On the last Saturday of summer (Sept. 16), Seahurst Park was overflowing with beach combers and record breakers. Luckily, friends and neighbors abided by the rule that the only thing you take from the beach is trash – they took a load of 166 pounds from it for a good cause. The Environmental Science Center hosts two cleanups a year at Seahurst Park through sponsorship by the City of Burien. In the fall, they take part in the Ocean Conservancyâ€™s International Coastal Cleanup, which is the largest worldwide volunteer project in service to our oceans. Burien set its own record this year with a crowd of 135 committed volunteers, an increase of five times the amount of participation as last year. Individuals and community groups teamed up for the morning and more than a dozen students earned community service hours for their involvement. Kim Ha is a senior at Highline High School and has volunteered repeatedly in the cleanup up and in the open house activities with the Environmental Science Center. â€œI donâ€™t need any more hours. I just do this for fun,â€ said Ha. Hundreds of cigarette butts and plastic particles were collected, along with some heavier pieces of treated wood and an air mattress. Volunteers tracked what they collected, and some used the Ocean Conservancyâ€™s app, Ocean Swell, which can be used daily by anyone to report the removal of marine debris. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance is the regional coordinator for cleanups that occur within the Puget Sound basin and will be developing another annual report on what was found, including microplastics. Items filling two garbage bags were still recyclable, while other interesting finds, such as a parts of a grill, bottles and cans now rest in the belly of the Salmon Trash Sculpture by ESCâ€™s Learning Center. Volunteers add to this interactive art during the fall and spring cleanups at Seahurst. The 18-foot artwork was welded by Puget Sound Skill Center students to serve as a reminder of how litter impacts the food chain and our marine systems. The beach at Seahurst is known for its low tide treasure trove of invertebrates, such as sea stars, sea anemones, moon snails and sand dollars. The removal of wrappers and plastics helps reduce the negative impacts on these creatures in their plankton or adult forms. Trash removal is encouraged, while collecting even non-living items is forbidden to ensure that shells and rocks may become homes for barnacles, crabs and their comrades. The public is welcome to view the interesting marine life during three of ESCâ€™s fall Moonlight Beach Walks that start in December. Another cleanup will be open to equally passionate participants in the spring. For more details please visit www.EnvironmentalScienceCenter.org or call 206-248-4266]]>
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