Beaches get an Earth Day shining

beach clean-up day
There's no time to sit and loaf during beach clean-up day, sponsored by the Vineyard Conservation Society (VCS). Photos by Ralph Stewart

By Pat Waring - April 26, 2007

Whether drawn by concern for the environment or the sunshine and summery temperatures, many dozens of enthusiastic Vineyarders turned out for the annual Vineyard Conservation Society (VCS) Earth Day Beach Clean-up on Saturday morning. Volunteers fanned out across the Island, gathering debris at a total of 21 designated beaches. Every location was manned by a volunteer who dispensed trash bags, gloves, and cold drinks and offered directions and suggestions. Each beach cleaner also received a bag of microwave popcorn donated by Comcast, along with a coupon for a free On Demand movie.

Teri Geary, Joe Geary, Cam Geary, Maureen Best (holding Maggie), and Hannah Best
The clean-up was a fun family activity at Bend-in-the-Road Beach for (from left) Teri Geary, Joe Geary, Cam Geary, Maureen Best (holding Maggie), and Hannah Best.

As usual, down-Island beaches, which see more public traffic, were more littered than those up-Island. At the Lambert's Cove Beach parking lot in West Tisbury, volunteer Mait Edey welcomed new arrivals but warned them they might find more trash elsewhere. Nevertheless, determined volunteers took bags and gloves and headed down the path to the beach.

"It's our town beach so the least we can do is keep it clean," said Nicole Cabot who brought her five- year old daughter, Violet, to help. According to Ms. Cabot, Violet had spoken disapprovingly of beachgoers who don't want to bring their refuse home to put in their own trash cans but leave it behind instead.

Louise and Henry Bessire
Louise and Henry Bessire of West Tisbury, both VCS members, drag their trash hauls along the Bend-in-the-Road Beach in Edgartown.

West Tisbury School assistant principal Bob Lane and Will deBettencourt, both members of the of the Martha's Vineyard Bass and Bluefish Derby Committee, emerged from the path carrying substantial rubbish. They had arrived early and combed the beach carefully. Sandy Hughes got there early too and when he found a fallen tree on the path sent his son home for a chainsaw so he could remove it.

Along with VCS members and other individuals and families, many community groups took part in the project, each assigned to a beach. Among them were the Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club, the Harbor View Hotel, Junior Girl Scout Troop 801, the Martha's Vineyard Cooperative Bank, the regional high school sailing club, Roots and Shoots, and Sail Martha's Vineyard.

Clean-up organizer Pat Durfee, a VCS board member, was ecstatic when she arrived at the Lambert's Cove Beach lot. She had already visited many of the beaches and hoped to stop at even more before noon. Ms. Durfee said she was thrilled at the large turn-out and by the generosity of everyone who helped make the event such a success.

Along with VCS, sponsors for the Earth Day Beach Clean-Up were the Martha's Vineyard Cooperative Bank, WMVY, Comcast, and Tisbury Waterways.