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The Blog Aquatic

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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What Goes Up Must Come Down: Celebrate the Fourth of July with a July 5 Cleanup

Posted On July 2, 2013 by

fireworks

Credit: Jon Rawlinson via Flickr

Watermelon, baseball, cookouts, beach trips and fireworks: Does it get any better than summer? Summer is my favorite season for many reasons, but sitting in the sand with a warm summer breeze while watching fireworks takes me back to being a kid and the sheer joy summer entails.

The Fourth of July is also a day that unites all Americans. No matter where you live, it’s the perfect day to gather with family and friends, spend time outside and end the evening gazing upward at colorful explosions in sky.

But amid the excitement of finding the perfect perch to watch the fireworks display and the rush to beat the traffic after the show concludes, it’s easy to forget all the small pieces of cardboard and plastic that float back down to the ground after the amazing spectacle in the sky. Unfortunately, this debris can end up in our ocean, affecting the health of people, wildlife and economies.

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Saving the Ocean One Cleanup—and One Jar of Pickles—at a Time

Posted On September 14, 2012 by

Nicholas used a tasty family recipe to raise money for the ocean.
Credit: Courtesy Nicholas Wheeler.

Nicholas Wheeler of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, has been busy this summer canning some seventy jars of pickles. What do pickles have to do with the ocean?

The 14-year-old is quick to draw a direct link. Among the weirdest things he’s found during beach cleanups was a full jar of pickles that had never been opened. Besides, they’re one of his favorite things to munch on.

“My mom’s grandmother had a pickle recipe,” he says. “I wanted to try it out because I love pickles. I’m going to sell them and give the money to Ocean Conservancy because ever since I was little, I’ve loved the ocean.” Continue reading »

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Cartoonist Jim Toomey Explains How Trash Gets Into Our Ocean

Posted On September 13, 2012 by

When I interviewed cartoonist Jim Toomey recently about his comic strip Sherman’s lagoon, which features Sherman the lovable great white shark, I discovered that his passion for conservation extends to every aspect of the ocean.

This week, as we look forward to Ocean Conservancy’s 27th International Coastal Cleanup this Saturday, September 15, we want to share his latest project, a two-minute video he’s produced with our long-time Cleanup partner, the United Nations Environment Programme, to tell people about ocean trash.

UNEP’s Regional Office for North America is producing a whole series of short videos to raise ocean awareness. Jim delivers these bite-size ocean lessons with humor, making them fun with the help of his colorful cartoon friends. Continue reading »

Cleanups: Going after Clean Water Hook, Line and Sinker

Posted On September 12, 2012 by

Fishing is fine on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Credit: Catherine Fox

Fishing. It’s a cherished pastime that takes us away from the daily grind and instantly sets the mind at ease. “When the fish are biting, no problem in the world is big enough to be remembered,” said writer Orlando A. Battista.

Whether you love fishing or just enjoy the thrill of walking along a clean beach and watching wildlife, it’s important to understand that lost tackle can have serious consequences if we don’t clean it up.

Fishing gear lost in the water may not seem like a big deal compared with other types of trash, but when left behind inadvertently by fishermen whose lines break or snag, it’s a definite hazard:

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A Small Boy’s Example: Anyone Can Make a Difference for the Ocean

Posted On August 22, 2012 by

Instead of saying “cheese,” Ryan shouts “FISHIES!” The ocean is lucky to have this boy on its side.

You are never too old—or too young—to have an impact on the world.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a five-year-old with a big heart. Ryan, whose favorite fish is “the puffer fish ’cause he blows up into a big prickly ball,” wanted to help the ocean.

With his parents Angela and Matt, he came up with the idea of creating and selling ocean-themed magnets. And he generously decided to donate half the profits to Ocean Conservancy to help protect ocean life.

When Angela considered using starfish or sand dollars for the magnets, Ryan was the one who quickly nixed this idea because they are living creatures. Instead, he picked driftwood.

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Cleanup Volunteers Find Weird and Wacky Trash on Our Beaches

Posted On August 21, 2012 by

Volunteers found this chic wardrobe accessory during the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup in Washington, D.C., along the Anacostia River. Credit: Lucian Fox

A grand piano. A fifty-two-pound bag of dog hair. Chandeliers and kazoos, lawn chairs and lottery tickets. These are just a few of the crazy things discovered along lakes, rivers and the ocean’s shores over the past quarter-of-a-century during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

Tracking trash
Volunteers tally every item they pick up during the Cleanup, and Ocean Conservancy publishes the results in the annual Ocean Trash Index.

That information helps identify which items are showing up where, so we can take steps to stop ocean trash at the source. The official data card includes space to record 52 different things, from small cigarette butts and balloons to big household appliances.

And then there’s the section where volunteers jot down their “weird finds.” Continue reading »