Beach sweeps are a great way to make a difference and get your community involved in protecting the environment. It is the perfect way to initiate change and take a hands on approach at getting involved. Organizing your own beach sweep isn’t as difficult as you may think, an we at the Wishing Whale have made things even easier by giving you a step by step guide.
The Clean Ocean Action Organization has been a leader in organizing beach sweeps in the New Jersey and New York Area. They have been greatly successful and have also encouraged how rewarding it is to organize your own beach sweep and what it takes to do it.
1.Location, Location, Location.
Observe a waterway that is in need of some TLC. Search for the perfect place where people can gather and get the most trash off of the most land. If you want to do this on a smaller scale, pick a specific location and map out the parameters and scale of what you’re cleaning up.
Choose when this event will happen. Pick a time when the weather will be nice but there won’t be a lot of people around that might be bothered by the sweep. Choosing a rain date is also wise!
3. Figure Out What You Will Need
According to Clean Ocean Action, some supplies you’ll need includes:
“trash bags, gloves, pencils and data cards for data collection. (The organization has a sample data card on their website) Feel free to create your own data card, but be sure to use it. Anyone can pick up trash, but collecting data about what kind of debris you find is the only way to identify the possible sources of debris, understand the magnitude of the problem, and educate others about it.
You will also need materials to create your advertisements such as paper, a computer and printer or markers.”
4. Where is the Trash Going?
It’s important to make sure that the trash being removed goes to a good place. collecting a large amount of garbage may require a garbage pickup service or possibly the rental of a dumpster. This all depends on the scale of the beach sweep of course! It is also important to note how trash is sorted and picked up in that specific area. There’s no harm in researching or calling the public works department so they can help you. Encountering hazardous materials is possible during the sweep so it is also important to research how to properly dispose of items like that.
5. Who Is YOUR Audience
Find a group of people who would be interested in participating in this event. People in the community should definitely be invited to become involved. Figure out who these people are and make sure you’re getting the word out to all of them.
It is important to make sure you have clearance from the authorities and/or town or city officials, before proceeding. Sending them a letter containing all of the information about the event is a good idea.Getting a clear response back and proof that you were given permission is also imperative.
Once you’ve gotten permission, it is important to let your audience know about the event. Spread the word though flyers, advertise online, send emails, make phone calls, and make sure people are telling others about the event. Invite local businesses to attend, or even to just post your flyer in their window. Email press, and invite elected officials to attend.Making sure people know about the event and know the details is crucial in having a successful beach sweep!
8. Donors and Sponsors
Reach out to businesses who may be interested in an event like this and ask them to make small donations of supplies or even just to attend. This is mutually beneficial because you get help, and the businesses get possible new business and a good reputation for helping out. Be sure to thank these people for their help.
9. Cleanup Time
Make sure that you are early on the day of the event. An hour earlier than the time should be fine to make sure everything is organized and that you have the necessary supplies. Make sure you have people working with you to distribute these items to the people who are beginning to arrive. Explain the importance of the data card.
10. Post Event
Collect all of the data cards and submit the total data to The Ocean Conservancy. Make sure you have thanked everyone who attended and helped withe the event. Send thank-you letters to all sponsors/donors.
These 10 steps give you an idea of how to organize a beach sweep. This proves that even on the local level, it isn’t that difficult to make a difference and help your community. So get out there! Make some waves in your community and have a beach sweep!