BY MARISSA BABITZ
The Wildlife Protection Club (WPC) went to John U Lloyd Beach State Park on Jan. 16 for its second beach cleanup of the year and to spread awareness about the environment. Ten people attended the event, which was open to members and nonmembers.
“Cleaning up the beach was really rewarding because not only did we have fun at the beach, [but also] we were helping the environment,” said club president Hannah Gutner.
Gutner said it’s important to clean up beaches, because people litter without realizing how it affects the animals.
“People don’t realize how severely a small piece of plastic can harm an animal when they throw their trash on the ground,” she said.
Club sponsor Amy Lupu said turtles eat the trash people leave behind and choke and often times die.
“Going out and cleaning the beach sets the example for others to care for the environment as well,” Ms. Lupu said.
WPC Vice President Camila Lim Hing said she always attends beach cleanups because she is very passionate about being an active member of the community.
“This is not my first beach clean up, and I’ve participated in many other beach clean ups with other clubs not affiliated with WPC,” Lim Hing said. “Not to mention I take a trash bag and pick up any trash when I go to the beach on my own time.”
Unlike the last beach clean up, WPC hosted a barbecue after as a reward for cleaning up the beach and a bonding experience.
“The barbecue is something we have never done before, and it was a really fun way to get club members and nonmembers acquainted,” Gutner said.
Club member Caitlin Mirabella said this was her first beach cleanup, and it was an eye-opening experience to see all of the litter at the beach.
“The beach was mostly littered with plastic bottle caps, plastic bags and Styrofoam,“ she said. “I didn’t realize how poorly people treat nature, and I was shocked to realize how much trash was around me as I cleaned up.”
Mirabella said she is glad she attended because she had a great and memorable time with the club.
“Even though I couldn’t stay for the barbecue, I still had a lot of fun cleaning up the beach, and I can’t wait to attend the next one,” she said.
Like Mirabella, Club member Mason Eiss said he had a great time cleaning up the beach, the barbecue was his favorite part of the event.
“The barbecue was a great addition to the event because it provides delicious food, a great atmosphere to meet the members and a nice reward after cleaning the beach,” he said.
WPC plans on having another beach cleanup in March.