Raising raise public awareness of the trash problem is an important part of my summer internship program. Clean Jordan Lake’s trash cleanups will never end unless the public gets behind the idea of trash prevention.
We met with staff at the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area to explain our idea of setting up a public awareness display at a couple of their popular beaches on a weekend. Permission was granted and plans made to be at Ebenezer Church Beach and Seaforth Beach on July 16th.
The center attraction in our display was a mini-pontoon trash barge built by local high school students from plastic bottles removed from the shoreline in a recent cleanup. The same REI grant that provides my summer internship was used to print flyers and large signs which explain the causes of trash, the importance of removing trash, and how people can volunteer with Clean Jordan Lake.
The goal of REI is to enrich recreational experience at local places like Jordan lake. Partnering with Clean Jordan Lake will help produce a cleaner shoreline and emphasize community involvement for the benefit of everyone.
When July 16th rolled around, I set up the display at our first location, Ebenezer Church.
As people walked by to use the restroom, they could come over and see our display. Several adults stopped to talk to me at Ebenezer. Two women thanked Clean Jordan Lake and explained how they currently support us and volunteer with their clubs. One man, an avid explorer of the outdoors, told me he “always picks up his mess” during his adventures. After two hours, I took down the display and moved over to Seaforth.
There was a larger crowd at Seaforth, providing an unique array of responses and questions. Some people assumed I was a Park Ranger, asking me for directions and even giving me lost car keys. A kind woman took multiple flyers and said she would hand them out to leaders in her organization. One man commented that there needed to be more trash cans on the beach because “people are too lazy to carry their trash back with them”. A State Park Ranger drove by and asked if he could take a dinosaur from our trash barge to add to his collection. His collection consisted of a dozen salvaged toys from the beach that he had picked up on the job.
After the two hour shift I broke camp and headed back to the storage unit. I was glad that people had stopped to read our signs and talk. Hopefully it helped them to think about their roles as visitors to the lake’s beautiful habitats.
Luke Heffernan, Summer Intern for Clean Jordan Lake, supported by grant from REI