Like most local residents, I am grateful to live in a place with an abundance of natural beauty and a thriving ecosystem. We are lucky to have the marshes, woods, beaches and creeks woven through our landscapes and our daily lives. For me, the most significant of these places are the waterways, whose unique smell is how I know that I am home. I hope that future generations of Islanders and Blufftonians will have the same opportunity to boat, paddle, swim and take in the scenery on our local waters. Sadly, growing global pollution of the oceans threatens this future.
Ocean pollution effects every level of the marine food chain—from the tiniest plankton to the largest whale to the most majestic oaks growing adjacent to the water. Currently, it is estimated there is an average of 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of ocean. Annually, over 300,000 dolphins and porpoises die from ingesting or becoming tangled in plastic trash and debris. For seabirds, the estimated annual deaths are over one million. It takes over 600 years for plastic to decompose in the ocean, but it never really leaves; it just degrades into smaller and smaller particles that continue to pollute marine life.
The key to cleaning up and protecting the health of our oceans is working locally to engage the younger generation in the cause. Aiding this goal, the 2nd Annual Keep the Broad Creek Clean Festival will take place on August 10 at Shelter Cove Harbour & Marina.
This unique event is designed for family fun, with a variety of local eco organizations presenting interactive exhibits, crafts and activities. Among this year’s highlights is a raffle to win prizes from local businesses, including a kayak from Outside Hilton Head! The event kicks off with a kayak-based cleanup of the creek from 3-5 p.m., followed by dockside activities from 4-7 p.m., the raffle drawing at 6:30 p.m. and live music from Shannon Tanner at 7 p.m.
The Keep the Broad Creek Clean Festival is a great way for locals and visitors to learn about all of the clean water efforts currently underway in our community. Among the exhibitors will be The Coastal Discovery Museum, The Coastal Conservation League, The Port Royal Sound Foundation, Beaufort County Public Works & Conservation District and I2 Recycling with a kids’ recycling education program. Both the Turtle Trackers and the Spartina Charters’ Turtle Ambulance will be there, too! Attendees should expect to have fun, get some great giveaways and learn about local recycling initiatives, the proposed plastic bag ban, local watersheds and pollution, wildlife preservation and marine ecology.
Article by Jessie Renew, Outside Hilton Head
For more than 30 years, Outside Hilton Head has provided personalized adventures for all ages, from kayak, fishing, nature and dolphin tours to kids’ camps, history excursions, family outings and stand-up paddleboarding. (843) 686-6996 or outsidehiltonhead.com.