Top 10 Stewardship Traveler Activities Countdown

Number 10: WineCoastCountry Beach Cleanup Roundup

By Michele Roest

With over 70 unique activities and attractions in the Stewardship Travel Program, people have been asking about the highlights. Every WineCoastCountry location has many wonderful Stewardship Travel opportunities. To get you started, plan your trips around these great activities.

The third Saturday in September invites more people to engage in stewardship activities than any other day of the year. It seems pretty simple: go outside and pick up some trash. Where? At the beach, in a creek, anywhere in the world! If picking up trash isn’t your thing, you can support others with donations of food, snacks or other rewards at the cleanup events.

Tourism is the reason Coastal Cleanup Day began. The first known coastal cleanup day was organized in Oregon in 1984, at the end of a busy summer tourist season that left a popular beach a little worse for wear. In 1985, the California Coastal Commission adopted the idea. By 1993, California Coastal Cleanup Day was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “largest garbage collection” ever organized, with 50,405 volunteers. Last year, The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup documented more than half a million volunteers, collecting 10 million pounds of trash in countries all over the world.

San Luis Obispo County offered cleanups at 28 locations along its extensive coastline, including San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay, Los Osos, Avila Beach, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach, and Grover Beach. The Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo (ECOSLO) coordinates the event. Creek Day is also celebrated on the third Saturday in September. Volunteers prevent trash from getting to the beach, collecting litter in the rural creeks and rivers that provide habitat for endangered aquatic wildlife.

If you missed it this year, Avila Beach motels offer free litter cleanup kits to guests throughout the year. Or anytime you are on vacation, carry a backpack on a beach walk and pick up trash as you go. Doing good and feeling good while on vacation! That’s stewardship travel.

To learn more, watch this great video about marine debris:

Since we’re doing a top 10 list, have a look at the top ten items recovered on Coastal Cleanup Day.

Michele Roest is a biologist, naturalist, and science educator. She has a lifelong interest and love for the natural beauty and cultural history of San Luis Obispo County.