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 Conservancy’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. “I don’t need any more hours. I just do this for fun,” 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 Conservancy’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 ESC’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 ESC’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]]>

Since 2007, The B-Town Blog is Burien’s multiple award-winning hyperlocal news/events website dedicated to independent journalism.

7 replies on “Seahurst Park sets record for worldwide International Coastal Cleanup”

  1. I wish we would have a similar twice a year event to clean-up the street in front of your home or favorite location. That would be awesome!.

  2. I was there. So lets see – 132 persons brought in 166 lbs. That averages a bit over 1 lb per person. I am 62+ and my bag, which I hauled back from the southern section with beer bottles, beer cans, water bottles, propane canisters, and the usual cig butts, plastic bits etc weighed 22 1/2 lbs. (Interesting note: The favorite beach party beer that is then thrown in the bushes, both bottles and cans was……Corona – the beer of choice for litterbugs) I was pretty much the only person at the area south of the parking lot. I even hauled up a heavy section of stair railing and some lumber that had washed up. I had to leave it by a picnic table and let them know where they were. That was probably 50 lbs there, not in their total. The problem is, while it is a great event for families, they need a whole lot more adults there, laser focused on picking up trash, versus playing around at the beach and picking up the obvious stuff laying about in plain site. Plus, they need to assign areas to work in. I am sure further north of the learning center was not covered well and I know there is still a ton of garbage that I was not able to get to down at the south end. So a little more coordination and organization – with some more adults actually focused on picking up trash and you would see the trash weight number increase dramatically. So not to downplay what was accomplished, but there is so much more that should have been pulled up with the amount of people that were there. When I get a chance I will probably go down there on my own and haul another 20-30 lbs to the leaning center – which I could probably do in another 2 or 3 hours.

    1. Thank you Paul for what you did and do to clean our beaches! It is so important for our wildlife as well as the beauty of these treasured places.. Thank you for your insight on how to make the project go better in the future. I’m okay with kids being kids at the beach but certainly having some supervision is okay, too. And not just okay, but part of how kids learn what’s important. Well stated post Paul. Thanks again!

    2. Thanks everyone for all your effort and taking the time to do that. That’s a funny observation on the brand preferred, sorry to hear that people didn’t clean up after themselves. Young kids aren’t noted for their long-term ability to focus, but cute, yes? They are also low to the ground and can see the little details, like those small pieces of plastic that aren’t good for fish (and later, some of us) to eat. Learning to care for the beach habitat at a young age, and doing so stylishly while wearing hot pink, mud boots and a tutu! Fashion with a real purpose. 🙂

    3. So Paul Gould~ Sounds like you’d be a great person for the organizer job. Go for it! And btw, great job. Thanks for all your efforts.

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