Google+ Followers

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ocean Springs Middle School Takes Action and Tackles Debris on Deer Island

Ocean Springs Middle School came out on November 7th, 2012 to take marine debris head on!  We set out on the Sea Explorer to clean up site #1 on the North side of  Deer Island and man did we find a lot.
The debris was trying to hide in the grasses planted on the island... we found those sneaky pieces of trash.  They went through all the vegetation in the half mile segment and collected a lot of curious things such as, large fragments of a foam-core sign, coat hangers, door knobs from boats and a 55 gallon drum!
The most interesting pieces of debris collected are pictured below.  We were all on our hands and knees, digging up a Coke factory plastic pallet, pair that with other Coca-Cola beverage containers and the students from Ocean Springs Middle School and you get a great photo opportunity!  This is a clear message that we are responsible for the proper disposal of what we consume, plastic bottles and styrofoam cups are two of the most commonly collected pieces of debris on Deer Island.
The students were very diligent and put forth a strong effort collecting everything from the plastic pallet pictured above to large pieces of treated wood covered in fabric!  They got really excited when they spotted  a 55 gallon drum further down the shoreline, so the boys ran down to collect it, eager to remove something so large and surprisingly entertaining =)
Let the games begin...
Let the games continue...
We all took turns moving the larger pieces of debris down the island towards the boat, the guys pictured below decided to carry this piece of treated wood a little differently.  Who knew debris removal could be this much fun?!  (I did!)

Congratulations to you all, we collected a total of 533.04 lbs of debris along a half-mile segment!  I really appreciate all your hard work, we filled the wheel barrow until it was over-flowing!  I enjoyed working with you all and I hope that you continue to educate others about the marine debris problem and what we can do to help =)
Good attitudes, hard work and no fear of getting your hands dirty made you all a great group to work with!
Keep it clean to keep it green =)

Crossing State Lines to Collect Debris

All the way from Batchelov, LA the participants from Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary came to do their part for the Mississippi Gulf Coast on October 26th, 2012.  We started bright and early, headed out to Deer Island and started to comb the beach along site # 3 on the South side.

For many of the students, it was their first time on a boat and I was happy to be there for that first trip =)  The students began their trip, all smiles and ready to go get that debris!
All of the participants took the marine debris problem to heart and stooped to pick up every cigarette butt they could find... there were so many, that it took us hours to get them all!
After a long day of picking up debris, we decided to stop and take our picture next to the sail boat on Deer Island that was pushed up and left there by Hurricane Isaac this Fall.  These students were all excited about this project and were taking in every bit of information and physical experience of being on Deer Island!
We collected a total of 167.45 lbs, congratulations Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary... now that's something worth celebrating!
Thank you all again very much for your hard work and dedication in a project that has become a passion for me.  I'm so glad that you all are taking action and educating others in your community about the marine debris issue!  The teachers and students of Upper Pointe Coupee Elementary are currently working with the local sheriffs department to create a recycling education program in their area =)  Keep up the good work!  Your efforts are greatly appreciated and will not go unnoticed!

D'Iberville Middle School Demolishes Debris on Deer Island

D'Iberville Middle School came out on October 19th, 2012 to do their part for the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  We cleaned up site #2 on the North side of Deer Island, where the class hopped to it and wasted no time before sweeping the island for debris!
This group was very hard working and really took the marine debris problem to heart, picking up even the smallest pieces of trash from the wrack line!  The group is pictured below, hard at work and ready to take a fine tooth comb to the shoreline.
We found a lot of mystery metal pieces with oysters growing on them, each piece weighed ~ 5-10 lbs!  A growing issue within the marine debris problem is the transportation of invasive fouling species on pieces of debris from one place to another.  Scientists have nicknames these fouling species "hitch-hikers."
Along with debris, the students found many different types of shells and bones from local species.  There's nothing better than seeing the curiosity in a student when they pick up bones on the beach and ask where it came from, how it died and why it's important =)  This group was particularly inquisitive, I see many scientists in the making!
Some unusual objects that we found include a deeply buried steel rope from a large ship, a couple pairs of shoes and diapers.  The young lady pictured below, tried to dig out the large rope with her own two hands, now that's dedication =) 
I want to thank the D'Iberville Middle School class for participating in the Mississippi Marine Debris Removal & Prevention Project and for doing such a great job!  We collected a total of 348.04 lbs that day!  I hope that you all take the enthusiasm and passion you had during this project and pass it on to others in your community.  Coastal stewardship can be contagious, so spread the word!

Thanks again guys, you are a great group of kids and I had a great time on our trip =)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Brushing up on Marine Debris with the Boy Scouts!

Boy Scout Troop 271 came out to clean up Deer Island on Saturday September 15th, 2012 ready to tackle whatever was thrown in their way.  There was a lot to do, so we got right down to it and cleaned up site #3 on the South side of Deer Island.      
There was a lot of debris in the storm wrack line on, we found lots of treated wood, entangled string, broken  lawn chairs and small plastic fragments.
We worked so hard, we decided to take a break and take in the view while reusing some of the debris collected =)
The strangest item found to date is pictured below!  A plastic doll arm!
Congrats to Troop 271 for collecting, sorting and weighing a total of 1,495.26 lbs!  This is now the record to beat for all other participating groups!

I want to thank the Boy Scouts for their hard work and determination!  We really appreciate your efforts and hope you continue making environmentally friendly decisions, helping with the mitigation of pollution.  
"Marine debris is harmful to our environment, it's inhabitants and our economy and is's time to make a difference, so get involved today!"

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kicking the Debris Habit with the Keesler Group

The first group to take on Deer Island for the 2012-2013 debris removal season was the home-school group from Keesler Air Force Base.  This group contained a variety of grade levels and proved to be great environmental stewards and a truly hard working group of people!
We set out to clean up site # 2 on the North side of Deer Island and filled up our first round of bags right from the get-go! 
The popular camping site was full of plastic bottles, caps and rings and the all time champion of debris, cigarette butts and lighters.

We collected so much debris in the beginning that we had to leave a pile for the boat to pick up later!  We found large plastic storage containers, plastic buckets, a large tarp and a fence that washed up from a local beach.

This trip was the first trip for the 2012-2013 marine debris clean up year, but also the first trip after Hurricane Isaac.  We were prepared for pretty much anything a storm can throw at you, but the tarp in the picture below was a bit more than we had bargained for.  Thank you for going the extra mile and successfully removing such a large hazard from our coastal waters!
This group collected a total of 393.65 lbs of debris from Deer Island!  Congratulations to you all and thank you so much for being a great group!  The future looks a lot brighter and cleaner due to all your hard work and dedication to being a part of the pollution solution =)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Madonna University- Sweeping the Coast with An Anti-Trash Toast!

Madonna University came out to lend a helping hand on June 1st, 2012.  This trip was the first since Moss Point High School which went out on May 11th, so needless to say, I expected quite a load of trash and was ready for a day full of debris!    


And Boat Seats... OH MY!

We headed out to Deer Island to clean up site #1 and ended up pushing through into site #2 as well; both sites are located on the North side of Deer Island.  We cleaned up everything from plastic bottles, caps and aluminum cans to loads of duct tape, boat seats, tables, propane tanks and inner tubes! 

Another clean up day, more and more trash!  This was one heavy load, we collected a total of 655.21 lbs!  This total included an estimate on the weight of a huge piece of wooden debris that the students so diligently loaded onto the boat and was too large to move to the weighing station!

These students and teachers are a part of a service learning group that came down for the College Field Program to check out the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory and help us with ongoing projects.  Thank you so much for all of your hard work!  I hope to work with your school again soon... keep it green!

Teachers Take on Deer Island 4th of July Debris

Welcome teachers to the 2012 Marine Debris Teacher Workshop!  We had participants from all over Mississippi and Louisiana, and after meeting all the teachers for this years program, I know this year's going to be a good one!
The workshop took place on July 5th and 6th, 2012.  On July 6th we hit the water and headed out to Deer Island for the clean up portion of the workshop.  Boy did we hit the ground running!
We cleaned up two sites, site # 1 on the North side of the island and site # 4 on the South side.  We ran into the dreaded landscape of left over tent frames, fireworks and party supplies! 
When we came upon something too large to move or a significant pile of debris, we used the GPS to mark a way point.  These way points are logged in the spreadsheets and used to map the areas on the island with large and unusual debris deposits to help identify the source later on in the project.
These ladies... and one gentlemen... really put the pedal to the metal and swept everything but the sand up from Deer Island!  Great job everyone!

We pushed through the heat and after a long day, it was finally time to load the boat up and enjoy the boat ride back!

After all was said and done, we collected a total of 648.80 lbs of debris!

Thank you all so very much for your hard work and perseverance!  I cannot wait to work with you and your groups later on this year and into the spring of 2013!  The new year is looking brighter every day thanks to your efforts =)