Earth Week: Adopt-a-Beach Event with Shedd Aquarium
This Earth Week, make a difference for the world’s largest body of fresh water! Join Shedd Aquarium at 12th Street Beach for an Adopt-a-Beach event at noon on Wednesday, April 18.
Adopt-a-Beach, a program of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, is a citizen-science initiative that helps keep Great Lakes beaches healthy through cleanups and monitoring. Shedd Aquarium adopted 12th Street Beach nine years ago.
12th Street, located just south of Adler Planetarium, is one of 31 beaches along 26 miles of open and free lakefront managed by the Chicago Park District (CPD) for the enjoyment of the city’s residents and visitors. The park district cleans its beaches by combing the sand with special tractors. Through the Adopt-a-Beach program, Shedd staff members and volunteers further the effort at 12th Street Beach by cleaning up debris and waste at least once a month from April to October. They divide what they’ve collected into trash and recyclables and place them in designated CPD receptacles. And they do more! They tally and record waste items by type (cigarette filters, plastic bottles, food items, etc.). They also take measurements on water quality, wave height, weather, beach usage and other parameters. Their data is submitted online to the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
Why Beaches Matter
The quality of Great Lakes beaches affects not only our aesthetic and recreational experiences, but also the health of wildlife, the environment and, yes, us. Glass bottles and broken glass, plastic cups, cigarette filters, fishing line, Styrofoam and tires are all examples of trash that often ends up on beaches and in the lakes. These items do not biodegrade, so they’re around—in the water, on beaches and in natural areas—forever. They can injure people and wildlife alike. Another kind of debris—food litter—attracts and supports large populations of gulls and geese. What they leave behind can contaminate beaches and nearshore waters with bacteria, leading to beach closures. By removing litter and debris during an Adopt-a-Beach cleanup, we’re making the beaches healthy and safe for us, for wildlife and for the Great Lakes ecosystem.
What You Can Do
• Don’t litter—and bring an extra trash bag to pick up litter that you find.
• Place waste in proper trash and recycling bins.
• Pick up and properly dispose of any pet waste.
• If you have little ones, make sure they wear swim diapers.
• When visiting natural areas, leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
• Do not feed birds or other wildlife.
• Participate in an Adopt-a-Beach event! Join Shedd at 12th Street Beach for monthly cleanups, April to October.
Shedd launches the start of the Adopt-a-Beach season this year on Wednesday, April 18, at noon at 12th Street Beach! Visit http://www.sheddaquarium.org/greatlakeshelp.html for more information or RSVP at 312-692-2739 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you on the beach!
—Posted by Sam Bugg, manager of Great Lakes programs