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2019 MS Coastal Clean Up

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 7:00am

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: Today we're talking about the 2019 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup. Hello, I'm Amy Myers and welcome to Farm and Family. Today we're speaking with Dr. Beth Baker, Mississippi State University, Assistant Extension Professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture. Beth, what is the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup? I understand this is a really big yearly event.

Dr. Beth Baker: Yes, thanks Amy. This Mississippi Coastal Cleanup event is one of the largest volunteer efforts in Mississippi and it's been going on since 1988. Literally thousands of volunteers down in the three Mississippi coastal counties descend on the beaches to clean up trash. So it's pretty straightforward, but there is a little more to it than that. We collect a lot of data during that process of collecting trash and that data is used not only to inform what kind of trash is on the beach, but also where it's coming from, and it's compiled with other data at an international level. So, it's pretty cool.

Amy Myers: Oh, gosh, and it's so important, really more now than ever, for us to start cleaning up our act. Who comes to the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup?

Dr. Beth Baker: It's really interesting. Literally anyone and everyone. It's a really kid and family friendly event, but anyone from school groups and clubs that are looking to get service hours to families and individuals that are just looking to connect with others through community service, and citizens who like to enjoy the beach and want to help keep it clean.

Amy Myers: What learning experiences will be offered and what kinds of activities will be going on?

Dr. Beth Baker: I'm so glad you asked that. There's not usually formal, like someone teaching to you, but that's kind of the best part about the event is that the whole process of participating in the cleanup is really a learning experience in itself, and one of the most impactful kinds because it's hands-on learning, so you're literally learning by doing.

I remember the first time I went down and I helped to organize the event, but once you're in the process, it's totally different. Once you're actually cleaning up the trash and you have a data sheet, so you have to record the size of the trash and what kind it is, you really start not only seeing it on the beaches but realizing what it is and where it probably came from, whether it's tiny pieces of plastic that broke down from a plastic bottle or cigarette butts or other kinds of things, so you can really identify where they came from.

One other note I just wanted to mention about the experience is that it also teaches kids all kinds of volunteerism, community service, and gets people active just by being outdoors. So there's all different kinds of inherent learning within the event.

Amy Myers: Well, that sounds wonderful. Is there anything else you want to mention about the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup?

Dr. Beth Baker: Absolutely. We try to make this event fun and really just as much about connecting with your community and having kind of a social event at the same time as we are doing volunteer work, and so lunch is always provided to all volunteers at the annual event. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes. Check the weather beforehand so that you're dressed appropriately. Bring sunscreen. At each volunteer checkpoint, we'll have all kinds of equipment like trash bags, gloves, sometimes trash grabbers to help with picking up the trash. Sometimes it's easier to pair up with someone while you're there so that one person can clean up the trash and the other one can record the data on our data sheets.

Amy Myers: Oh, that's a good tip. And of course wear your sunglasses and bring your bug spray and large wide brim hats, right?

Dr. Beth Baker: That's right.

Amy Myers: And this is going to happen over several different locations along the coast, is that correct?

Dr. Beth Baker: That's right. We've got usually about 30 different locations spread between the three Mississippi coastal counties. So there's usually a place near you to meet up with folks. And all of those locations are on their website, on a map, so you can just visually see quickly where everything is.

Amy Myers: Okay. And when and where will the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup be held and where can we go for more information?

Dr. Beth Baker: This year's event's going to be Saturday, October 19th. Again, it's going to take place at all those different locations across the three counties. Check the map for the site closest to you, and all that information is gonna be on the website, www.coastalcleanup.extension.msstate.edu. And even at the website, you can also just get registered, choose a site, and have all the details there to start planning your day.

Amy Myers: Okay. And folks can also just google 2019 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup, right?

Dr. Beth Baker: Absolutely.

Amy Myers: Today we've been speaking with Dr. Beth Baker, Mississippi State University, Assistant Extension Professor. I'm Amy Myers and this has been Farm and Family. Have a great day.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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