During Heal the Bay’s beach clean-up day in 2014, local Girl Scouts Charlotte Drummond and sisters Abigail and Madeline Brown organized and completed a project called “Reclaim the Beach.”
The Troop 12815 members took photos during the trash collection at Topanga State Beach and created an educational poster about beach clean-ups and storm drains. Then they collected used T-shirts and sewed/re-purposed them into 100 reusable bags. They gave these to visitors at the Heal the Bay aquarium in October 2014.
In exchange for a free bag, the Girl Scouts asked each family to do their own beach clean-up using the reusable bags. They educated the children (and parents) about the importance of keeping beaches clean (to help protect ocean wildlife) and not to use plastic bags. They also let the kids decorate these bags with markers.
In recognition of their work, the three young women earned a coveted Silver Award. Three years later, Drummond and the Brown sisters participated in the California Coastal Commission’s beach clean-up at Topanga in September.
There were about 50 people at the site on a partly cloudy day, and they all spent about two hours picking up trash. The Scouts reported that all ages participated, from young children and teens to grandparents in their 70s and older.
“The first time I did this was while I was completing the Silver Award for Girl Scouts,” Drummond said. “This time our project focused on how plastic pollutes the ocean and how we could help out through different types of activities.”
The volunteers found lots of little pieces of Styrofoam, cigarette butts and bottle caps scattered from the waterline to the hillside flanking Pacific Coast Highway.
“It was good to see so many people helping out and how passionate the volunteers are about their work,” said Drummond, who attends Malibu High School; the Browns attend Palisades High School. “The atmosphere was peaceful and you could tell that everyone wanted to be there.”
Abigail and Madeline have finished their Girl Scout Gold Award (highest achievement in Girl Scouts and available only to high school students) and Charlotte is working on hers.
The three Scouts urge anyone who has never participated in a cleanup to attend one. For more information, visit healthebay.org.