Island Clean-Up for Earth Day!
By Elizabeth Burnham, Devin Kucsera and Caroline Toldo
Photos c/o Sarah Malinowski, Matt Edwards, and Caroline Toldo
On Saturday, April 22, the Fishers Island Community Center coordinated an Island Clean-Up for Earth Day. Unlike previous beach clean-ups, this event focused on the inland portions of the island as well as the shoreline. Community Center intern Caroline Toldo organized the event with the help of the Fishers Island Conservancy, the Fishers Island Waste Management District, and a number of individuals and organizations who volunteered their time or resources.
About 40 volunteers brought gloves, garden tools, and pick-up trucks to the Compost Station to check in and get trash bags and a map created by Anne Worsencroft (FI Conservancy) and Caroline. Some went off on foot around the Fort area, tracking the road out the Race Point, combing South Beach, or picking through the brush around the community tennis and basketball courts near the Community Center. Others took their bags a bit up-island, to spots they knew had accumulations of trash.
Participants brought back everything from soda cans dating to the days of pure cane sugar, to lost beach and bath toys, and even to a fire extinguisher riddled with bullet holes.
Click any photo to see a larger image or scrool through all.
The Malinowski/Herrick/Lighthouse Works crew of seven people collected an entire truckload of plastic and metal material and won a prize for most trash by volume. The Kucsera family, who worked on a north shore beach by the Castle, lifted over 300 lbs of tire, traffic pylon, and marine debris into their truck bed, and won the prize for trash by weight. Bob Rogers, who found the fire extinguisher, won a prize for strangest object.
As they returned to the Compost Station, many people told Caroline and attendant Annette Tourangeau (FI Waste Management District) about locations that still needed attention. Matt Edwards also shared that he uses an app called Litterati (available for iPhone and Android systems) that allows one to track where trash has been picked up. The data we collected on Earth Day from volunteers allows us to provide this map of trashed spots on Fishers. Click photo of app to see larger image.
While some of it is seasonal marine debris that has washed ashore in the winter storms or objects left over from improvement projects, much is household trash or beer cans tossed aside from moving cars or at beach parties. The Highway Department has set up barrels for trash and recycling at South Beach, Dock Beach, the Ballfield, and the Post Office. They spend a great deal of time separating and sorting the recycling from the trash, and therefore request that those barrels not be used for the disposal of household or transient boat trash, but rather be limited to trash collected by or produced at those locations.
Sadly, the amount of trash found shows that the community needs to be aware of the trash along the road and on the coast, and whenever they see a piece of trash on the ground, to stop and pick it up. Every little bit helps to keep the island cleaner. The Community Center and Conservancy have offered to sign off on community service hours for anyone who spends an hour or more doing their own personal island clean-up.
(Map may take a minute to load and open if the Internet is slow.)
This interactive Scribble Map shows all the areas that were recorded as visited on Earth Day. You can mouse over and grab the map to move it around to see more streets and beaches.
DON’T THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW
Grab a bag and help with the Fishers Island clean-up each day.