As part of the Ocean Conservancy‘s 2012 International Coastal Cleanup, Dee Serage of the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) organized volunteers to pick up and document litter on our beaches and coastlines this past Saturday. So the beach on Sanibel from Blind Pass to Bowman’s is free and clear of any trash because of our fun little cleanup crew in the photo above from left to right… Susan (Soul Sister Susan), Daron who was our efficient record keeper, me, Super Sheller Clark, Judy, Grant, Cameron and Berringer.
We spread out and literally combed the beach.. or should I say “litteraly”.
We searched high on the beach for trash…
…and we searched low on the beach for litter. We had to leave these big shells piles for another day but couldn’t help but look for something unusual.
Berringer did find a few unusal shells. Oh, and remember the SPOTTED EAGLE RAY I showed on my last video? Clark had “spotted” the ray in the water and told everybody to come look at it but Berringer is the one who knew exactly what it was right away. “Look! It’s an EAGLE RAY!” (you see why I like him?)
He found a beautiful yellow ALTERNATE TELLIN pair…
And look at the bright purple color of this SOUTHERN HORSE MUSSEL !
It even has purple in the interior…
Grant found this very cool completely dried PUFFER FISH…
This is what I call cool BEACH BLING…
Grant also found this sweet little SEA URCHIN…
Yes, there were lots of shell piles like I showed you in the cyber shelling photo on my last post with but we were on a mission to pick up trash and we had a very long walk so we only picked up the cool unusual things that didn’t weigh much… like this ROSEATE SPOONBILL FEATHER! We rarely find these…
Clark brought home this aqua buoy. We couldn’t throw that away!
But back to the main reason we were there… to rid the beach of any trash. Cigarettes, plastic bottles, plastic caps, more and more plastic were the top items found but I was so surprised to see so many balloons with ribbons on the beach. Balloons are a huge NO-NO to bring to the beach! They can get swallowed or wrapped around wildlife so please never take balloons to the beach for any occasion.
Fortunately, our beaches aren’t terribly littered so I think we only filled up 7 fairly small bags which is not so bad for a 2 and 1/2 mile walk. But Clark didn’t stop there. He even saw trash thrown over the beach access boardwalk so he fished it out under the rail. Go Super Sheller Clark!
I’m sure yall do this already, but just a reminder while we are shelling… let’s pick up any trash and put it in our shell bag until we can find a trash can or dumpster to dispose of it. Okay, So… lets recap what we do as “shellers”. On our beach walks we can get exercise, find treasure, explore, learn about wildlife and the creatures of the sea AND save the planet AND spread peace on earth. LOL Yes! Shellers save the planet! We are the Super Shellers!
Great job on the clean up!!!
I have to wonder about that puffer fish. When Thomas and I were down there after Irene we came across a dying puffer fish somewhere between Blind Pass and Bowman’s. He picked it up off the beach and tried to get it swimming again. He thought it was going to make (but mom knew otherwise). Gotta wonder if that was the same guy :(
We also came across one of those huge shell piles but the morning we were there (Ii think it was Sat the 1st), it was smelling so bad that we made the decision to not search through it for treasures.
I want Sanibel Island to be my forever home or at least three of the winter months here in Pennsylvania; alas, will have to do more discussion with hubby when he retires.
Saving the world and environment – Yes Yes You should run for president!
can’t wait 2 come in march , my gift 2 me 4 my birthday, hope there r shells left 4 me, lol, :), think i’m gonna stay @ Island Inn, ?????does that sound right?& also still have 2 get Delta airline tickets….want 2 come then 4 show & fair <3
What a wonderful thing to do. Kudos to all the volunteers!! (I second Loretta’s nomination of Pam for President) :)
Instilling a love for shells & beach combing at a young age starts a life long love affair with the beach. I was super encouraged by the amount of kids that turned out for our coastal clean-up here on Manasota Key. If you love something – like the beach – you will take care of it. I will not rant here about the 1,000’s of cigarette butts we picked up. I said my piece over at my blog. Thanks for all you do Pam to keep the importance of being good stewards of our SWFL beaches front & center. xo
Yes! I love doing beach clean up (even though it is hard work) and I love the whole idea of beach clean up. I always try to pick up a few pieces of trash when I am shelling. Actually it would be a a great idea if, when we shell, we each bring a small folded-up bag to put small bits of trash in, as well as a bucket or bag for shells.
Beaches look really beautiful when they have no plastic trash on them.
Pam, we shouldn’t be surprised that you give your all to protect your beaches, but today’s post shows just how thoughtful you and Clark (and the other members of the beach cleanup crew) are!! I will bring a separate bag to pick up litter when I come to Sanibel in February to help do my part!!
Had a great time and did a little good too- yay! I did forget to get that pufferfish out of the back of my car- oooooo not looking forward to it now!
Thank you so much Pam and please extend my appreciation for all who participated and cleaned up other people’s messes. So much wildlife is harmed by the litter. Turtles ingest plastic bags mistaking them for Jellyfish. You probably saved a life :-).
We didn’t realize how clean the beaches were on Sanibel when we were there in June until we left our week there and went and spent 3 nights on the Atlantic side just north of Ft. Lauderdale. Our shell bags were full of trash and broken glass (and some pretty cool shells too!). Thank you for making Sanibel such a wonderful place to visit!
Heroes every one!
You guys rock!!!
great post…FYI – the beach cleanup is an international event sponsored every year by the Ocean Conservancy and several other organizations, eg in the northeast usa and other parts of florida its the American Littoral Society. we’ve been doing this every september for years and years.
for info. you can go to the americal littoral society website, als.org i believe it is. Or check out the ocean conservancy website.
mylar balloons and strings from the balloons are very common beach trash, unfortunately they tend to just float in and drop in or wash up after being aloft, and its hard to pinpoint the origin.
Such a valued and important project. Kudos to all who participate where ever the beach is.
And thank you Pam for sharing how you and others help in your area. A haven all your flooowers love.
Thanks, Pam for all you and SS Clark do for the beach and for us!
I know some of this litter comes in with the tides, but most of it is probably left behind by beach-goers with no conscience when it comes to leaving debris in their wake. Thanks to you, Clark and all those that volunteer to clean up our beautiful beaches.
John & Kathie
It is great that beach cleanup days on Sanibel yield very little in the way of trash. My frien an I almost always have spare bags in our pockets and often fill one with bottles/cans, fishing line, bottle caps, hair ties, etc. Since I shell with long forceps/tweezers (to pick up the tiniest treasures!) I even pick up cig butts. I’ve picked up towels, undies, hats, and more. Be careful with “flyable” items when boating, often the things we find on the beach have blown off boats!
I also share my bags with unprepared shellers who have their hands full!
Thanks to all who help to keep the beaches clean and healthy for us visitors as well as the critters who call it home. Humans can be so trashy!!! On another note, will be visiting in October and would love to see a report on the Blind Pass area and how the dredging this summer changed it. Is there still a sand bar? Thanks Pam for letting us “visit” Sanibel through your pictures and videos!
I’ll bet alot of the balloons we see washed up on our beaches originate from events where hundreds are let go into the air. Unfortunately, they have to land somewhere. That practice should really be illegal.
Thanks for keeping the Sanibel beaches beautiful.
I am looking at the tire tracks…legal or what? May be left from the dredgers? I once met an older gentleman who had full bags on the beach…curious about his finds I asked what he liked to collect. He replied that he had been coming to Sanibel for so long that he had too many shells…so now he collected trash. His bags were full of plastic, etc. May be me some day, but still picking up both…shells and trash.
Marie, Those tracks were probably from the dredge guys getting the last of their equipment and maybe also the turtle trackers. You are right though, we usually dont see lots of heavy tracks like that.
Oh, by the way, that horse mussel? I think it is probably not the Southern Horse Mussel but the American Horse Mussel, the other one that lives on Sanibel.
I was in Bailey’s the other day and heard a few people at the counter saying that they were buying the balloons to go fishing with (they should use something else that isn’t so harmful to the environment!!)…so that might be why you found those balloons…remind me next year cause I would luv to be a part of cleaning our beaches!!
I just found this post. Great info! Pam, more on sea urchins if you take requests. Thanks!