Beach Rubbish Picker

beach-rubbish-pickerWe have many traditions when we come to the beach. My daughter is a keen collector of beach shells, and her idea of “beautiful” is a lot less selective than that of yours and mine. To her, EVERY shell is beautiful.

This results in an extensive shell collection at the end of the week, making it very hard to select a tiny few to bring home. As we flew in this year versus making the trip by car, space is at a premium, so narrowing the collection is a necessity.

Another tradition we have is our evening walk on the beach. It’s quiet, with a few families lingering, some older ones with beers in hand, younger ones tidying up the tents, buckets and other detritus that is required with small children.  The sand crabs are skittering along the shore and we stop to watch the bigger ones who bravely watch us back.


The first night we were out, Miss M stepped on a bottle cap. We had already noticed  a wash of trash along the beach – not much, but enough to upset my nature lover. What if a dolphin swallowed that sunglasses strap, thinking it was seaweed? I suggested that maybe, instead of collecting seashells the next evening, she collect the rubbish.

And then I promptly forgot my suggestion. But the girlie did not.

The next evening, with the peach bucket from Morris Farm Market firmly in hand and a small sand shovel rattling inside, we all set off again. While the Boy sprinted up and down the beach, Miss M walked with focus, eyes scanning the sand, stopping occasionally to pick up a bit of this or that with her sand shovel. The cigarette butts disgusted her, the bottle caps – two so close together! – made her curious and half of the rest of what she gathered was poked at before scooping as she determined what it was she was looking at.

Every now and again, we’d find something that we couldn’t quite throw away. Buckeye found himself a spot on the beach marker at the end of our boardwalk, safe from being washed away by the rising tide.

All the while, she chattered with the Hubs about how much she loves Nature. That’s with a capital “N”, y’all. “I don’t know where I got my love of Nature. I like learning everything about it. Animals. Bugs. Birds. Plants. And seeing all this garbage on the beach makes me sad.”
And it should. It should make us all sad.

So if you’re headed to the beach, grab a plastic grocery bag you’ve likely been stockpiling and tuck it into your beach bag. Gather up those snack wrappers, bottle caps, soda cans and what-have-you, and take it out with you. It’s not that hard.

It’s the right thing to do.

Just ask her.


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