The Poolesville Bay Coalition is one of the most active student organizations in the watershed. It was formed by a group of students with the Global Ecology program at Poolesville High School after attending a CBF Student Leadership summer course. They are also one of the original member organizations of CBF’s Student Bay Advisory Council.
My Name is Jeeva Thaivalappil, I am a sophomore at Poolesville High School. (Class of 2017)
A couple Saturdays ago, a few students from our Bay Coalition club went out to Dickerson Conservation Park for the annual International Coastal Cleanup. The International Coastal Cleanup (or ICC) is held every 3rd Saturday in September. The goal of ICC is to help keep trash out of the water. We teamed up with other people who came to volunteer, there were about 20 people present in total.
We split into teams of four, each taking a bag for recyclables and a bag for trash. Aside from just collecting trash we recorded the data of what we found and how much of each item we collected. Mr. Sparrow, our club coordinator, brought recycling bins. We took any recyclable items we found and put them in the bins to take back to school for recycling later. The event lasted for about four hours, and in that time period we managed to collect a lot of trash and over 100 items of recyclables!
Collecting all this trash and recyclables made a huge difference. It limited the chance of it ending up in the Potomac River, which would have impacted the marine life and condition of the river, eventually making its way to larger bodies of water such as the Chesapeake Bay.
An issue that we stumbled across was a company that packages its fishing bait into containers that are not recyclable in Montgomery County. We hope to address this issue by spreading awareness and contacting the company in the future.
I got involved in this project because I aim to make an impact in our environment. With this opportunity I was able to help stop the flow of trash from land, to lake, to stream, to sea. Last summer, I attended one of the CBF summer leadership courses which was an eye-opening experience to the condition of the Bay and how our little impacts can make a big difference. From that experience I learned to become a better leader, and what we could do to help the Bay. So when this opportunity presented itself I decided to do just that.
I really enjoyed doing this project because it was a great opportunity to get involved in my community, where the data we recorded would not just help locally, but internationally too. Teaming up with other local organizations is a great way to build more local connections, where others can make a bigger impact. In the future I’d like to participate in more cleanups and work with other organizations.
For more information on the ICC and how you can join a cleanup near you, visit www.oceanconsevancy.org/cleanup
For CBF resources on how to organize your own independent cleanup, visit http://www.cbf.org/join-us/education-program/student-wave/project/stream-cleanup
For information about CBF Student Leadership summer courses, visit http://www.cbf.org/SLsummer