Once, Twice, Three Times a Turtle: A Local Reflection

Bees, Trees and Turtles

Along with rain forest deforestation and honeybee colony-collapse disorder talk in recent decades, the plight of the sea turtles has come onto our radar as a serious environmental concern.  Deforestation affects many other species of plants and animals—not to mention the oxygen supply and possible overall weather patterns.  The honeybee issue is atrocious in its severity although much of the general human population hasn’t realized it yet but may if our food supply is abruptly altered one of these days.   Meanwhile I live in south Florida where it so happens that a few endangered species of sea turtles come to nest annually including the Green, Loggerhead and Leatherback sea turtle.  As a child growing up on the east coast here in Florida it wasn’t uncommon to come across a nest of turtle eggs and there were no public pushes to “save them”—little did I know that one day I’d be a grown-up where turtle talk would be critical to our survival in addition to those of other plants animals such as the bees and trees.

Turtle Walk: Not What First Comes to Mind

The Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) is located in Juno Beach, Florida and their website is www.marinelife.org .  It turns out they have something called a “Turtle Walk” where attendees arrive on a scheduled evening and learn more about the details of the sea turtles’ habits and the kind of research and direct assistance to the sea turtles that the LMC provides through generous donation of volunteer time and public donations.  At the same time, there are “spotters” in communication with staff indoors as to whether there is a turtle sighting—they inform if is there a female turtle approaching the shore in order to lay her eggs in the dark.   If a turtle comes ashore that matches the species allowed by state permit for LMC to view with a tour then the visitors are chaperoned down to the shore in the nighttime with the assistance of red flashlights that will not hamper or scare the turtle.  The general purpose of this Turtle Walk is to educate visitors through education and viewing in real-time the tedious work of a sea turtle to try against many odds to secure the next generation’s survival.

Last Tuesday: No Turtle Show

I had the opportunity to participate in a Turtle Walk event last Tuesday at the LMC in Juno Beach.  Unfortunately our group didn’t have the chance to view a turtle laying in real-time, however, the information I was able to learn in a couple of hours from some of the staff that evening was really enlightening.  Among my favorites: learning that the water evacuating from the pipe from rehabilitation turtle tanks has been treated with a hydrogen peroxide solution that affirms my intuition that has allowed my children and I to enjoy the water play by the shore from it, the fact that leatherback turtles are our best friends because they eat their weight in jellyfish(!) and that LMC’s presence in our area has helped to make significant changes that benefit humans as well as turtles with keeping the nearby beaches cleaner and calmer with less ambient light.  Also, “hot chicks, cool dudes” was the phrase coined to describe the fact in the 1980s biologists realized that sea turtles undergo temperature-dependent sex determination–i.e. the temperature of the sand encloses the egg nests on the shore will sway whether an egg hatches a male or female sea turtle.

Mean Green Clean

If you have had the opportunity to read some of my earlier blog posts you will already understand my anger about our shorelines being treated as an open sand landfill or ashtray—seriously, what possesses us humans to think it’s okay to discard our trash on purpose in a place we all share with each other and the other animal and plants?  On July 5th the LMC organized a beach cleanup and invited the public to come out and utilize tools to pick up any and all trash that could be found after a major holiday.  I brought one of my young children along and when faced with a tantrum I gently sang to him as to why we needed to clean up—for the turtles, for the trees, for the bees and for you and me.  It was both impressive and sad to see how much the public had left in the sands only inches and feet away from wooden markers indicating a sea turtle nest.  Although it is great to have public beach cleanups organized, I feel it’s incumbent upon anyone who steps on a beach to refrain from littering and to pick up any rubbish they see and properly discard.

Local Paper Highlights

Within the same week of attending a LMC Turtle Walk night and participating in a public beach clean up our local paper The Palm Beach Post had a fun Accent front page story entitled “On the trail of turtles” written by Barbara Marshall and photographs by Greg Lovett: http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/lifestyles/on-the-trail-of-turtles/nYc6g/  It was a fun piece that highlighted a snippet of what volunteers, biologists and physicians do at the LMC to help ensure that the leatherback turtles who nest on our shores are able to continue their calling as part of our ecological balance in the ocean–did you know they may actually be natives of the Asian oceans? Also, they eat jellyfish, I repeat: THEY EAT JELLYFISH.  There is more to be written on the need to assist the sea turtles, of course, but it is good to see that the information continues to come out no matter how big or small.

Turtle Time

It is understandable that we can get so overwhelmed by any news that affects the survival of animal species, plants and the frightful fluctuations of our climate on this Earth—so that we actually are moved to not move, we become paralyzed and apathetic.  My hope is that we can at the very least become more aware of our immediate environment where we respectively live and do our best to assist outstanding issues with wildlife other concerns.  We cannot disassociate ourselves from the fact that we depend on each other and other building blocks in our physical world to survive and thrive as we strive to become a better human race overall.


Some newsworthy links:

recent article on honeybee CCD: http://science.time.com/2013/05/07/beepocalypse-redux-honey-bees-are-still-dying-and-we-still-dont-know-why/

recent article on rainforest destruction: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22706402

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 7 in a Series

Winter Waves with Why’s Sighs

Winter Waves Dec 2012

Shore Snapshot

Walking up to the ocean yesterday I saw bursts of blue and white as the surf coming was churning—pelicans and other sea birds dove in and out of the breaking waters to grab fish that were perilously swimming near the surface.

As my children and I set up our minor camp devoted to playing in the sand and snacking, I was upset to see that there was more trash than usual on the shoreline.  I grabbed one of the extra plastic bags I had arrived with and set to work.  It’s become an automatic part of my beach ritual—shortly after setting up our spot in the sand, I start picking up any trash within sight and sometimes walk further on to take care of any debris/refuse I see.  I’m not better than anyone else for doing this.  A switch went off in me one day and I began picking up any garbage at the beach because it’s just the right thing to do.

Switching Sandlots

Sorting through the mounds of seaweed I found everything from plastic forks, drink bottle caps and other random human artifacts.  It occurs to me that we are so busy with our things that we consume and the people we associate ourselves with.  Without meaning to, we can become pretty cold and detached with each other whether we know each other or not.

There are simply times in life that we need to do the right thing regardless of whether we get recognition.  If everyone who visited the beach worldwide picked up whatever trash they ever saw no matter who noticed them—I don’t think we’d even know that litter on seashores was an issue at all.  It’s amazing how powerfully beneficial we can be when we work in unison toward the common goal.  Taking personal responsibility is a remarkably simple, singular concept that our human society is nearly incoherent in while we advance with break-brain speed in digital technologies.

My Sand Thanks Your Sand

Later in the day I ended up at the local mall and unexpectedly walked up to the Santa Claus photo line with my children in tow.  It was during that cranky late afternoon that most parents care to avoid as I was plowing throw at this moment and a young man came up to us with a pleasant greeting.   That he managed to get one of my kids smiling after having just been in the throes of a tantrum was a welcome miracle.  It’s amazing how such a little kindness can have such a grand flood of gratitude in its wake.

Unfortunately, given our frantic pace these days in our respective lives, it is more common for those waves of thankfulness to be followed by a calm sea of inaction.  I am thoroughly guilty of this on a continuous basis.  The best thing we can do is try to reach out and let those people or entities (like a company) know that we are appreciative.

After our Santa Claus meet-greet-photo-and print adventure, I took a mall comment card and wrote in detail my thanks to the photo staff.  Pushing my active children in a massive double stroller I maneuvered to the Mall Information desk and after they asked what they could do for me I replied, “Just want to say thanks!” and handed them my completed comment card.  The three ladies stared at me aghast and the one in the middle said, “We hardly ever hear something say thanks or something good, usually complaints.”   We are so programmed to just accept negative and dole out more of the same.   This is an energy cycle by people today that yields little if not more negative return in the future.  Why don’t we just start in the little ways to say “thank you” already?  Why not try to put more positive and focus on what’s working well than always reverting to what’s wrong?

Back to the Beginning: Sand and Sea (See?)

As complicated as our problems have become on a geo-political scale and can make the masses feel paralyzed and powerless—the reality remains that we can individually make a major difference in how we simply deal with ourselves and each other.

Let’s try to do what we know is the right thing whether or not anyone is watching.  You see litter, pick it up.  You see someone needing physical help, offer it.  Instead of us always thinking someone else will do it, let’s be the “someone” and operate as though no one ever sees it’s you doing it.

Those who raised us told us to do it and we tell the next generation the same: say “Thank you.”  Let’s try to go beyond just the words and understand that it helps to send a “pearl” letter or note to an employer describing how good your experience was with this particular employee(s).  Have we noticed an increase in request for surveys?  There are many reasons for that and I believe one of them is to know if people are happy with services/people.  Let’s take it to a more personal level, why not send a snail mail note to parent or loved one who helped you when you were growing up and tell them so?

Just try,


Greeks sigh too, a haunting ballad to the sea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seru4FXuydg&NR=1&feature=endscreen


Making Love With Words – Seashell Philosophy by She


Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 6 in Series

Act 1: The Stage Background

This morning in Palm Beach County, Florida we were blessed with a beautiful sunrise scene that showcased scattered clouds reflecting a shattered rainbow in the color scheme—a fantastic visual that made me drunk with that same seductive emotion that overcomes us when in love.

There are so many words for love in my parents’ native language of Greek: in the Ancient Greek it breaks down to four main ones and I’ve gleaned the following information from www.en.wikipedia.org .  Agape means “love” as in “I love you” with traditional qualities in its definition.   Eros is a passionate sort of love that can apply to anything more than just a friendship and although sensual in nature that doesn’t have to be defined as sex-lust kind.  Philia can mean friendship or affectionate love in Modern Greek and is mostly as that general kind of love between friends, family and community but can include lovers and mutual events.  Storge is the affection felt for the relationships like between a parent and child.

Act 2: Back to the Beach

This alluring morning beckoned me to take my sons in tow with a picnic plus shore gear and head to one of our favorite spots: Juno Beach by Loggerhead Park.  As we walked across A1A and to the edge of where the sand clings to the asphalt, we got the first glimpse of a calm Atlantic Ocean kissing the shoreline.

The sky still had a wallpaper of clouds and seemed to drip into the ocean’s horizon line—the color scheme now had switched to the hues of blue, white and light grays that had a calming effect following the rapturous sunrise we’d endured hours earlier.

The shells were plentiful in quantity as well as quality—even the rocks and coral pieces were intermixed, a cornucopia of gifts from the tide going out.  I noticed that there were some people around but everyone seemed to keep to themselves.  My sons and I made a presence by the sheer fact that we were digging in sand, building structures, picking up trash, running in and out of the shoreline, myself leaping into the beckoning blue sea with the glee that my youngest displayed as he broke down castles smaller than he.

Act 3: How Do We Love By Talking?

As I was enjoying a simple day at the shore with my sons I realized that most people here today were also attracted to the inviting blue water and the abundance of shells.  The way the waves broke over the line of shells and rocks provided a great game consisting of spotting a shell that you wanted and then lunging downward to pick it up before the water took it back again.

After recent articles and books I’ve read about how our human society is battling loneliness despite increased inter-connectivity via our mobile devices and computers—it hit me that we are all able to battle this unnecessary tragedy of feeling isolated when here were a bunch of people today all at the beach for various reasons but for this moment in time we are together.

So I used the obvious icebreaker of saying something to someone about the shell-picking opportunities today or remarking about the boat offshore experiencing an engine fire.  I made it a point to speak to everyone who came within 12 feet or so of me or my children.  It became easier after the first few people and it was enlightening to engage in conversation with everyone.  After about an hour or two I felt so comfortable and relaxed—it seemed everyone else did to as the dozen or so folks in this area who hadn’t been talking to each other now were and even shell-picking or enjoying the surf in closer proximity than before when it seemed everyone had been in their own invisible cubicles just past the high tide line.

Act 4: Love, Love, Love

I was filled with joy today.  I simply lived in the moment of being at the beach, engaging with other people around us and digging my hands in the sand, leaping into the surf, dodging waves for the next best shell.  By far the best part was the love of today.  It wasn’t just my sons that I loved as I handed them refreshments and played with them.  I loved reaching out to other beach-loving spirits and sharing with them as I learned from them.  I truly believe that each time people connect with words it is a form of loving each other if only that it affirms we are not alone.

We all need love and as there are so many kinds of love and ways to give love, why not give as much as we can even in the little ways?  Maybe we make life too complicated—sure we have the trials and the unexpected tragedies that we must weather in a fallen world like Earth but how much stronger are we when we face these things together?  I wish us all more Love in the time we are living now as it is the one thing that is priceless, timeless and most vital to our survival here.

R. V. Saridakis Bean


Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 6 in a Series

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 6 in a Series

I didn’t inquire with anyone when I decided yesterday to hit the beach with my sons early on a cloudless Friday morning.  It wasn’t until I was pulling into the parking lot at the Juno Beach Loggerhead beach park that I realized there was more commotion afoot besides the summer surf school for kids.  As we headed across the street to access the shoreline, we noticed the Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s van and a clear path marked by buckets filled with sand and poles strung together by white cords. By the way, if you’re local and interested: www.marinelife.org

The Sea Scene

This was a great morning for a homecoming as the ocean was beckoning with its waves crashing in a strong but gentle fashion during low tide. I set up camp with my boys and began to play in the sand with them in the shallows of the water that was coming out of a black pipe in the sand toward the ocean.  This is the water that is vacated from the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) as it exits from each of the tanks housing the injured or baby sea turtles in their care.  It always makes me chuckle when people come by and ask me or other parents there if I/we know from where is this water’s origin. It usually goes a little bit like this:

“Excuse me, do you know what that water is your children are playing in?”

“Yes, thanks…”

“…It’s from the turtle place up there, you know, their tanks with food and their refuse, just coming out there…”

“…Yes, thanks so much for your concern, I know and am fine with it…”

“You are? It’s full of…”

“And the ocean is also full of countless creatures and organisms, and there are fisherman right there a quarter mile away doing their raw business off the side of the boat and you know, honestly, I’m most comfortable with my children playing in this water as I am with them eating dirt from the garden…again, thanks so much for your concern…”

It’s usually at this point that I witness the kind nodding by the person’s head followed by a non-comprehensible mumble under their breath as they turn away with bewilderment.  Perhaps I am taking a risk by allowing my children in this water: but at the same time if I dissected our movements every hour of every day I’m certain I would give myself ulcers over worry because of the constant barrage of peril I assault my innocent boys with on a daily basis.

Life is moving quickly enough right now and although I’m not advocating we live recklessly I do believe that we must focus more on learning and experiencing with others rather than nit-picking and worrying about every little detail—especially those things that we have limited to limited control over.

The Crowd Accumulates

As it turned out, the sea turtle release would be occurring in just over an hour after we had arrived at the beach.  During one of our snack breaks, my boys and I enjoyed sitting in the shade of our pop-up beach tent and we watched as more people descended onto the gradual slope of the shoreline behind the lines put up by the LMC.

There were all sorts of folks: people like me with small children, teenagers by themselves or reluctantly accompanying their parents, seniors, couples, school groups, camp classes, a group of special needs adults brought in with their counselors and at the myriad of genres goes on.   Everyone was coming together in close proximity with each other in the heat of the baking sand by the ocean this morning to witness a sea creature return home.

HOME: Where Is Home?

Once the LMC crew carrying the Loggerhead sea turtle named Tilly came to the shore the crowd simultaneously hushed and all tried in their respective ways to get a better look.  It is customary during these releases for the LMC staff to carry the sea turtle to the end of the path where it opens up to the actually shoreline where the water is kissing the sand with consecutive wet laps.

I’ve had the honor of witnessing a few of these releases and it always chokes me up to see the turtles just sit there for a moment when they are left alone on the sand surrounded by their caretakers and the public.  They look ahead and around tentatively for what may seem like minutes and then they usually take their steps toward the water without delay.

The moment they hit the water and start to swim away is always an emotional event experienced in so many ways by the crowd.  Some of us are obsessed with taking photos, others with making sure the children can watch this happening and still others trying to push forward to see more if possible.  This time around I personally tried to get a couple of photos, make sure my sons have a good view and then just watch this simple, beautiful event of an animal returning home.

Please forgive my high-flying philosophical tone: I cannot help have tears burn my eyes in the salty air when I see these sea turtles enter the shore break and slip away.  What is it like to really return home? Many of us have a cozy place we can refer to as our home but I’m recollecting that ache we all feel for our Home.  That peace that we are seeking but have different names for it and vastly different ways of seeking it throughout our lives by means of people, careers, wealth, drugs and alcohol, et cetera.

Turtle Release Aftermath

Tilly returned home in a swift display and the crowd quickly dispersed afterwards.  What remained were the beach dwellers like me who were in for the long haul of the day.  In south Florida the beach is the coolest place to be when the summer heat and humidity strikes and this past Friday was no exception.

As my sons played once again in the “turtle pee”* water stream at the shoreline, I wandered a little bit to check out the seashell availability.  It was slim-pickings but my heart was delighted because the best find that day was coming to the beach and being surprised with the honor of witnessing someone returning home.

Life is often full of unexpected events…we plan to do something and when we are trying to execute that plan we are met with a surprise twist that either modifies or completely nullifies those previous plans.  Either way, if we can accept the gift of that new circumstance then we will be well on our way to knowing what the peace feels like when we finally return Home ourselves.

Love Life,

R.V.S. Bean

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 5 in a Series

This morning in Palm Beach County, Florida most of us awoke to a heavy sky with warm rain drizzling throughout the morning, afternoon and evening.  As mother of two active little boys I immediately realized this was going to be a challenging day as I sought various indoor activities.

The local public library was a good start to the gray blanket of a day but it was short-lived as the new activity for the boys became racing through the stacks and taking out as many books as possible.  We tried to visit a few folks that we haven’t seen in nearly two decades since we were in the neighborhood by the library but they were still in bed around 10-11am (I will not deny I felt jealousy at that moment in time). I was heading for the local zoo when the youngest passed out so the trip became drive-thru subs for lunch while giving my older son a car tour of where mommy used to go to school and other highlights that he may or may not recall later.

Fast forward to the late afternoon where we’ve found ourselves back home and the cozy play inside has now escalated to dangerous trapeze tricks off cribs, beds and other not-so-safe heights.  Having recalled our car tour earlier in the day, there was a green flag on the beach when we made a hairpin trip to see the water.  So there we were at just past 2:30pm and I was changing everyone into their bathing suits and grabbing a light bag with towels, provisions and toys.

We arrived at one of our favorite beach parks and it was deserted with only 2 or 3 cars in a lot that usually was filled to capacity at any given day with sunshine–contrast that with the muddy sky that couldn’t commit to a steady rain like an emotional person that isn’t sure they need to cry or not.

Unfazed by this blatant not-beach-day, I got everyone out and across A1A to the shore.  We were pleasantly surprised by the other diehards present on the beach that truly did have a nice green flag flapping at the life guard tent.

We proceeded to enjoy the next few hours building in the sand and tearing down that magical section where the land and water kiss again and again.  Life is full of satisfying surprises like this if we can manage to look past what we think is the “normal” mode and just go for immersing ourselves in the moment even when it means getting caked with sand on a drizzle of an afternoon in Florida.

The shells and rocks were also lackluster in appearance and selection but that didn’t stop us from tossing them into the shore break and tearing apart the “shipping” canals we were building with these shards and coral bits.  We can’t allow ourselves to be so bound by what we think is the status quo or the right equation.

Today’s strangling conventional wisdom would say: no sun and gray, rainy day equals no beach time in south Florida.  I’m happy to have found out with my boys that this wisdom is unfound and there is a nice crowd of other fellow humans who were able to embrace the joy of the beach day out regardless of the messy precipitation.


Juno Beach: Pictured Above On Another Day Unlike Today’s Gray Weather!

The New Extreme Sport and Other MMBs

THE BIG THREE: 3 Mom Media Bites (MMBs)

As the mother now of two sons, both now 3 years old and 3 months respectively, I have been navigating this new season as a Northern Atlantic fisherman’s boat tries to keep from top-sizing in hurricane strength swells. The writer in me has been posting “tweets” of countless questioning thoughts and resulting conclusions to my mind’s running page but never on paper, or as in the case of this post, in digital form. So in my humble attempt to disperse some of this philosophical and reflective backup, here are a few of my latest ramblings for your entertainment or information:

Road-Tripping with Tots: The New Extreme Sport

About a month ago, I embarked on a road trip with my sons that included stops in three different states. The goal was to make it to a very important event for one in my closest circle and it became an opportunity to visit other friends and family along the way as well. I did consider the plan ahead of time and certainly realized there were many calculations to be made in order for this trip solo with the boys to be successful. An energetic toddler and an unpredictable newborn were quite the duo to consider, mapping the actual driving route was the easiest consideration. In retrospect, I was best able to explain the trip as an “extreme sport”. I had to make clear plans like what time of day to depart, how to ensure that total driving time each day wasn’t more than 4-5 hours and coupling nursing stops with bathroom breaks, et cetera. At the same time I had to continually accept the fact that I needed to allow for unexpected delays, stops (especially with a nursing infant) and changes in plans of activities or driving. For instance, there was about a 2 hour stretch in the middle of nowhere-Georgia land that I just had to keep my cool with a few factors pulling at me including the fact that I missed a turn and was on a country road where there farms and churches but no gas stations. It ended up being a 10 day trip that went relatively smoothly and I was exhausted upon arrival home but felt that my relationship with the boys had actually hit some great milestones.

Weiner-gate and Foley Redux

In recent weeks the cable news and print media has had the gift of a story that keeps giving in the reporting of soon-to-be-resigned U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner’s revealing photos being “tweeted” via Twitter to women other than his wife. Last week I was able to watch some of the coverage and came to the Fox News channel that had Mark Foley in an interview with Sean Hannity. I hadn’t seen my ex-boss on national television in an interview since his political fall from grace in the fall of 2006 and it was a little jarring to my system. Couldn’t believe the sheer irony of it all—here was my ex-boss who had his Congressional career crumpled by his misuse of time as a Florida representative with the AOL instant messenger service and here now is Congressman Anthony Weiner “tweeting” photos of himself actually IN his Congressional office to his countless lady friends while married to a high profile government aid. Sadly, many of us are still surprised that history evidently teaches us nothing as in the case of Mr. Weiner. I thought that what Foley was punished for was seared in the minds of active politicians; a stern warning to stay off of the digital highway whether by personal computer, laptop, cell phone, Ipad or whatever is next when it comes to the personal indiscretions. It seems that the more we advance in this information age, the more impulsive our actions become that truly blurs our decision-making. In the case of these two gentleman and countless others, we’ve forgotten that privacy is not insured when communicating through cyber/digital hardware—we ought to assume that everything could at any time be posted on the screens in Times Square in New York City.

The Beach: Still the Best Village to Raise Children

Living in South Florida affords me the luxury of going to the beach often and I never take it for granted after residing in other states for several years. What I love about the salty air and sticky sand is that there is a general lack of other stimuli. Most people who routinely go to the beach are there to enjoy the raw nature of two major elements of our planet coming together: land and sea. It is also the thrill of that ebbing dance that draws me to bring my children there a few times a week. I hope to teach them about their environment while also giving them the freedom to run, dance, shout and becoming caked with sand and salt ruthlessly. Running into other parents and their children has also been refreshing and disappointing at times but I’m grateful for the experiences regardless. My children have the opportunity to interact with others, they learn to share and when to walk away. The parents get to small talk and swap ideas on raising children without any commitment to follow-up. I have also met some of my current friends at the shoreline (both Pacific and Atlantic) and strengthened existing friendships there that help enrich my life and thereby my children’s lives.


Beach Cleaning or Sorting the Smokers from the Cruiseships

This past Saturday I participated in the Great American Cleanup Day in
conjunction with my husband’s company Florida Power and Light (FPL)
Power to Care event held at John D. MacArthur Park in Singer Island.
It was a company family event where participants wore matching FPL
Power to Care green volunteer shirts and yes my son was adorable in
his little shirt dubbed as a volunteer-in-training.  If you are
interested in the general information on Keeping America Beautiful
Inc, including their most recent campaign you can check out their
webpage at www.kab.org

I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder concerning beach cleanups mostly
because I consider them to be an ineffective means of keeping our
shores clear of trash on a regular basis but also for the reason that
Saturday mornings were always a tough day for me to be available.

Still, I’m glad I joined my son and husband for the FPL team event as
I was able to participate and witness the pros and cons of a beach
cleanup scenario.

As a side note, did you know that the beach is also known as the GIANT
public access ashtray?  I find it unbelievable every time I step foot
on the sandy shores of Florida that I always end up stepping on a
cigarette butt of some sort.  Is it truly that difficult to take your
empty water bottle, fill it with sand and then dump your butts into it
and toss into the trash bin on your way out from the beach?  Talk
about the perils of your child playing in the sand.

Back to beach cleanup, we entered the beach and were handed gloves,
bags and these tools that grab the trash in an extended fashion so you
don’t have to bend over.  The gloves I accepted and after about a
minute I ended up returning the trash contraption because I just don’t
think it’s helpful.

During a beach cleanup, the bulky trash items are picked up en masse
in less than fifteen minutes.  The reality is that there is still a
load of trash available to pick up but it must be sorted through by
hand, the tools will just slow you down.

Instead I recommend cleaning methods like getting on your knees next
to a pile of wet or dry seaweed with good gloves on.  Proceed to turn
that seaweed/debris pile over and you will find more trash than you
imagined there at first glance.

Looking around during the beach cleanup I was disheartened to see that
folks weren’t really looking for garbage unless it jumped out at them.
 While searching through the piles of seaweed myself, I was astonished
at how much is hidden in the shorelines and overwhelmed that it seemed
it never can get clean enough.

We were told by one of the wildlife officers that a majority of the
trash they find every year is caused by the cruise ships offshore.  I
vaguely remember someone in the past telling me that the cruise ships
do end up dumping debris while at sea, although I can’t remember if it
was just limited to sewage or what not.  That completely horrifies me
and there must be a way to help stop that practice sooner rather than

I was glad that my son got to see other people picking up trash on the
beach since most of the time he only sees his mama doing that when we
go to the beach together.  I don’t want to be a naysayer against beach
cleanups, they are a good team building experience for work and
schools, I just wish people could take that mentality with them when
they go to the beach themselves.

If you have the opportunity to participate in a beach cleanup, go for
it with an open heart and mind.  You may find it to be more rewarding
than first thought, I certainly did and if nothing else learned how to
better find debris to trash.