The Marco Island’s Beach Advisory Committee’s (BAC) new educational outreach program, “A Kid’s Guide to Loving Our Beach,” was launched in August 2016. BAC kicked this program off with a presentation and shell-craft with day campers at Camp Mackle. On July 12, BAC returned for crafts and a presentation at the camp’s temporary location at the Family Church of Marco Island.
BAC Chair Ruth McCann and committee members Maria Lamb and Ray McChesney brought the beach to Mackle Park’s campers, grades 1-5. The kids used shells and glittery stones to decorate their own “stepping stone” concrete mold. This fun project was meant to enhance their beach experience with commonly found shells fromMarco’s beaches.
Ruth McCann gave a fun and informative presentation on beach etiquette. Her show and tell props included samples of plastic straws and plastic chokables collected from past beach clean-ups.
Ray McChesney displayed two bags of plastic straws to the children; the larger bag represented six-months of plastic straws collected last year; the smaller bag, six-months of plastic straws collected this year. Most of the straws collected from the beach this year are biodegradable drinking straws. The campaign against using plastic drinking straws and switching to biodegradable drinking straws can be credited for the decrease in discarded plastic straws during beach clean-ups.
TIPS FROM “A KID’S GUIDE TO LOVING YOUR BEACH”
Share the beach with wildlife. Our beach is home to many threatened species, including sea turtles and nesting shorebirds. Do not chase or flush the birds. Always walk around flocks of birds. Never, ever litter! If you see trash on the beach, pick it up! Trash is harmful to wildlife and our ocean. Plastic Free July: Ruth McCann also informed the kids about Plastic Free July. Using reusable cloth bags for grocery shopping is one way to join Plastic-Free July.
A perfect ending to the visit was a beach trivia quiz, complete with prizes, which got the kids attention real quick. Samples of the trivia questions: How longdoes it take for a mylar balloon to break down? Name three birds you commonly see at our beaches. What leads the sea turtle back to the Gulf?
ABOUT THE BEACH ADVISORY COMMITTEE
Who are the BAC members? This is a volunteer citizen committee, each appointed by a city councilor, and sharing a love of Marco’s number one economic driver – our beaches. BAC members are protective of the island’s coastal natural resources and threatened species, passionate about keeping our beaches clean, and dedicated to beach education and outreach.
BAC’s Mission: The Advisory Committee is a seven-member committee whose mission is to keep the Marco Island City Council informed ofcurrent conditions of Marco’s approximately seven miles of gulf beaches; advise them of environmental matters relating to the beach and make recommendations to maintain the high quality of our coastal natural resources and the beaches for its residents and visitors. They meet on the third Monday of every month at 9 AM at the Marco Island City Council Chamber.
If interested in serving on Marco’s Beach Advisory Committee, please contact City Clerk Laura Litzan for more information.