Effie Cox has been the coordinator for the Adopt Your Beach program for the Ocean City Surf Club since its spring 2016 inception. Cox says the Adopt Your Beach program was a natural progression for the group from their outreach and environmental events.
“People talk with pride about ‘our’ beach and how much they care, we just embraced that feeling of ownership, stewardship and gave them an organized way to come together to take care of the beaches all year,” Cox says.
The Adopt Your Beach program is about much more than litter—‘it’s about the need for clean oceans, shorelines and waterways.’ Goals for the program include maintaining clean litter free beaches in the resort town, raising public awareness on clean beach issues and collecting statistical data on debris found on the beaches.
According to Cox, it’s a learning process. Members of the AYB program provide Cox and the organization with information on various aspects they feel the organization can work on to better care for the beaches.
“The impact and response has been amazing to me. And very encouraging to see so many so passionate.”
Cox says at this point in time, there are hundreds of people who have made the commitment to partake in the AYB program. Participants have been taking the program one step farther and cleaning up on the bayside and the West Ocean City beach at the inlet.
“It honestly was us saying lets do this as a community and they all stood up and said YES! I know I am bias but I am so proud of all the businesses, locals, visitors, kids and civic organizations. And it’s not just local anymore, we had a group in New Jersey reach out to us to say they were taking a page out of our book and doing the same on their beaches as well.”
On behalf of the AYB program, Cox says they can never have too many involved in the program. Each week, AYB welcomes new ‘adopters’ aboard.
“It is personal for so many, they share stories about their connection to an area of the beach or memories. At least one group is out on the beach every weekend picking up litter.”
Now the question is— are you ready to join? Here’s how: ocsurfclub.org/adopt-your-beach/