were the issue of litter. This has been a huge problem as nesting sea turtles have become trapped in holes and humans have driven ATVs in holes or walked into holes. Some holes are very deep and can be hard to see, especially at night when one is strolling on the beach.

This week very deep holes were reported in Zones 1 and 4, and 10 holes were reported in Zone 5 on Saturday. By the way, there is also an ordinance about holes on the beach that states holes should be filled in before leaving the beach.

Now about structures
There is an ordinance that states structures are not to be left overnight. Well, eight of you reported seeing structures last week and there was a structure in Zone 1 every day--I'm pretty sure it was probably the same structure. On Sunday, there were five structures in Zone 1--that's almost wall-to-wall structures!

Nesting sea turtles may decide not to nest if they run into a structure on the beach, or worse, they may become injured or entangled in a structure. Structure frames can also be dangerous to humans as they can be difficult to see when people are walking the beach at night. Just this morning, there was a structure in Zone 4 in front of the Blockade Runner Resort that was inside the tide line. This structure could have easily been washed out to sea creating more garbage in our oceans.

If you report the structures, the town will tag them to be removed in 24 hours. However, I have not seen any tags on any structures this year, so I'm not sure if the town is tagging them or not. One volunteer has pointed out that by the time you call, it is sometimes too late, as by the time the town officials arrive, they cannot prove if the structure was left over night or just set up for that day. Hmmm.... maybe other solutions need to be discussed.

Where to find recycling containers
Some of you have asked where the recycling containers are on the beach. Since I did not know where they all are, I did send an e-mail to find out. Below is a response from Mike Vukelich, public works director:

In answer to your question—the current locations of the recycling containers on the beach are:

Public Beach Access No. 4 (L-Shape Lot),

Public Beach Access No. 16 (Johnnie Mercer’s Pier),

Public Beach Access No. 29 (Stone Street)

Public Beach Access No. 36 (Lumina Townhouses)

We will be replacing several of these with corral-type structures housing containers for trash and another for recycling materials at L-Shape Lot, Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and Stone Street. The corrals were donated by Tony Butler’s Hope From Helen foundation, the Wrightsville Beach Merchants Association and the Surfrider Foundation.

What should we do with all of those toys?
A lot of the litter that we collect is truly accidental as it is in the form of children's toys and I have to believe that most, (not all), but most parents do not intend to leave their children's toys on the beach. Many of you have asked if there is a place to donate the toys. So, I am putting the word out. If anyone knows of an agency that could use these toys, please e-mail me and we will coordinate getting the toys to a new home.

Turtle Zen
Here is a message sent to me by Jenny Johnston. I loved this passage so much that I had to share. I think it truly is a reflection of the work we do and the message we share.

Here's a passage from the book "Animal Speak":

... Turtles remind us that the way to heaven is through the earth. In

Mother Earth is all that we need. She will care for us, protect us and

nurture us, as long as we do the same for her. For that to happen we must

slow down and heighten our sensibilities. We must see the connection to all

things. Just as the turtle cannot separate itself from its shell, neither

can we separate ourselves from what we do to the Earth...

Happy Turtling!

Ginger Taylor

Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project Trashy Talking Turtlers

Week 2: June 7 - June 13, 2010

Hi to all of you Trashy Talking Turtlers,
My, my, what a difference one week makes! Last week, many of you were happy to report that the litter was not that bad. This week, it has been a different story and many of you vented quite a bit of frustration about the situation.

Some of you were late reporting your totals for the first week, so I have changed those numbers accordingly: (Please do not hesitate to report even if you are late, as I can always change the numbers--I understand being late as we are all very busy)

Week 1:
Zone 0 = 3.5 bags
Zone 1 = 4.5 bags
Zone 2 = 7 bags
Zone 3 = 2 bags
Zone 4 = 5.5 bags
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags
Total for week 1 = 28 bags

Week 2:
We picked up trash in 26 of the 42 zones (61.9 percent)
Zone 0 = 2.25 bags
Zone1 = 9 bags
Zone 2 = 8.25
Zone 3 = 11 bags
Zone 4 = 6.5 bags
Zone 5 = 8.5 bags
Total for week 2 = 45.5 bags

Grand Total = 73.5 bags (and as always this does not include all of the beach towels, chairs and other random items that are too large for the bags.)
Good job at keeping our beach clean and plastic out of the mouths and stomachs of sea turtles and other marine animals. Hopefully, the turtles will take notice and come to nest at WB! Let's everyone send out welcoming vibes to the sea and all those mother turtles!

Trash vs. Treasure
Dick and Linda Chapman found more treasure in Zone 1 and can be found these days tossing a red competition Frisbee to anyone who will play.

Renee Tevelow can now get ready to go out on the town after shopping" in Zone 2--she can clean up with her new washcloth, wear her two new T-shirts and socks, accessorize with her plastic bracelet and her new shade of lipstick.

Susan Miller found a red and black jacket in Zone 3 along with six pairs of flip flops and one pair of bright pink underwear along with two people sleeping in sleeping bags!

Mellissa found one yucky (unmentionable) in Zone 4 (which she picked up with the aid of a stick), three flip flops and brand new, unopened cigars that looked expensive. If she had not thrown them away, she could have used them with the unopened bottles of wine that she found last year! Oh, except for she doesn't smoke . . . . not even expensive cigars.

Kim Meyer found another (X-rated unmentionable) by the life guard stand in zone 1 along side a very large cork, but no bottle of champagne.

Joy Miller found an old box of fishing lures, three broken chairs, and one umbrella in Zone 5 along with several different sets of dog tracks.

Page and Sara also found animal tracks in Zone 5, but they looked like a deer, pig or goat? I know because she sent the picture to my cell phone (strange--I'm betting on the deer).

Richard and Sara found a message in a bottle in Zone 2 and I found a message in a bottle in Zone 4, but the bottle was plastic and unfortunately the message was sad.

Many of you are reporting straws, juicy drink straws and the plastic wrappers for these straws, plastic beach toys, plastic bottles, beer bottles and beer cans, lots of cigarette butts and cigarette packaging and balloons.

Numerous large holes were reported in zones 1, 4 and 5. Many of you took the time to fill in the holes--thank you so much.

Dog tracks were reported in zones 2 and 5 with an unleashed dog spotted with his owner in Zone 5.

A structure was left overnight in Zone 1.

Cigarette Numbers to Ponder
There are typically 20 cigarettes in a pack. Many people smoke a pack or more a day. If only 100 people (this is a small number of people and I am sure if a study were conducted, the numbers would be much, much, higher) who visited WB smoked a pack a day and extinguished their butts on the beach, then that would be 2,000 cigarette butts per day. In 90 days (or three summer months), the number would be 180,000 cigarette butts. That's a lot of butts and if you think about the weekends and summer holidays, you can imagine that there are more than 100 people on the beach per day smoking and being irresponsible with their butts. You don't have to walk far on the beach to see evidence of someone sitting, smoking and extinguishing their butts in the sand.

The Ocean Conservancy conducts an International Coastal Cleanup every year. Beginning in 1990, they added cigarette butts, cigar tips and cigarette packaging to their data card. Since then, cigarettes have been the largest amount of litter collected during these cleanups. In 2007, the number of butts, cigar tips and packaging collected totaled 1,971,551. Cigarette litter equals 38 percent of worldwide debris according to the Ocean Conservancy numbers!

Realistically, this is only a small amount of the actual cigarette butts that are disposed of improperly because not everyone who picks up litter will stop to pick up every cigarette butt they see. Admittedly, I am one of those people. As passionate as I am about litter, I do not have time to pick up all the butts nor do I even want to touch them as they are very disgusting and smelly. So, my hat is off to those of you who take the time and consideration to pick up all those butts. Thank you thank you thank you. By name this week, you are Kim Meyer, Kathleen and Morgan Britton, Mellissa Dionesotes and Chuck Warden.

If I left anyone out, I apologize. However, I know that we have ALL picked up cigarette butts and cigarette debris at some point during our walks!

So, with numbers like these, a smoking ban makes sense, in my personal opinion. Hopefully, the WB BOA will revisit this one day.

Friends of WBSTP and WB!
Karen Bailey and her husband frequent WB and were able to witness the excavation of our Onederful nest last year. They even videotaped it and posted it on YouTube. You can see the link here:

Well, needless to say, the Bailey's have become true friends of the sea turtles and they are currently visiting WB for a couple of weeks. Not only are they enjoying fun in the sun, but they are walking the beach in the mornings in Zones 3 and 4 picking up trash on their vacation! How awesome is that? I am truly inspired by them. Also, Karen was able to meet some of the volunteers on their walks and was truly inspired by our own Nancy Faye Craig and states she is now a Nancy Faye Craig wannabe! (me too)

Benefits of Looking for Turtle Tracks!
While we have not yet found a turtle nest on WB, walking the beach in the morning does afford us some really awesome experiences that does not include picking up litter. Below are pictures that were taken by volunteer Jen Upham. I hope everyone has been able to appreciate the beautiful sunrise! I cannot thank you enough for all you are doing. We may not be cleaning up the oil spill, but we are helping Mother Ocean!

Ginger Taylor

Trashy Talking Turtlers Week 1

June 1 - June 6

Helllllooooo all you Trashy Talking Turtlers!

Wow! Has it been a year already? It is great to be back--good to hear from you all!

I want to thank all of the volunteers for their dedication to Wrightsville Beach (WB) and the sea turtle population. We sure hope the sea turtles will nest here this year. I also want to give a special thanks to those of you who are picking up trash. I know it is not a glamorous task, but it sure helps keep WB glamorous! Also, remember that if you can't pick up trash for some reason, that is okay, as it is not required to be a Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project (WBSTP)volunteer. We all understand if you are unable to pick up trash, don't have time, or even if you just don't want to. It really is okay, but I sure am excited when you do!

The Numbers:

Okay, since most of you would agree that I can write some long letters, I will get straight to the numbers first, but I have to explain the numbers before I do that. :-)

Remember that we have six zones (Zones 0 - 5). If we pick up trash in each zone everyday, then we would have 42 zones a week. These numbers are important because it shows the percentage of WBSTP volunteers who also voluntarily pick up trash----you guys are some volunteering fools!

Our monitoring season started on June 1 which was a Tuesday, so technically we only had six days this week, which would be 36 zones. But wait.... some people could not wait until Tuesday and they decided to pick up on Monday! Now, that is dedication! (and I thought I was into trash...). So, my hat is off to Dick and Linda Chapman, veteran turtlers; and also Renee Tevelow, a brand new turtler who could not wait one more week to get started. So on Memorial Day, Renee picked up trash in Zone 2 (Johnnie Mercer’s Pier, that is!!) Whoo Hoo! and the season begins!

Please don't forget that Nancy Fahey, our tireless Turtler Leader, has been monitoring since May 1 and she has called me often stating that she has gathered countless amounts of trash already.

Ok, ok... I'll get back to the numbers (sorry to keep you all waiting...)

If we count Monday, since some of you did in fact pick up that day, we picked up trash in 22 zones (52 percent). That is really great, especially since this is voluntary.

Trash per Zone: (grocery store sized bags--if you reported using a different type of bag, I converted it using Rick and Jill's trusted method from last year, in which four grocery bags equals one kitchen garbage bag.

Zone 0 = 3.5 bags
Zone 1 = 4.5 bags
Zone 2 = 5 bags
Zone 3 = 1 bag
Zone 4 = 5.5 bags
Zone 5 = 5.5 bags

Grand Total = 25 bags! Of course this does not include the items you could not fit into the bags.

Trash vs. Treasure
Some of you are just plain lucky in treasure gathering and others just gather trash! Dick and Linda found two pails, a rake, two pairs of flip flops, one pair of leather sandals and a pair of Calvin Klein sunglasses in Zone 1. Kym Davidson found a whole sand dollar and four pieces of sea glass in Zone 5. Richard and Sara found a wallet in Zone 2, which they returned. Renee found a back-pack with a Swiss-type Army knife in Zone 2 on the day she didn't even have to walk.

Along with her sand dollar, Kym also found a skimpy pair of panties and a shirt on lucky life guard stand No.13--not to worry, she used a stick to pick these up! Page and Sara found an ink jet cartridge in Zone 5 and they also found Nancy Faye Craig running! (Go Nancy Faye Craig!--you inspire us all!)

Vicki found a snorkel in Zone 0, but no mask. Lots of you found shoes, beach toys, straws, straw cellophane wrappers, cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles and a couple of broken beach chairs. But, Angela Cooke has to win the prize (if we only had a prize ;-)) as she found the hook, line and sinker in Zone 0.

Some of you found big holes and some of you even filled them in! Others of you did not find turtle tracks, but you found dog tracks instead. I'm sure, if this year is like last year, we will be hearing and discussing more about holes and dog tracks in the weeks to come.

Many of you were happy to report that you did not find a lot of litter; and some of you inspired others, who are not WBSTP volunteers, to pick up litter simply because they saw you doing it. Way to go WBSTP!

Why are we doing this?
For the sea turtles, of course! And also, because the ocean does not need any more plastic in it's bowels! If you remember from the letters I sent last year, there is a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean. Researchers have also discovered a garbage patch in the Atlantic as well. Here is a link to a video of what Capt. Charlie Moore has to say about the North Pacific Gyre. It is about seven minutes long, but is very informative and well worth your time. It is also disturbing, but the truth often is.

If you are a new volunteer and did not receive these letters last year, I encourage you to take the time to click on the link. If you are a returning volunteer, I still encourage you to watch as it is a good reminder of why we should reduce our consumption of plastic. Please feel free to share this with others. The more people are educated, the better.

Town of WB and Litter
This is a very exciting time to be a part of collecting litter data on WB. Most of you know that Mayor Cignotti recently rallied for a smoking ban on WB. As we know, cigarette butts create a lot of litter on the beach. This was an opportunity for WB to really be on the map as the first beach in N.C. to pass a smoking ban; however, the ban did not pass as the board voted against it 3 to 2.

What did happen as a result of the smoking ban movement was that more conversation was generated about the litter problem among the Board of Aldermen (BOA) and also among citizens of both, WB and Wilmington. The BOA vowed to take a stronger look at improving problems associated with the litter issue. A litter committee will soon be chosen to consult with the BOA members. WBSTP hopes to be able to offer some valuable information to the committee in this process.

Rumor has it that a couple of citations were issued during Memorial Day Weekend to people who disposed of their cigarettes on the beach. I have not checked this information; but if it is true, I think that action will send a message that litter, of any sort, will not be tolerated on WB.

Kudos to Holiday Inn
We know that there is usually more trash on the beach strand in front of businesses. This makes sense since beach goers are visiting these places of business. Last year, we noticed a pattern of straws littering the beach in front of the hotels and the Oceanic. Anne Marie Hartman, manager of the Holiday Inn Resort has implemented the use of biodegradable cups and straws. Her staff also monitors the beach in front of the hotel to help keep it clean and they make sure the trash cans are away from the tide line so that the trash does not get washed out to sea. I did share the video of Capt. Charlie Moore with Anne Marie and she said she was going to show it during the staff meeting at the hotel.

Although litter is still litter whether it is biodegradable or not (paper is biodegradable, but it is litter if it is on the ground), using biodegradable products is certainly a move in the right direction and we hope other businesses will do the same.

Thank you Anne Marie and Holiday Inn for all you are doing.

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital (STH)
The STH released 16 rehabilitated, healthy and strong turtles on Wednesday, June 2. It was a rainy, stormy day, but the turtles did not care! They were ready to go! If you have never visited the STH, I encourage you do so. They are open from 2-4 p.m. for tours during the summer months on every day except Wednesdays and Sundays.

Happy National Oceans Month
Did you know that June is National Oceans Month? I think it is appropriate to recognize this month and be mindful of the ways in which we can protect the oceans, especially in a time when oil is polluting our greatest natural resource. Thank you for all you are doing to make a difference. Let us celebrate Mother Ocean and protect her!

Please have fun on your walks, enjoy the sunrise, and may you find sea turtle tracks!

Ginger Taylor