October 4, 2018. By Anthony Norris:
In recognition of Centerpoint’s Year of Giving, and being an avid sailor who loves spending time on the water, I chose to volunteer with Save the Bay in September. Save the Bay is an organization comprised of volunteers and staff with the mission to protect and improve Narragansett Bay. Although Save the Bay offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities, the most common is cleaning up litter and debris along Narragansett bay .
On my volunteer day, I was one of 18 participants at the beautiful Colt State Park in Rhode Island. The scenery there is absolutely stunning, offering an extra dose of motivation to keep such beauty preserved. Before setting off, we were all given a quick safety briefing and reminder of the importance of our efforts. We each had at least one partner so that one could pick trash and the other record the collected items on a sheet that listed common items for tracking. Once a trash bag was filled, teams would record the weight and head back out for further collection. Fortunately for myself and my partner, we found a large rusted piece of metal which greatly added to the weight of our bag. The most common items that we found were Styrofoam, (ex: take out containers/cups, foam coolers etc.) glass, and fishing line; all items that are clearly harmful to the wildlife that is native to the park.
The data collected from Colt State park and other locations offers critical insight into determining trends and common items found along the shoreline. With this information, Save the Bay works with state and local governments to pass laws that aim to keep the shoreline clean and protected. A great example of this can be seen with the recent movement to eliminate/replace plastic straws which notoriously endanger sea life. Furthermore, by collecting data, Save the Bay can attract more donors and provide current contributors peace of mind knowing that their donations are being put to good use.
Save the bay is a wonderful organization offering many activities in addition to site clean-up, including public education through the observation of sea life, habitat restoration, and even opportunities to maintain Save the Bay aquariums.
I had wonderful time enjoying the warm weather and wonderful sights, this time from the shore rather than the sea, all while knowing I was making a difference in cleaning up the shores of Narraganset bay.