(HAMPTON ROADS, VA)—Do you know someone who has participated in Clean the Bay Day for many years? Who goes out of his or her way to pick up trash that could foul local rivers and the Chesapeake Bay, not just on Clean the Bay Day but every day? Who goes the extra mile to make sure his or her locality does its part to keep local waterways litter-free? If so, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) would like to honor that individual as a "Clean the Bay Day Hero."
This year, June 1st marks the 25th anniversary of Clean the Bay Day—a popular, successful statewide cleanup dedicated to helping restore the Bay and its rivers and streams. The event exemplifies the success that can be achieved when local governments, businesses, and citizens work together to improve water quality.
Each year CBF and its numerous partners recruit thousands of volunteers to remove litter from waterways, roadways, and shorelines. In 2012, approximately 6,800 volunteers from communities throughout the Commonwealth removed more than 150,000 pounds of debris from nearly 500 miles of streams and shoreline. And they did so in just three hours. The event involved more than 22 cities and counties, 11 military installations, 11 state parks, 20 independent organizations, and numerous scout groups, businesses, churches, and civic organizations. Since 1989, Clean the Bay Day has engaged over 122,000 volunteers, who have removed approximately 5.8 million pounds of debris from nearly 5,500 miles of shoreline.
"As part of the 25th anniversary celebrations, CBF is looking to identify individuals who have made significant contributions to Clean the Bay Day through the years," said Tanner Council, CBF Hampton Roads Grassroots Coordinator, "Maybe they have been a zone captain for 15+ years, or have done something very special for their site each year, or have performed certain heroics. We want to know who has gone above and beyond to rock this program so we may recognize their exemplary effort."
CBF will recognize volunteers and organizers who have demonstrated exceptional service to the event at an awards ceremony and Clean the Bay Day kickoff event April 24 in Norfolk. To nominate a Clean the Bay Day hero, send the name, affiliation, contact information and reason for the nomination to: Tanner Council, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 757-622-1964. Nomination deadline is April 18.
In recent years, organizers have noted a decrease in the overall quantity of litter, along with an increase in volunteer interest and involvement. Although much progress has been made, litter and particularly the less visible pollution in local waterways damages habitat for fish, crabs, and oysters. That pollution costs jobs and puts human health at risk. Clean the Bay Day, still going strong after 25 years, instills environmental stewardship in the thousands of volunteers who participate year after year. That, and other water quality improvement efforts from the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, will have tangible benefits for future generations.
Registration is now open for Clean the Bay Day 2013. To volunteer, go to www.cbf.org/clean or call 800-SAVE-BAY.