Surfrider Foundation, Students Partner On Beach Cleanup

Surfrider Foundation, Students Partner On Beach Cleanup
Ocean City Surfrider Foundation Chair Jane Robinson is pictured last month with Pocomoke Middle School students during a beach cleanup. Photo by Bethany Hooper

OCEAN CITY – Students at Pocomoke Middle School joined the local chapter of the Surfrider Foundation last month in a post-Memorial Day beach cleanup in Ocean City.

On May 29, more than 30 students from the school’s Surfrider Student Club and National Green Schools Society (NGSS) gathered at the Ocean City Inlet to clean the beach.

Science teacher Karen McCabe, the Surfrider Student Club advisor at Pocomoke Middle, said the cleanup effort was just one part of the school’s ongoing commitment to help the environment.

““We haven’t branched out too much into the community yet,” she said. “But we do a lot of stuff at the school.”

Three years ago, for example, students and staff began recycling paper, plastic, metal, glass, batteries, markers and small electronics. And in recent years, McCabe said students even participated in two environmental summits.

“We really try to focus on water quality in the Pocomoke River and the students test the water a couple of times a year,” she said. “The eighth-graders all presented last year at the Maryland Watershed Summit in Annapolis and this year they presented their data at the Youth Environmental Action Summit at the Ward Museum.”

Last year, the school also established a Surfrider Club with the help of the Ocean City Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. And earlier this month, the school launched the first chapter of NGSS in Worcester County. The honor society program is designed to give environmentally focused students a chance to increase their impact in school and in their communities.

“For the Surfrider Club, they had to write an essay to apply, come to meeting and do volunteer work,” McCabe said. “For NGSS, students had to apply, and it was based on academics and community service.”

On Wednesday, Ocean City Surfrider Foundation Chair Jane Robinson met with students from both groups to promote source reduction efforts and encourage environmentally friendly practices before they began the cleanup.

She applauded Pocomoke Middle – a state-certified Green School – for its ongoing environmental stewardship efforts.

“They do so much,” she said. “The kids are so involved.”

McCabe noted students were eager to do their part on school grounds and in the community.

“I think they see they have to get involved right now because the adults aren’t necessarily doing a good job,” she said. “I think they know this is going to fall on their feet, so they need to know what to do. Hopefully we can show them what that is.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.