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Join Peconic Estuary Program in Pick Up the Picnic Week

Created to promote keeping the East End clean, Peconic Estuary Program (PEP) has joined California’s Morro Bay National Estuary Program in “Pick Up the Picnic Week,” a new program to encourage locals and visitors to join a region-wide trash collecting effort from July 1-9.

Morro Bay has reached out to all other national estuary programs, including PEP and their members to participate. The campaign encourages people all over the area to pick up trash and send in data sheets of the items they pick up either on land or in the sea.

“The overachieving goal here is to show people that cleaning up the environment doesn’t have to be a special one-day event, on Earth Day for example,” Peconic Estuary Program outreach coordinator Christie Pfoertner said. “Just cleaning up whatever area you happen to be in and communicat[ing] what you are doing to others may help inspire them to do the same.”

This act of kindness can be a family affair. Grab the kids, or anyone else, and spend the day cleaning your local park or beach. PEP also asks families and friends to go on their kayaks or canoes to pick trash from the sea.

The data sheets are to be filled out to log what participants did for the environment throughout the week. They also feature a tally section to explain the specific items picked up. Items collected on the data sheet include bags, food items, Fourth of July or other holiday items, tobacco products, fishing or hunting products, large debris, small debris or anything else that is considered trash. Morro Bay National Estuary Program will use the data to track local trends and discover what items are problematic in our communities.

All data sheets can be dropped off at 423 Griffing Avenue, Riverhead or emailed to peptalk@peconicestuary.org.

These efforts will also help regional wildlife that could eat the trash and get sick.

“I’m honestly not sure how many data sheets to expect,” Pfoertner said. “Since this program is new not only to PEP but to Morro Bay as well, we don’t have any previous data to go on. The more the better in my opinion.”

The campaign team decided to make Pick Up the Picnic Week only nine days to see how the data sheets and the environment look after that time.

Learn more about this valuable program and download log/data sheets at mbnep.org/picnic.

To connect locally with PEP (and get log/data sheets from them), visit peconicestuary.org or call 631- 852-5750.

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