School Partners With Surfrider For OC Beach Cleanup

School Partners With Surfrider For OC Beach Cleanup
Pocomoke Middle student Eli Brittingham holds up a piece of torn fencing he removed from the beach. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

OCEAN CITY – Local students partnered with the Ocean City chapter of the Surfrider Foundation for a beach cleanup this week.

Seventh-graders from Pocomoke Middle School’s environmental club spent Tuesday afternoon roaming the sand in search of litter in an effort to ensure Ocean City’s beaches remain clean.

“We’re just trying to do our part,” student Ethan Scott said.

Scott and his peers joined Jane Robinson, chair of the Ocean City chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, at the Inlet to discuss the dangers of things like plastic and Styrofoam to the environment as well as ways students could help. Robinson said the Surfrider Foundation was always willing to partner with local groups interested in doing their part to make the ocean and beaches cleaner.

“We love to partner with students especially,” Robinson said. “It’s really nice.”

As they carried their trash bags down the beach, picking up bottle caps, cigarette butts and larger items, students said they were happy to do what they could to aid the environment.

“We’ve talked about how the creatures in the ocean have gotten injured by all the plastic,” Scott said.

Science teacher Karen McCabe said Tuesday’s beach cleanup, which followed a tour of Worcester County’s landfill and recycling processing center, was made possible through funding from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and the Worcester County Education Foundation. The field trip capped off a busy year for the school’s environmental club, which operates as one of Pocomoke Middle’s after-school academies.

Students in the environmental club conducted energy audits of the school, collected recyclables and helped maintain outdoor areas around the building. McCabe said they also participated in the Maryland Watershed Summit.

“Students from all over the state adopt a local waterway to analyze for water quality during the school year,” McCabe said. “This data is compiled into the Maryland Watershed Report Card.”

Through the Maryland Watershed Summit, Pocomoke Middle students adopted the Pocomoke River near Shad Landing as a study site and helped park rangers with various tasks there.

The environmental club also helped create a “no-mow” meadow at Pocomoke Middle.

“This area will be naturalized with native wildflowers that will provide habitat and attract beneficial pollinators to the school grounds,” McCabe said. “This area will not need to be mowed, decreasing the amount of pollution generated by burning fossil fuels.”

McCabe said the club had given kids with an interest in helping the environment a way to further that interest outside the classroom.

“The students work on initiatives in the community that empower them to become advocates for environmental issues,” she said. “My hope is that these students will continue their efforts at Pocomoke High School and beyond. We need them to make a difference.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.