Beach Cleanup Honors Earth Day

Maplewood third-graders get direction from teacher Steve Schmidt, right, before heading onto the beach.
Maplewood third-graders get direction from teacher Steve Schmidt, right, before heading onto the beach.
Armed with reusable bags, the beach at Sunken Meadow State Park has never looked cleaner.
Armed with reusable bags, the beach at Sunken Meadow State Park has never looked cleaner.
Amazed at what they found, students tallied and measured their collected trash.
Amazed at what they found, students tallied and measured their collected trash.
Creating ‘art’ was a fun way to repurpose the trash found on the beech, even if it was only temporary.
Creating ‘art’ was a fun way to repurpose the trash found on the beech, even if it was only temporary.

In honor of Earth Day, Maplewood teacher Steve Schmidt coordinated a beach cleanup at Sunken Meadow State Park with his schools’ third-graders. Erica Cirino, a science writer, and artist, who produced a series of presentations about her experiences covering the story of plastic pollution, started the day with a presentation of her adventures at sea. Erica spent several months sailing the Pacific Ocean and reporting on the problem of plastic waste that’s finding its way in our oceans. This waste is causing problems with aquatic life and more.

In the spirit of reducing waste, we used garden gloves and reusable shopping bags to collect trash. Our students tallied and measured waste, and their findings will be reported to The Ocean Conservancy.   “We also created temporary artwork with the items found. The theme was to create something you love about the beach,” said Schmidt.  “My favorite was "Buoy Man.”