From the field: Earth Day cleanup near Ashtabula, Ohio

Story and photos by BM2 William Campbell, Coast Guard Station Ashtabula, Ohio:

ASHTABULA, Ohio - Personnel from Coast Guard Station Ashtabula, Ohio, Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 7, Cub Scout Pack 71 and local Boy Scouts stand with garbage collected from Lake Shore Park, Walnut Park and Bridge Street during an Earth Day cleanup, April 21, 2012.

In honor of Earth Day, personnel from Coast Guard Station Ashtabula, Ohio, Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 5, Cub Scout Pack 71, and portions of local Boy Scout troops worked collectively in an effort to clean up Lake Shore Park, Walnut Beach, and Bridge Street, Saturday April 21st, from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Organizing the event began approximately 45 days ago when we made fliers and posted them at various businesses along Bridge Street. Then Coast Guardsmen attended the Boy/Cub Scout Troop meeting (held the second Thursday each month) in Geneva, Ohio, to address the leaders of the respective troops/packs and ask them for their assistance.

ASHTABULA, Ohio - Trash collected during a local Earth Day cleanup sits in the back of a truck from Coast Guard Station Ashtabula, Ohio, before being properly disposed of, April 21, 2012.

We met at approximately 8:30 a.m. Weather was chilly with temps in the low 40s, overcast, and light rain. However, this did not deter between 60-75 volunteers who arrived ready to go between 8:30 and 9 a.m.

Braving the light rain and chilly air, we decided to break into teams and clean for approximately 90 minutes. We then returned to the station and provided the children tours of the unit and assets from 10 to 10:45 a.m.

After warming up, we concentrated on Bridge Street for another hour. When we finished, the volunteers were encouraged to meet at a local pizzeria, where we shared lunch together and debriefed.

This was the first year that Coast Guard personnel from Station Ashtabula worked with volunteers to coordinate a local cleanup. We all expect to build off its success for the years to come and make this a truly special event.

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