This weekend on April 19th I participated in a spring clean-up around the Elkhorn Slough Reserve. While it was not at the reserve itself, it was a community clean-up co-sponsored by the Elkhorn Slough Reserve and the Elkhorn Slough Foundation. Volunteers from both nearby and faraway places showed up for this event.

The morning started with a quick set-up of pamphlets and snacks and beverages. Soon after people starting arriving.  One of the Elkhorn Slough Reserve’s scientific aides, Alina, and myself were helping volunteers with signing in and other general questions they had. After signing-in the volunteers were free to grab brightly colored safety vests, plenty of trash bags, and gloves.

After an introductory safety talk the volunteers were free to go to the surrounding neighborhood site that they desired. The first site I began to clean-up was the road that the reserve lies on, Elkhorn Road. I was surprised by the amount of trash located at the site since from a car’s view it looks almost spotless. Because of the recent rain we’ve had here in the Monterey Bay area, the vegetation along the road has grown quite a bit, so it was hard sifting through the tall grass in order to find pieces of trash.

The trash objects I most frequently encountered were 40 oz beer bottles and cigarette boxes. It was pretty scary finding out that people drink while driving down the roads surrounding Elkhorn Road because they are very twisty and windy.

I tried picking up as many small pieces of trash as I could in order to prevent any of the birds that are migrating through the area from confusing the trash for food. While I was out on the roads I also tried to look out for any birds to sharpen my identification skills!  I hope that this clean-up made a difference, and I’m sure it did considering the large numbers of bags of trash and recyclables that we were able to fill up.

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