Want to spend some time on the white sandy shores of Island Beach State Park? Well, here’s your chance to make a difference by participating in several upcoming volunteer opportunities.
This Saturday, Oct. 19, Clean Ocean Action is inviting citizens and organizations to participate in the 28th Annual Fall Beach Sweeps event as part of the Wave of Action taking place at more than 65 locations along the Jersey Shore. Island Beach is one of the sites.
If you are an Island Beach fan, head on over to Ocean Beach Bathing Pavilion #1 at 9 a.m. Park access fees are waived for all volunteers, but try to register online so organizers can have an idea of the number of people who are planning to come.
Leah Savia, beach captain for the Island Beach event, said all access areas in the park have been reopened and volunteers are “welcome to clean up and down the entire beach side of the park.” There is usually a big contingent of Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops who come with their families, she added.
“The Beach Sweeps is much more than picking up trash, it’s about collecting data to help reduce sources of pollution” and that is why volunteers are instructed to record the quantity and types of debris found.
Volunteers should wear gloves, dress for the weather, apply sunscreen, and wear closed-toed, hard-soled shoes. To register, visit www.CleanOceanAction.org
On Oct. 26 and 29, Jersey Cares is organizing “Sandy Service Day: Remember. Rebuild. Recover” events at the shore. Island Beach State Park is one of the locations, but volunteers are asked to pre-register because the number of volunteers is capped at 150 people per session.
Volunteers should wear clothes that can get dirty and all projects will be held rain or shine.
Park Naturalist Ed Hale said that Jersey Cares came to Island Beach Oct. 5 with a contingent of volunteers from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield and built six new lifeguard stands, stretched more than 800 feet of dune fence, cleaned the north end of the beach and cleared a trail that had previously been closed by the public.
The Jersey Cares website describes the events on Oct. 26 and 29 as “Beautifying Beaches” at “the preserved barrier island that protects a number of natural shoreline and near shore habitats.”
The park contains close to 10 miles of sandy beach, an extensive shoreline along Barnegat Bay, dense maritime forests, rolling sand dunes, and tidal marshes, Jersey Cares says in its apt description of Island Beach.
Among the possible tasks that volunteers will be asked to perform: help build new lifeguard stands, lay down new storm fencing, clear debris from existing trails and beaches, give the Nature Center a fresh coat of paint, and perform general landscaping, including planting beach grass.
To register for the event, visit www.jerseycares.org/sandyserviceday