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!


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