Volunteers help clean up Frye Island in last year’s Great Fundy Coastal Cleanup. The event organized by the Nature Trust of New Brunswick takes place at 10 sites on Saturday, Aug. 19.J. Edward Hurley/Courtesy of Nature Trust of New Brunswick

Volunteers will be taking to the shores next week to help tidy 10 nature preserves in need of “a lot of help.” 

Registrations are open for the eighth annual Great Fundy Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, Aug. 19. Organized by the Nature Trust of New Brunswick, the event brings volunteers to nature preserves at 10 sites in southwestern New Brunswick, including St. Martins, St. George, Blacks Harbour, Saint Andrews, Rothesay and Grand Manan to help clear marine debris and plastic. 

“There’s lots of plastic and marine debris in our oceans, unfortunately. It’s a huge problem that we’re trying to combat right now, and this is one of the ways that we’re trying to do it,” said Laura Evans, an engagement technician originally from Rothesay. “Lots of items have washed up on these islands, which wouldn’t be cleared or even touched if it weren’t through this event.”

Last year, around 250 volunteers helped clear 25 sites across the province as part of the event, which usually hauls off about 200 to 250 garbage bags of ocean trash annually. Evans said that this year, the Nature Trust has picked a smaller number of “critical” areas including Ross Island, off the coast of Grand Manan, Bliss and Frye islands in St. George Parish, Navy Island in Saint Andrews, Long Island in Rothesay and the St. Martins Sea Caves.

“The areas we have selected need a lot of help,” Evans said, noting that the preserve is preparing to open Ross Island to the public this fall for hikes and walks. “We are trying to get that cleaned up and as beautiful as it should be.”

The Nature Trust has 73 nature preserves across the province which it maintains for conservation. Evans said the group is also partnering with the Clean Swell app for those who want to organize their own cleanups from now to Sept. 3 to count towards the event’s total. The app allows people to report their cleanups to the global TIDES oceans conservancy database and track how much they’ve cleaned by weight.

“It can be as formal or informal as you’d like it to be,” Evans said. “I’ve spoken to some people and they’ve been telling me that they’re cleaning up their own beaches.”

In the Charlotte County region, the group partners with the Huntsman Marine Science Centre in Saint Andrews, as well as with Cooke Aquaculture and Connors Bros., who are helping with transportation in some areas.

Volunteers can go to https://www.naturetrust.nb.ca/en/great-fundy-coastal-cleanup for more information, and registrations are open on Eventbrite till Aug. 17.

“You can see first-hand the difference you’re making,” Evans said. “You can see the beach and how different it looks.”

By Andrew Bates, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 11, 2023 at 12:12

This item reprinted with permission from   Telegraph-Journal   Saint John, New Brunswick
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