New England Beacon

Be It Ever So Humble, There’s No Place Like Home

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Phil Colarusso

Wednesday had been a long day in the field, and it was great to be home. It was early evening and I was processing the last seagrass sample. Seagrasses provide habitat for many organisms, so it is not unusual to find small invertebrates crawling around in our eelgrass samples.

I poured the last sample bag onto the sorting tray and separated the small rocks, shells and other material from the shoots of eelgrass. It was at this point I saw it: a small hermit crab lay motionless. It had ditched the snail shell it had been living in, which I subsequently found among a small pile of rocks. The crab was dead and I was immediately overwhelmed with guilt. Hermit crabs only leave the safety of their adopted shells, their homes, under periods of extreme stress. As I contemplated the poor crab’s fate, I wondered what extreme event it would take to make me leave the security of my home. I have lived in homes that survived hurricanes, the snow and coastal flooding of the Blizzard of 1978, and countless other events.

A sense of discomfort gnawed at me as my tired mind wandered. Our oceans are home to millions of species. Global climate change, ocean acidification and eutrophication are some of the processes making our waters inhospitable to many plants and animals that live there. Warmer water temperatures change the normal distribution of animals and plants. Shellfish, which use calcium carbonate to build shells, will find that harder and harder to do as ocean pH levels continue to become more acidic. Sensitive habitats, such as coral reefs and seagrass beds, rapidly decline as waters near shore get over-enriched with nitrogen. What happens to all the fish that depend on those habitats? What do you do when you can’t go home?

Photo by Giancarlo Lalsingh (Tobago_Pictures on Flickr)

Photo by Giancarlo Lalsingh (Tobago_Pictures on Flickr)

As I was putting away my scuba gear, something fell out of my fin. In the dark it looked like a small rock. I picked it up off the garage floor with the intent of throwing it into the backyard. I realized it was not a rock, but another hermit crab, still tucked snugly in its snail shell. There was but one thing to do. I hopped in the car and drove the 15 minutes back to the nearest salt water. I returned this crab back to a safe location and he scrambled away. As he wandered away, I marveled at the resiliency of life. It reaffirmed to me the importance of the work I do. Nothing is more important than that place we call home.

Read more info on EPA’s work to protect ocean and coastal areas in New England.

Connect with EPA Divers on Facebook

About the author: Phil Colarusso is a marine biologist in the Coastal and Ocean Protection Section of EPA New England, and is an avid diver. He’s living the dream in Wenham, Massachusetts with wife JoAnn, two kids, dog and white picket fence.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

A Morning By The Lake

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Amy Miller

My family arrived at our campsite to a gray, evening drizzle. Not too wet to enjoy a kayak, nor too wet to keep us from making a fire and eating turkey dogs off sticks. The beach umbrella propped against a picnic table was ample protection. And we got our reward for persevering. “It doesn’t get much better than this,” remarked a woman on the lake trail as she ogled the double, 180-degree arch of vibrant color like you only expect in children’s books. I looked for the pot of gold.

The rain stopped in time to set up in the dark. The winds whispered above, sending droplets onto our tent. By morning the sky was clear and the islands of Pawtuckaway Lake were calling us out in our kayaks.

Pawtuckaway State Park sits in the middle of southern New Hampshire. Straddling the towns of Raymond and Nottingham, Pawtuckaway has trails, waterfront campsites, rock walls, marshes and a lake with nooks, crannies, big islands, little islands, blueberry-filled islands and a beach.

Unfortunately, it also can have contamination. The beach was half-closed when we were there. Not totally closed, but trimmed with yellow warnings signs that it might not be safe to swim. The problem, according to a nice woman who got my phone call, is that sometimes the bacteria count is too high at the beach. It was only 125 counts per 100 milliliters of water, close to the 88 count cut-off. Outside the beach area the lake was fine, and a few days later, by August, it was all fine again. The bacteria is caused by people and animals, mainly geese and recreating crowds. Beavers and other animals that love the marshes don’t help, nor does rain. But the warning signs didn’t seem to bother the hundreds of people grilling recipes from India, Malaysia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Maine. The sun blazing overhead, dozens of people were splashing about happily.

The state tests the water every other day or so. Since 1996, and more regularly since 2000, they have taken 461 samples. Of those, 34 have come back above acceptable standards. The geese, and people who feed them, are apparently among the first offenders.

When we tumbled out of our tent in the morning, a great blue heron was sitting comfortably at the water’s edge, as if to say “Welcome to my campsite; you may stay, if you like.” We stared at him for about 30 minutes.

Then we decided to make breakfast, smokey toast and hot cocoa. We knew not to share it with the ducks, and the heron knew not to ask.

More EPA info on beach monitoring in New England states, including New Hampshire lakes.

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, eight chickens, dusky conure,  dog and a great community.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

How I Do the “3R’s” in a Local Store

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Amy Miller

I walked into my neighborhood second-hand shop recently to shuffle through the dress rack, but the owner had a different idea for my visit.

“Amy, what do you think of us becoming a non-profit organization?” the local proprietor asked me.

Her notion of a non-profit thrift store reminded me that secondhand shops are actually one element in national efforts to reduce waste. No longer just destinations for bargain hungry and hip shoppers, thrift stores have a role to play in environmental protection.

Remember the three Rs of environmentalism – reduce, reuse, recycle? Reuse, as in wear other people’s clothes, or use other people’s dishware.

This local owner had no idea I am working on zero waste materials as a writer for EPA. And she had no idea that I have become smitten with the thought of communities encouraging second-hand stores. By the time I finished talking, the poor woman had a glazed look that said, “TMI!” in no uncertain terms.

Thrift stores and consignment shops represent the best of reuse. Shoppers happily reuse each others’ clothes, shoes, mugs and books. That means one less dress, coffee cup or dictionary is manufactured and shipped, and one less product heads for the landfill or transfer station.

Although second-hand clothing has been trendy for a while, these shops are not part of environmental policy in South Berwick, Maine, or anywhere else I’ve been lately. EPA encourages shopping at re-use shops and buying used or recycled when possible.

Yes, we have a small swap shop at the dump, as we call it. And yes, some residents have created a local “swap, sell or give” Facebook page. But, these are still not part of town environmental policy.

Later, I wondered if the next generation has internalized the importance of reuse faster than adults. I asked my son if he knew why it is better to reuse than recycle a bottle, for instance.

“Yes, Mommy,” my son told me. “It is better to reuse than recycle because it takes oil and energy to recycle the bottle.”

Plus, I noted, “It takes energy to transport the bottle to the recycling plant, and then back again to another customer.”

He had heard it all before.

Perhaps the owner of my second-hand clothing shop wasn’t ready to turn her store into the cutting edge of waste management policy. But, I am still dreaming of a thrift shop promoted or subsidized by the town. Maybe she will be ready to see me again next week.

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, eight chickens, dusky conure dog and a great community.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Another Saturday Night

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Phil Colarusso

Saturday night is usually the big social night on the weekly calendars of most humans. Who knew that sea worms kept the same schedule?

Fellow EPA diver Dan Arsenault and I braved the north Atlantic just after sunset on a recent Saturday evening. Night diving requires a little more planning than the same dive executed during the day. Each diver carries a waterproof dive light, generally with a fresh set of batteries for each dive. In addition, we attach a glow stick to the dive flag and place a second one on the beach where we leave our shoes, car keys and towels. The glow stick on the dive flag helps divers who get separated to find each other and the one on the beach helps us find our car keys.

Some animals are easier to find at night, such as squid, which are more abundant at night and are attracted to dive lights. Lobsters also tend to be much more active at night, emerging from their burrows to roam their respective neighborhoods looking for food. Fish, such as Atlantic cod, generally found in deeper water during the day, venture into shallower waters at night.

At night, there is also always the sense that something unusual is just around the corner. This recent night dive was a perfect example. Dan had found a beautiful fish called a longhorn sculpin, which I was filming. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed what appeared to be a rocket rising with white smoke trailing behind it. After a closer look, I realized the “rocket” was really a 12 inch long sea worm and the smoke was clouds of sperm. We had caught the worm in the act of spawning, which only happens a few nights a year in and around the full moon.

Unfortunately for the sea worm, his frantic flight also drew the attention of a large fish known as a cunner. As the sea worm released its gametes in a writhing dance, the cunner tried to figure out how to take a bite. Finally, it inhaled the entire worm in two gulps and swam off with the white cloud of worm gametes streaming out of its gills. This type of interaction generally occurs only at night and Dan and I were incredibly fortunate to witness it. You can see a 30 second clip here:

About the author: Phil Colarusso is a marine biologist in the Coastal and Ocean Protection Section of EPA New England, and is an avid diver.  He’s living the dream with wife JoAnn, two kids, dog and white picket fence.

Protecting oceans and coasts in New England

Connect with EPA Divers on Facebook

 

 

 

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Trying to go “plastic free”

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer

Greetings from New England!

Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Robin Johnson

Like most people, I use a lot of plastic. Virtually all of my food comes wrapped in it; it houses my toiletries; and some even sneaks in as cups, straws and bags despite my efforts to choose alternatives. Let’s not even mention the plastic in my appliances and gadgets.

Hearing about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a huge flotilla of garbage floating in the ocean – and albatross chicks dying from ingesting plastic reminded me that the environment pays the ultimate price for our love of disposable plastic.

When I heard about a campaign to use less single-use plastic, I was intrigued. Could I eliminate it from my life for a month? Only one way to find out!

So far, it’s been a mixed bag. Most plastic can be avoided by carrying a water bottle and reusable shopping bag. My bag can be packed into its own pocket, so it doesn’t take up room in my purse. Morning coffee is more challenging. I have to make my coffee at home, or stop in the office to pick up my travel mug.

At home, I’ve come a long way, but it hasn’t been easy. I switched to milk sold in reusable bottles. I bring “empties” to the store and get the $2 deposit back, but I have to recycle the plastic lid. From the milk, I make yogurt, which is pretty easy. Finally, I’ve started making my own almond milk and protein bars.

I may be green, but I still love pizza, Thai, falafel, and other foods. Getting takeout without disposable plastic usually means getting it in my own container. I purchased a reusable plastic clamshell container that I take to my favorite restaurants. Most restaurants are happy to fill my container, and some even give me extra food or a discount. After all, I’m saving them money.

Personal care products may be the biggest hurdle. Few shampoos and sunscreens are available without plastic packaging, and those that exist are online. I’m going to use what I already have, while looking for better options.

I’m keeping a “dilemma bag” filled with plastic garbage I couldn’t avoid. At the end of the month, I’ll continue to look for alternatives.

Could you go without single- use plastics for even a week? What would be the biggest stumbling block for you?

More info on plastic marine debris from EPA

About the author: Robin Johnson writes wastewater discharge permits under the Clean Water Act.  She lives in the Boston area with her husband and two cats.  She spends her time vegetable gardening, swimming, and knitting.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

The Sounds of Recovery in Boston Harbor

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Phil Colarusso

For more than two centuries, Boston Harbor has had a variety of things dumped into it. In 1773, colonists famously dumped shiploads of tea to protests taxes. But in recent decades, the harbor has received less tea and more sewage. In the 1970s, 43 communities sent their wastewater to Boston where it was barely treated before its release into the harbor. The harbor’s pollution was so severe that local newspapers dubbed it “The Harbor of Shame” in the 1980s! But nowadays, after almost 25 years of intensive work by government and local organizations, sewage is no longer discharged into Boston Harbor and, as a result, the harbor has made a miraculous recovery.

As a marine biologist for the EPA, I’ve had the opportunity to see one of the most hopeful signs of that recovery up close. In the early 1980s, one area of the harbor near Logan Airport called Deer Island Flats was known for having industrial chemicals in the bottom sediments and fish with correspondingly high rates of tumors. Today, Deer Island Flats is covered with graceful shoots of eelgrass that form dense meadows akin to green wheat fields growing underwater, swaying in the current.

The presence of eelgrass at Deer Island Flats is noteworthy because scientists routinely use it as an indicator species. It is particularly sensitive to water quality, so scientists interpret its presence as evidence that water quality in that location is good. Deer Island Flats has gone from being grossly polluted to supporting one of the marine environment’s most sensitive species.

The benefits of eelgrass extend well beyond just being an indicator of clean water. Many fish and crustaceans use it as a spawning and nursery habitat. Other sea creatures use it as a refuge from predators, while still others, such as striped bass, use it as a restaurant drive-through, coming in to forage for food with each high tide. Like all plants, eelgrass performs the miracle of photosynthesis, taking the waste product carbon dioxide and with the help of the sun, converting it into simple sugar molecules. Eelgrass growth can be prolific, so the quantities of carbon dioxide converted to sugar can be large. This conversion process has important implications for much larger geochemical processes, such as global climate change and ocean acidification. Thus, the health of our coastal ecosystems is important, not only for the marine animals that may live there, but also for the planet in general.

As I climbed back into the boat, airplanes were landing at the nearby airport—but if you listened very closely you could hear the pleading call of a seagull overhead. And, in my mind, I also imagined I could hear the murmur of eelgrass meadows gently swaying in the water below. The sounds of a healthy harbor.

Connect with EPA Divers on Facebook

About the author: Phil Colarusso is a marine biologist in the Coastal and Ocean Protection Section of EPA New England, and is an avid diver. He’s living the dream in Wenham with wife JoAnn, two kids, dog and white picket fence.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Paddling in Swan Territory

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts
By Amy Miller

It was a beautiful day on the Salmon Falls River. As we paddled up the gently moving water between Maine and New Hampshire, I could imagine we were in the wild north country, not 70 minutes from Boston.

An eagle soared overhead, confirming neighborhood wildlife gossip, and in the distance a woodpecker worked his tree. Just off the Maine bank, turtles sunbathed on fallen logs as we let our kayaks drift silently, not wanting to frighten them off.

Soon my son and his friend pushed ahead, comfortably paddling their fiberglass hulls while I struggled along in a blow-up craft better suited for lounging. We were exploring a waterway that boasts receiving in 1684 the first cow ever to land in the New World.

But danger lurked ahead.

“Wait for me,” I shouted. “There could be KILLER SWANS up there.”

No one paid attention. Which was too bad because I was only exaggerating a little.

Every year boaters enjoying the part of this 37.5-mile river between Rollinsford, NH and Berwick, Maine, report unwelcomed attacks by one or more local swans.

“They attacked our boat,” reported one canoeing angler.

“We weren’t even that close and it came after me,” said another.

Who would think these graceful white birds would create such a stir? Well, apparently anyone who knows anything about swans.

Or anyone who read the 2010 story of a 37-year-old man attacked by a swan in a pond in Illinois. The poor guy drowned after being thrown from a kayak by a mute swan, one of the more aggressive sorts of swans out there. The swan, or perhaps a second swan, stopped the man from swimming to shore, bystanders reported.

While injuries are rare, and serious injuries even rarer, mute swans will aggressively defend their nests in spring and are known to go after people using rivers this time of year. Among the largest waterfowl in North America, swans can weigh up to 28 pounds and have a wing span of up to 8 feet. So their aggression can be scary.

Experts advise that especially in spring we avoid nests, which are usually found along the banks or shore where reeds are flattened (by a sitting female).

Field and Stream’s website had little good to say about the mute swan, which was native to Europe and Asia, and brought to North America.

“Outside of animal rights organizations … you won’t find many fans of the mute swan,” the website said. “It’s an altogether nasty, ill-tempered and destructive bird.”

The swans were gallivanting elsewhere the day I went for a sunset kayak. But anyway, I knew, I was entering their territory, not vice versa.

US Fish and Wildlife Service info on Swans

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, eight chickens, dusky conure, chicken-eating dog and a great community.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Rainy Day Lesson

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Dave Deegan

Like many New Englanders, we’ve been really busy lately with our garden. The warm growing months are so fleeting here that you have to be ready the minute you can plant veggies and herbs to harvest some good food later in the summer.

It’s been even more hectic this year, because my wife and I acted on our carefully-developed plans of long-overdue landscaping in our yard. But as any homeowner can tell you, there usually is no simple plan. If you do this, then it triggers that. And that. And something else.

As we thought about how we wanted our yard to be, we knew we needed to address some drainage issues: gutters were draining directly onto a walkway, and in the winter that’s a recipe for dangerous slick ice. So we excavated a channel for the gutter to drain under the walkway, leading into a dry well. Now the water will slowly infiltrate into the earth without turning into mud or ice where we need to walk.

We have another area nearby, where a gutter channels rainwater from our garage, and we thought, “this is a great spot for a rain barrel!”

Diverting rain by collecting it in a rain barrel, or channeling into a dry well (or a rain garden) has a lot of advantages besides our immediate need to address extra runoff in our garden. Stormwater runoff can collect a lot of bad stuff, especially in urban areas with lots of pavement and other hard impermeable surfaces. As water runs off roofs, parking lots and roads, it collects all the trace residues of chemicals, nutrients, silt and debris that have accumulated, and swiftly deposits it all in the nearest storm sewer, and from there it often goes directly into nearby streams, ponds or another water body. In other words, pollution.

It’s amazing how quickly our 55 gallon rain barrel fills up, just waiting for a dry spell when we need to water our garden. It’s been raining steadily for about the past six hours – not even pouring hard – and the rain barrel is full. That’s just one section of roof and gutter. It makes me realize how much water comes down in a typical rainstorm, and how much of a difference our household decisions can make to help solve a problem.

Find more New England resources on how to “Soak Up the Rain.”

More Green infrastructure solutions to stormwater

About the author:  Dave Deegan works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. When he’s not digging rocks out of his garden, he loves being outdoors in one of New England’s many special places.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Sitting in Traffic (It’s all relative)

Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts

By Amy Miller

There’s a big sign flashing as you exit my Maine village to the north: EXPECT MAJOR DELAYS. Route 236 between South Berwick and Berwick is being repaved, I guess.

I can drive the four miles from South Berwick to Berwick without passing more than a handful of cars. Even on Friday evenings in summer when traffic coming into town is sometimes backed up a mile – a full 10 minutes — the road north from town is virtually empty. All of those cars take a right, east to the Maine coast.

So the idea of MAJOR DELAYS is one I cannot really imagine. I think of the LIE – the Long Island Expressway – which in some parts hosts on average about 200,000 vehicles a day (that’s 8,000 a minutes or 17 a second on each of eight lanes, if I’m doing my math right). Here, MAJOR DELAYS might mean it takes two hours to go 10 miles at rush hour instead of the normal 60 minutes. I think of The 5 in Los Angeles, where no one goes between 3 and 6 pm because too many cars are on the road already. I mean no one with any choice in the matter.

For a moment I think about the Tobin Bridge, where recent repairs have meant it could take an hour to get out of town. Or, stretching the imagination, I conjure up the image of the Portsmouth traffic circle in New Hampshire, where sprawl over the last two decades has changed a sleepy rotary into a circle of constant traffic that sometimes backs up nearly to the next exit north.

But major delays in South Berwick? State records show anywhere from 200 to 16,000 AADT on our various roads. AADT, by the way, is the annual average daily traffic and is used for all sorts of things, including transportation funding and planning. Leaving town via the MAJOR DELAY route there might be 6,000 AADT, best I could figure it. This means about 400 vehicles an hour or about 6 or 7 a minute, figuring on traffic only 15 hours a day. While the LIE may buzz at 3 am, our town is pretty much asleep by 10 pm on a weeknight and 11 pm on weekends.

When the DownEaster train comes through and they have to lower the gate I find myself waiting a minute or two, usually behind a dozen cars or less.

So I am curious. What will these MAJOR DELAYS look like?

Here’s EPA help assessing how green are your wheels, even if they are stuck in heavy traffic

About the author: Amy Miller is a writer who works in the public affairs office of EPA New England in Boston. She lives in Maine with her husband, two children, eight chickens, dusky conure, dog and a great community.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Clean Up Time for Our Local River

Several links below exit EPA Exit EPA Disclaimer
Greetings from New England!Each Monday we write about the New England environment and way of life seen through our local perspective. Previous posts
By Gina Snyder

Each year for the past 15 years, I’ve celebrated National Trails Day – first Saturday in June – by participating in a river clean up. It gives me a chance to get the winter cobwebs out of my canoe and enjoy the river in the company of hard-working friends.

I live north of Boston near the Ipswich River, once designated as the Third Most Endangered River in America by the advocacy group American Rivers. The Ipswich River was endangered by water withdrawals which have since been reduced, and the river has made a good recovery in the last six years. But this quiet little waterway continues to be plagued by litter.

Every day trash makes its way into the river, and you can see the build-up, particularly around bridges. Why people send their trash sailing out the windows of their cars as they approach and pass over a bridge, I will never understand. So each year, when our local stream team sponsors its clean up, my husband and I dust off our canoe, grab some trash bags and gloves, and set out on the river to help with the clean up.

I also spend one Sunday morning a month monitoring some simple water quality parameters at the river. And I always bring a bag to pick up the monthly accumulation of trash around the bridge.

I find lots of small and some large, liquor bottles, beer and beverage cans, water bottles, and fast food wrappers, cups and bags, and cigarette packs. For several months in a row, I found several pairs of clean, white, sock liners (peds) each month! That might have been the strangest littering I’ve come across.

So, Please, Don’t Litter! Trash is unsightly; it gets into our waterways and presents a danger to the critters that rely on the waterway for food and water. But you can also pitch in, in a good way, by joining in a clean-up.

There are lots of ways to participate in National Trails day next Saturday. The Appalachian Mountain Club and other organizations list opportunities to make the outdoors more accessible and more welcoming on the national trails day website. Take a look and see how you can pitch in.

More EPA information on Trash and Recycling

About the author: Gina Snyder works in the Office of Environmental and Compliance Assistance at EPA New England and has been a volunteer river monitor on the Ipswich River, where she also picks up trash every time she monitors the water quality.

 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.