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Volunteers needed for Coastweeks

Marblehead Light - Marblehead Lighthouse
Image via Wikipedia

TOLEDO, OHIO—Ohioans are invited to celebrate the natural diversity of Lake Erie’s coastal region by planning a local coastal cleanup event to coincide with Ohio Coastweeks in September, according to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.

Environmental organizations, schools, scouts, community groups and individuals throughout Ohio’s Lake Erie watershed are encouraged to organize local litter collection events along beaches and streams. Participants will receive cleanup planning assistance and materials.

This year’s event marks the 25th anniversary of the International Coastal Cleanup Day on September 25. The Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC) coordinates the state’s observance, which gives Ohioans a chance to help keep the state’s beaches and streams healthy and safe.

“Ohioans who participate in Coastweeks will positively impact their natural surroundings while improving the quality of life for all of us,” said Ed Hammett, executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission. “Taking part in a Coastweeks cleanup is a great way to give back locally.”

In addition to litter collection, Coastweeks volunteers are instrumental in charting the progress of local events. Last year during Ohio Coastweeks, more than 65 miles of shoreline was cleaned and 15,154 pounds of trash was removed. Fast food wrappers, beverage cans and plastic bags are just a few of the commonly found items.

Interested organizations are encouraged to sign up by July 6. To learn more about 2010 Ohio Coastweeks, visit http://lakeerie.ohio.gov/ or call (419) 245-2514. The OLEC will provide the tools needed to promote an organization’s Coastweeks events.

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission was established in 1990 for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie’s natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem, and promoting economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources serves as the commission’s chair. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of Transportation, Health, Development, Agriculture and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

The commission oversees the Ohio Lake Erie Protection Fund, a grant fund which promotes environmental protection and economic development in the Lake Erie watershed. This fund is supported by Ohioans each time they purchase a Lake Erie license plate displaying either the Marblehead Lighthouse or the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse, designed by Ohio artist Ben Richmond.

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