What makes a good Adopt a Beach experience?
(next Adopt a Beach event as of this post -- July 18th -- 2 pm -- Greenwood Beach)
I have so enjoyed the Adopt a Beach adventures. They have been a great chance to connect with other families and for us to grow in our ability to conduct real data collection in the real world. I am writing my first blog entry to share some of what I have learned from reflection and from listening to what makes this a meaningful and valuable learning experience.
Some comments that keep surfacing – it is fun AND good for the environment. It is fun finding lots of interesting trash. I enjoy doing the water testing. We save lives of animals by cleaning up the trash…
Some suggestions include:
• Using recyclable bags for recyclable materials
• Creating a display table for interesting items found at the beach
• Adults monitoring garbage collected as syringes and other sharp items may be found
• Keeping garbage collection groups to 4-5 persons
• Delineating which part of the beach we are cleaning
(concrete plate to fence along beach – water testing taking place at end of main pathway)
Some interesting challenges are beginning to surface as well. These range from how to get a can for recyclables posted at the exit of Greenwood Beach to how we can get more families invested and involved in making a positive difference for the environment whether through an Adopt a Beach visit or otherwise.
Nicole Stacey and family have begun to develop connections with the city of Evanston to pursue beach access and increased recycling possibilities. What could we collectively make happen? Who is interested in being involved? How?
Can we grow this into a larger environmental initiative? Cathy Benson suggested that this might evolve into a once a month meeting -- led by different families -- that would allow us to collectively share/experience a variety of environmental efforts in the Chicago area. What interest is there in this? What efforts might we explore? How are youth taking the lead in such ventures? BTW – If you should know of an effort empowering youth to take leadership on environmental issues – consider adding it to the site – KeyFresh.info. This is an umbrella site established to encourage the development of youth taking the lead on taking care of our environment – “keeping in fresh”…☺_
Finally, is there an interest in learning more about our lakefront? Would folks be interested in attending a workshop at the Shedd Aquarium and/or the Alliance for the Great Lakes where we were able to ask questions about why particular data was collected? BTW – They have just slightly changed the recording sheets. Why? What are they looking to capture from a research perspective? What about meeting with scientists involved with this effort? Is this of interest?
What makes a good Adopt a Beach experience? What could make it even better? What makes it worthwhile to you? We would love your insights and reflections on your experiences…
As we start to compare the data between April and May Adopt-a-Beaches, we are starting to see some strange patterns that we want your opinion on. For example:
• Although the data says “APR: Strong Breeze (22-27 knots), MAY: Fresh Breeze (17-22 knots)”, some people who attended both cleanups say that the May cleanup was windier than the one in April. Do you agree?
• Something that makes it seem like April really was windier than May (as the data suggests) is longshore current speed. Longshore current speed was .66 meters per second in April and .27 meters per second in May. A longshore current is a minor current that runs parallel to the shore. It is measured by placing a floatable in the water parallel to the shore, and timing how long it takes to get from one spot to another. How much do you think longshore current speed is related to windspeed?
• In April, pH was around 7.5. In May, though, pH was shown to be at 7. In April we used a tablet, in May we used pH paper. Do you think this has to do with different measurement instruments, an actual increase in acidity, or a mixture of both? How can we test this? We are thinking we might compare the two tests at the June Adopt-a-Beach.
• Less trash was collected in May, but there were seven times as many people attending the beach. Do you think that the cleanup in April had a lasting impact?
We invite your comments to the blog.