Saturday, Sept. 25 marks the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-Up Day, and the Finger Lakes Institute is doing its part to aid in the effort. FLI, in cooperation with the City of Geneva and Seneca Lake State Park, will host “Serving Through Science: Give Back to the Lake,” an event that allows HWS and Geneva community members to clean up the beaches of Seneca Lake.
“This is our sixth year of holding a shoreline clean-up,” says Community Outreach Coordinator Sarah Meyer. “We’re expecting our best volunteer turnout ever!”
More than 60 volunteers, including a group of more than 20 HWS students and another 30 from Geneva High School, will spend their morning picking up trash along the northern shore of Seneca Lake. Increased student involvement is thanks in part to Caroline Spruill ’12, who interned at the Ocean Conservancy this summer, and Lauren Lark ‘11, manager of the College’s Green theme house. The two helped to encourage their classmates to join the effort to give back to Seneca Lake.
The cleanup is being held in conjunction with the Colleges’ Homecoming and Family Weekend, which has resulted in more volunteers than years past. “We’ve had at least 10 families register because they will be on campus for the festivities,” explains Meyer.
Last year’s cleanup yielded an astounding 250 pounds of trash cleared by volunteers. “Even as a maintained park, there is a considerable amount of trash,” says Meyer. Due to the heavy amount of foot traffic the park receives from runners, sporting and community events, and picnickers, debris piles up quickly. “Occasionally you’ll find an odd tire or broken bicycle,” laughs Meyer. “But what we’re really getting down to are the food wrappers and a lot of fishing line.”
Volunteers will record data concerning the amount and types of trash amassed from the morning’s pick-up to report to the Ocean Conservancy. With this information, the Conservancy can lobby more effectively for better environmental law to protect our country’s waters and shorelines. “The program is wonderful,” remarks Meyer of the international clean-up. “From the campus to FLI to our positive relationship with the American Littoral Society, which seeks to protect America’s shorelines, there are a lot of players involved with helping Seneca Lake and our clean-up effort.”
With weather looking promising, Meyer can’t help but show her enthusiasm. “It’s going to be a very well attended event this year – I’m excited!” says Meyer. “This is something I foresee us doing for many years in the future.”
Clean-up begins at 10 a.m. at Seneca Lake State Park, where volunteers will meet at Pavilion 3, located near the park office. For those interested in joining the clean-up, registration is requested. Call Sarah Meyer at (315) 781-4382 or an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to register or to receive more information.