Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies Beach Cleanups

center for coastal studies beach clean ups

provincetown's center for coastal studies beach cleanups As we reflect on our planet this Earth Day, many of us count Cape Cod’s beautiful beaches among the great loves of our life. To keep them beautiful, Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies hosts monthly Beach Cleanups along the National Seashore. This is not only great way to practice good stewardship to the Earth, but also a chance to convene in nature with other like-minded neighbors, coming together to make a difference.

Join the Beach Brigade

Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies Beach Clean ups began as a way to engage volunteers to pick up debris along the shoreline in Provincetown. The Beach Cleanups have now expanded to several communities across the Cape, occurring monthly throughout the year.

The Center for Coastal Studies hosted Beach Cleanups from Plymouth to Provincetown, employing their team of more than 300 volunteers known as the “Beach Brigade.” Members of the Beach Brigade donate their time to collect marine debris along Cape Cod’s 550 miles of shoreline.

Information about volunteering and a calendar of events on the Center for Coastal Studies’ website lists each coastal cleanup’s date, time, and location. The next Beach Cleanup happens on Earth Day, April 22nd at Beach Point in Truro beginning at 9am.

 Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies Trash Tally?center for coastal studies

W. Edwards Deming, an American engineer and management consultant, once said, “In God we trust; all others bring data.” Following each of Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies Beach Cleanups, the trash is sorted and tallied. The amount and type of debris collected reveal information about the scope of trash in our community. Trash Tallies also shed light on the most effective ways to remove waste and the impact of each beach cleanup.

What Are the Top Ten Types of Debris Collected?

It is no surprise that single-use plastic ranks among the top ten items collected during Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies Beach Cleanups. Coming in second are cigarette butts. Food wrappers, foam, straws and stirrers, plastic wrap, rope, balloons, and bottle caps also top the list.

These items not only detract from the coastline’s natural beauty but are also unsanitary and pose a real threat to wildlife. The Center for Coastal Studies encourages everyone to stop using single-use plastic whenever possible. Many Cape Communities have banned single-use water bottles and plastic bags to support this effort.

 Art Made From Marine Debris

Capitalizing on Provincetown’s vibrant history as a community of artists, The Center for Coastal Studies has cultivated a network of artists who repurpose marine debris and derelict fishing gear to create art. Creating artwork from discarded trash washed ashore on a beach makes a compelling statement about our collective role in stewarding our natural resources.

beach clean upsThe Center collaborated with the CARE and Cape Cod National Seashore to launch a new project featuring an exhibit of marine debris as art. Last spring a life-sized great white shark sculpture, “Mama Shug”made with marine debris collected by the Beach Brigade along the Cape beaches, was installed at the Herring Cove Beach.

On Tuesday April 23rd at 11:30am another “bite-sized” white shark sculpture, “Baby Shug,” will be unveiled at the National Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center in Eastham.  The sculptures, both created by artist Cindy Pease, aim to highlight the problem of marine debris in the ocean and more specifically on the beaches of the National Seashore.

Do Cleanups Work?

While reducing our use of plastic does the most to reduce our carbon footprint and eliminate marine debris, coastal cleanups remove existing debris from our shorelines and oceans. Trash collected through each of Provincetown’s Center for Coastal Studies Beach Cleanups takes thousands of pieces of trash away from the ocean.  Beach cleanup projects remove litter from the shoreline and ensure it can be appropriately disposed of and recycled for future use.

Future Dates for Center for Coastal Studies Cleanups

The May Day Beach Cleanup, Rip Rap, Provincetown will take place on May 1st or on June 8th they will be cleaning Beach Point in honor of World Ocean Day.  Both Clean Ups are from 10 am – 12 p.m. Join the Beach Brigade to get outside, meet new friends, and help preserve our beautiful coastline.




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