Monthly Morningside Park Cleanup with Wild Wonder
On Sunday, January 22nd, 2023, The International SeaKeepers Society kicked off 2023 with a return to Morningside Park with 22 volunteers to clear away 50 pounds of trash. The first hour of the cleanup, yoga was taking place simultaneously led by our friend Kristen from Wild Wonder, an organization focused on guiding people in exploring the relationship between the mind, body and spirit through tales, ritual and travel, with the goal of demystifying and democratizing holistic practices. Kristen led a wonderful, restorative yoga session that volunteers and their young children all enjoyed. Our volunteers had the opportunity to connect deeply with the surrounding environment and then got to cleaning along the coastline, in the mangroves, and around the park’s parking lots. 3 bags were filled with plastic straws, water bottles, and plenty of fragmented plastics. Volunteers brought their strangest finds to the table to compete for a reusable mug. With some of the weirdest items including a sock, a halloween mask, and a stuffed animal. The halloween mask won the weirdest item prize by popular vote, and we ended the cleanup with a discussion about how we can all do a little in our daily lives to be more sustainable and prevent items we’d found in the cleanup get into the environment in the first place.
CleanSwell is a trash collection mobile app developed by Ocean Conservancy and utilized by volunteers at each of our cleanups that allows them to record the types and quantities of trash found during their clean. Our mission at SeaKeepers begins with the foundation of research followed by the education of communities that empower them to protect and restore the surrounding coastal and marine environments. Data from the CleanSwell app is included in a global database that scientists everywhere can access and provides a means of identifying pollution trends that are location specific. Using CleanSwell at our cleanups involves community members in the Ocean Conservancy’s pursuit of evidence based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and people that depend on it, as well as provides the data necessary for effective local legislation to be written accomplishing the SeaKeepers’ goal of protection and eventual restoration. This cleanup saw 60% of volunteers participating in recording the trash they picked up, and they accounted for 100% of trash collected.