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GLIN==> Adopt a Beach, Help the Lakes

Title: Adopt a Beach, Help the Lakes

Alliance for the Great Lakes
For Immediate Release
Aug. 30, 2007

Adopt a Beach, Help the Lakes

Tired of finding cigarette butts, food wrappers or deflated balloons littering your favorite Great Lakes beach? Be part of the solution and join thousands of volunteers in cleaning Great Lakes shorelines during the Alliance’s Annual September Adopt-a-Beach Cleanup event on Sept. 15.
New and returning volunteers are needed to help clear the shorelines during this year’s 9 a.m.-noon event, which will be held in four of the eight Great Lakes states: Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana.

Adopt-a-Beach participants do more than pick up litter, however. By entering their findings into a growing database that is central to the Alliance’s clean beaches education campaign, volunteers help tackle the problem of beach litter at its source.

“We can stage cleanups around the Great Lakes every year, but the problem of beach litter won’t go away until people understand the implications of leaving that cup behind after a day at the beach,” said Jamie Cross, Adopt-a-Beach coordinator in Michigan.

Beach litter is more than unsightly, it’s dangerous. Small children play with cigarette butts; fish become entangled in balloons; and birds get their beaks trapped in discarded food packaging.

Participants in prior cleanups are spreading the word. Frustrated with the large number of cigarette butts littering Great Lakes beaches, for instance, Adopt-a-Beach volunteers are promoting major policy changes in Chicago as well as in several Michigan communities -- changes that range from smoking bans at public beaches to no-smoking sections to proposed statewide legislation in Michigan to make all beaches cigarette-free.

Part of the world’s largest shoreline cleanup, volunteers in the September Adopt-a-Beach event clear lakeshores of thousands of pounds of trash in a single day. The 2006 regional cleanup resulted in more than 1,700 volunteers hauling away nearly 6,500 pounds of trash from more than 27 miles of Illinois shoreline. And in Michigan, more than 2,000 volunteers removed 7,000 pounds of garbage from more than 100 locations.

As Adopt-a-Beach grows in popularity, the program is expanding its presence in other Great Lakes states. This marks the second year of the cleanup in Northwest Indiana and its third year in Southeast Wisconsin. The event is open to anyone: families, individuals, businesses, schools and community groups take part.

The Alliance has coordinated volunteer efforts in the Illinois and Michigan cleanups since 1991 as part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup, which is coordinated by the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C. 

The Illinois cleanup is supported by ITW Hi-Cone, Brunswick Public Foundation, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, REI, and in partnership with park districts along the shoreline. The Michigan cleanup is supported by the L.C. and Margaret Walker Foundation. In Wisconsin, the cleanup is supported by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Rockwell Automation in Milwaukee, and SC Johnson in Racine. The Indiana cleanup is supported by the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program and NiSource.

For more information, or to register online, see http://www.greatlakesadopt.org. For questions about volunteering, contact the following Alliance staff members:

Illinois and Indiana: Frances Canonizado, 312-939-0838 x228 or fcanonizado@greatlakes.org.
Michigan: Jamie Cross x12: 866-850-0745 (toll-free), or jcross@greatlakes.org.
Wisconsin: Art Montgomery at 414-559-0317or amontgomery@greatlakes.org.

Susan Campbell
Communications Manager
Alliance for the Great Lakes

Visit http://www.greatlakes.org