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

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