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Nature Conservancy of Canada beach sweep of Sandy Point nets 1,400 pounds of debris

Volunteers, from left, Marie Wiseman, Susan Rees and Loretta Stokes help clean up a portion of beach on Sandy Point this past weekend.
Volunteers, from left, Marie Wiseman, Susan Rees and Loretta Stokes help clean up a portion of beach on Sandy Point this past weekend.

This was Megan Lafferty’s fifth time sweeping the beaches of Sandy Point, but the effort made by volunteers to help never ceases to amaze her.

Lafferty is a conservation biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, which owns property on the little island in St. George’s Bay and conducts an annual shoreline cleanup each summer.

This year, Lafferty and another staffer were joined by 19 enthusiastic volunteers, including one as young as seven years old. Together they lugged away about 1,400 pounds of debris that had washed up along the section of beach they had not concentrated on in the past.

The amount collected was the most trash ever collected during a sandy point beach sweep.

Picking up marine debris is not a glamorous job by any means, said Lafferty. So, to see so many people give up their day to help was inspiring for her.

“No piece was too big to strap a rope on and drag across the island and no piece of plastic too small to ignore,” she said. “Every piece of garbage they saw got collected.”

The work is important, said Lafferty, because the sandy beaches and tidal wetlands on Sandy Point provide great foraging and nesting habitat for seabirds such as the greater yellowlegs and the piping plover.

“Marine garbage can pose a threat to some of these species, so we want to stop it before it happens,” she said.

Some of the interesting items collected during the sandy Point beach sweep:

- a hockey skate

- a bowling pin

- the leg from a Ken doll

- a golf ball

Source: Nature Conservancy of Canada

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