Maryland Coastal Bays

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Earth Day Celebration - April 2, 2017

                Eight years ago, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Ocean City Surfrider Chapter received a proclamation from the Ocean City Mayor and City Council encouraging “an annual Ocean City celebration of an Earth Day Clean Up where residents, businesses, and our local government celebrate and advocate for the preservation of our ocean dunes and bay wetlands…”

                As we gear up to celebrate year eight, we’d like you to know that over the last 7 years Earth Day volunteers have picked up over 6 tons of trash on our beaches and in our marshes. This year, we plan to add to that number and we hope you will join us as we celebrate the nationwide observance of Earth Day (just a couple weeks early!).

                Five months before the first Earth Day, The New York Times published a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting the astonishing proliferation of environmental events: “Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation’s campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam… a national day of observance of environmental problems…is being planning for next spring…when a nationwide environmental ‘teach-in’…coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned…”

                It is estimated that 20 million people took to the streets, vastly exceeding even the most optimistic expectations. Republicans, Democrats, school children, college students, labor unions, housewives, doctors, religious leaders, bankers, retirees, farmers, and everyone in between participated in thousands of local marches, rallies, parades, protests, and other “happenings”.

                The first Earth Day was deemed a blazing success. The event was front-page news almost everywhere, and coverage was overwhelmingly positive. The event cemented in people’s minds the importance of environmental issues as a community concern and an international political priority.

                For many participants, Earth Day marked a turning point in their lives, when reckless consumption and unfettered industrial waste suddenly came under harsh scrutiny. In December 1970, seven months after the first Earth Day, President Richard Nixon and Congress established the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the growing public demand for cleaner water, air, and land. The EPA was tasked with the challenging goal of repairing the environmental damage already done by past generations and to establish guidelines that would help create a cleaner and safer environment for all.

                Senator Nelson felt that Earth Day worked because of the spontaneous response at the grassroots level. He had neither the time nor resources to organize 20 million demonstrators and the thousands of schools and local communities that participated. That was the remarkable thing about Earth Day; it organized itself.

                Forty-eight years later grassroots efforts to keep environmental awareness in the forefront continually evolve. The Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) is a non-profit partially funded by the EPA, whose purpose is to protect the bays behind Ocean City and Assateague Island.  Every year this program works on engaging the community through clean ups & outreach programs on environmental awareness by partnering with citizen based groups to government entities. MCBP works hard on continual outreach programs to raise awareness about pollution problems and inspire science-based solutions to prevent it at the source.

                For those whose inner environmentalist speaks loudest, on April 8th, MCBP, OC Surf Club, OC Surfriders, and the Town of Ocean City encourage you to make a public commitment to take on environmental action with us and join us for a morning of picking up trash & debris!  You can register by calling 410-213-2297 (extension 106) or email sandis@mdcoastalbays.org. The clean-up will meet up on Saturday morning, April 8th, 10 am at Ocean City’s Town Hall parking lot. Form a team or come by yourself; you will be given an assigned clean-up area, gloves, trash bags, and a free Earth Day t-shirt while supplies last. As a team, or individually, you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve helped keep our coastal waterways clean in honor of Earth Day. A team can range from one to 24 people.

                And this is a great event to commit to adopting a street through the MCBP Adopt Your Street program. It is a simple way to become an environmental steward and your commitment is agreeing to pick up litter at least four times a year. For more information on this program, go to www.mdcoastalbays.org and click the “Adopt Your Street” button.

                If you can’t be there to help with this event, why not make a donation? Become a sponsor of the Earth Day Clean-Up. As a $50 Earth Day Supporter you’ll be mentioned in all of the Earth Day credits and have your information or coupons handed out at the event. As a $200 Earth Day Sponsor you can have your logo put on our Earth Day t-shirts, designed by one of our local artists.

Smith is the Development and Marketing Coordinator for the Maryland Coastal Bays Program. 



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