Steelman Bay marsh in Somers Point gets a makeover thanks to many volunteers who cleaned up for Earth Day
Somers Point, NJ - Patcong Creek Foundation celebrated Earth Day with a splash. First, on Saturday, the nonprofit corporation based in Somers Point, NJ organized a cleanup of Steelman Bay’s marshlands, the eastern border of Somers Point. Then on Sunday, the executive director and founder hosted a table at ACUA Earth Day Festival.
The Steelman Bay cleanup was a huge success with more than 60 volunteers coming together to pick up litter—from tiny cigarette butts to massive styrofoam pieces of floating dock. Members of the community from all walks of life came out to help, including some new members of Patcong Creek Foundation that cleaned two other locations that same morning, and a husband-wife team that are excited for this June’s Assault on Patcong Creek crabbing tournament hosted by the Foundation since it will be their first year participating.
Local elected officials understand the importance of community service and quite a few came out to lend a hand. Atlantic County Freeholder Board Chairperson Frank Formica and Vice-Chairperson Maureen Kern along with Mayor Jack Glasser and Councilmen Ron Meischker and James Toto of Somers Point helped lead volunteers in their efforts.
Two Somers Point Cub Scout packs—Pack 87 and Pack 55—came out in big numbers. Representatives from two Boy Scout Troops—Somers Point Troop 55 and Ocean City Troop 32 also came to clean. Some volunteers cleaned along the roadways while others ventured out into the marsh, ferried by Meischker, who in addition to being a City Councilman is the founder of the Patcong Creek Foundation.
“The volunteerism and support of the community for our cleanup efforts has been incredible,” said Meischker. “The people in our region truly care about our coastal rivers and bays and a turnout like this confirms they want them clean and protected.”
In a mere one and a half hours, the volunteers collected 20 cubic yards of trash and recycling. The debris included many tires, many pieces of styrofoam exceeding 6 feet in length, a large rusty rudder, crab traps, signs, and lumber. One cub scout found an antique bottle and a coconut!
“We selected Steelman Bay because we know it is an area where people like to fish and crab, and often anglers and crabbers leave garbage behind,” said Steve Cedrone, leader of Patcong Creek Foundation’s Environmental Committee and board member who organized the event. “In fact, making recreational anglers and crabbers more aware of the hazards of littering and derelict fishing gear is part of our organization’s mission.”
The next cleanup event that Patcong Creek Foundation will participate in is the 13th Annual Patcong Creek Cleanup along the creek in Somers Point and Linwood.
“We are hoping to have another great turnout for our next cleanup event on May 20th,” remarked Lisa Bender, Executive Director of Patcong Creek Foundation. “We were really overwhelmed with the sheer number of volunteers who came out to the Steelman Bay Cleanup. Seeing how clean the area was at the end after only an hour and a half was astounding when compared to our arrival on site.”
Sunday’s Earth Day Festival allowed the Foundation to reach out to community members from the larger region. Many interested people came to the table to learn about what we do and how they can get involved, and to buy T-shirts and hats in support of the Foundation. The Foundation’s membership grew by 50% over the weekend as a result of these community activities.
Patcong Creek Foundation has as its mission promoting stewardship through outreach, education, and volunteerism. On this basis, Earth Day Weekend was a success for this local organization.
To learn more about the Patcong Creek Foundation or become a member of the organization, visit www.PatcongCreekFoundation.org.
Patcong Creek Foundation
Patcong Creek Foundation is a 501c3 Nonprofit corporation committed to protecting the Patcong Creek. Caring for the creek is important because it is a precious natural resource. Keep up to date with our stewardship through our blog.