MVYLI joins BiodiversityWorks Coastsweep beach cleanup

The Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative (MVYLI) joined with BiodiversityWorks members on a recent gorgeous summer Saturday to clean the beach at Edgartown Great Pond. According to a press release, for MVYLI, this is part of their Ocean Sustainability Project. It was the second time they joined the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, which conducts cleanups at thousands of locations around the world on the same day.

To inspire younger children, BiodiversityWorks’ Liz Baldwin encouraged them to think of the cleanup as a treasure hunt.

Over the course of the day, the group collected 234 pieces of trash, including 33 plastic bottles, 20 balloons, and 18 takeout containers.

For some of the volunteers, the cleanup was personal. “I grew up coming to this beach,” said Gia Winsryg-Ulmer, MVYLI’s project coordinator. “My stepfather Michael Wild used to tell bedtime stories about Crackola, a huge crab who lived in the pond, and a man named Ichabod Simpson, who lived on the barrier beach in a shack made from flotsam and jetsam.” Gia and her family now live on Edgartown Great Pond. On this day, she brought her three young children for their first beach cleanup. She hopes to instill in them a spirit of service, and to one day share stories of this unique day and how they helped to make the beach beautiful for birds and people for generations to come.