Approximately 50 volunteers took part in “Serving Through Science: Give Back to the Lake,” a local initiative of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-up Day. The Finger Lakes Institute, in collaboration with the City of Geneva and Seneca Lake State Park, sponsored the local Clean-Up Day event, which entailed cleaning roughly three miles of coastline, from Seneca Lake State Park to the pier by the Ramada Inn. This is the largest number of volunteers in the event’s six-year history, and they removed 300 pounds of trash, more than the 250 pounds the event yielded last year.
Since Clean-Up Day took place this year during the Colleges’ Homecoming and Family Weekend, several HWS students were joined by their families in the effort. Volunteers from the Colleges community, Geneva, Waterloo and Seneca Falls, a Girl Scout troup and students from the Geneva High School Science Club and Mynderse Academy took part in the event.
“This event was such a great success,” says Community Outreach Coordinator for the Finger Lakes Institute Sarah Meyer. “It was nice to see the variety of people who came together for this important cause, from a preschool-aged child to grandparents with their granddaughter, and from several towns in addition to the Colleges. It was truly a whole community event.”
Coordinated by the American Littoral Society, the International Coastal Cleanup event gives community members the opportunity to participate in hands-on protection of New York’s valuable shoreline. Volunteers recorded data concerning the amount and types of trash amassed from the morning’s pick-up to report to the Ocean Conservancy. Data regarding refuse collected along the shores of the state’s lakes and rivers is used to better identify sources of debris and, with this information, the Conservancy can lobby more effectively for better environmental law to protect our country’s waters and shorelines.
Among the more unique – or disturbing – finds this year were a number of tires, a roughly 10-foot-long hose, and a Halloween mask.
Caroline Spruill ’12 and Kim Goral ’13, both of whom interned at the Ocean Conservancy this summer, and Lauren Lark ‘11, manager of the Colleges’ Green theme house helped to encourage their classmates to join the effort to give back to Seneca Lake.
Spruill echoes Meyer’s sentiments, “It was great to see so many people from HWS and the Geneva community coming together to be a part of a world wide effort to mitigate the effects of marine debris.”
Goral credits her internship at the Ocean Conservancy with teaching her about the ocean and how it the precious resource is taken advantage of by people.
“I feel that it is my responsibility to give back to an environment that has given me and the rest of the world so much. By doing our part and helping clean up our waterways, we have the ability to inspire change and teach people about the marine debris issue that is plaguing our planet.”
In the photo above, Christopher Gaynor P’14 of Southampton, N.Y., and his daughter Carla ’14 contribute 13 pounds of trash as part of the International Coastal Clean-Up Day on Seneca Lake.