Monday, July 5, 2010

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

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