A Day of Giving Back to Our Ecosystem

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.”

Mahatma Gandhi

On July 5th, Susan and I, along with our friends Crystal and Troy, took part in an annual event created by Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, an amazing organization whose sole mission is to insure that the Puget Sound remains a pure and unpolluted waterway.

Since their founding in 1984, Puget Soundkeepers has been steadfast in their efforts, insuring all of us can enjoy a clean, safe and unpolluted Puget Sound as well as adjoining waterways like Lake Union and Lake Washington. So, when we were asked by a friend from the Soundkeepers to lend a hand collecting debris after the July 4th fireworks show, we jumped at the chance to do our part.

So bright and early the morning of July 5, we gathered with other volunteers at Moss Bay to begin our two hour shift of cleaning up the debris created by the celebration of American pride the night before.

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Located on the southeast side of Lake Union, Moss Bay is the home of Moss Bay Row, Kayak, Sail & Paddle Board Center, our host for the day. After a brief introduction and instructions from our Puget Soundkeeper group leader Jimmy, we were given the implements of our trade: a standard fishing net; a garbage bag; and a claw-like apparatus. We loaded into double kayaks and paddled out to the awaiting detritus that was easy to see on the calm waters of Lake Union.

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Most of the debris is leftover firework remains that resembles cut up cardboard boxes.

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We also came across many food items presumably thrown overboard by revelers. Among them: lots of watermelon rinds; numerous limes; and a big bag of chicken found by Troy. I’m not entirely sure why an entire bag of chicken was tossed overboard, but I would have loved to have heard the discussion that led up to it.

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After a couple hours of paddling in big circles, scooping out trash, we headed back to the dock where our entire crew enjoyed donuts and coffee supplied by Puget Soundkeepers.

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As we ate and regaled each other with our trash collecting stories, the waste we had brought ashore was weighed. We were all delighted to learn that we had extracted over 140 pounds of debris from Lake Union; debris that would have otherwise remained in Lake Union, causing harm to the marine life and waterfowl that inhabit the lake and polluting the water as it decomposed.

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Puget Soundkeepers is always in need of eager volunteers. Not all volunteer opportunities require you to be on the water. You can volunteer your time filing at their office, working at local events or do computer work. Any amount of time you can provide goes a long way towards supporting their mission and I would encourage you to look at their website, sign-up for their newsletter, and get involved in protecting our local waterways!

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