Whoever said being an Ocean Steward isn’t cool or fun hasn’t been to a Blue Scholars coastal cleanup before. 

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In honor of the Ocean Conservancy’s 36th Annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) and World Water Monitoring Day on Saturday, September 18th, Blue Scholars Initiative invites you to join us for an engaging, educational and yes, FUN cleanup and celebration. The ICC is the world’s largest, one-day volunteer effort for our oceans and waterways, providing an opportunity to help reduce marine debris in conjunction with millions of volunteers around the world! Spearheaded globally by the Ocean Conservancy,

VolunteerCleanup.org organizes Miami Dade County’s local participation in this worldwide event with 45+ simultaneous shoreline cleanups around the county. The Miami-Dade ICC is made possible by the generous support of our title sponsor Covanta, with additional support from Banesco USABlackstone Charitable FoundationMiami-Dade County RER-DERMPubbelly SushiWPLG Local 10, and with special thanks to the Benjamin & Gloria Joannou, Jr. Family Conservation Fund.

In partnership with Miami Yacht Club, Jungle Island and the City of Miami, Blue Scholars will lead 75 volunteers both from land and water (Bring Your Own paddle-craft) along the shores of Watson Island to remove debris, conduct citizen science and raise awareness to help #SaveBiscayneBay. With a full lineup of additional offerings, including a volunteer lunch and live music, you won’t want to miss this cleanup experience, sponsored by Coastal Waste & Recycling.

  • 8am – Meredith Bass will lead interested volunteers in a waterfront yoga session to start the day with a stretch, deep inhale and opportunity to set your Ocean Hero intentions.
  • 9am – ALL registered volunteers will receive cleanup supplies (buckets/gloves), instructions and safety guidelines from the Blue Scholars team. The cleanup and sort will run from 9am-11am, while the data count, discussion, weigh-in and group photo will follow from 11am-12pm.
  • 11am – Partner organizations, Planet Patrol, Surfrider Miami and EarthEcho International, will conduct arts & crafts and water quality testing to further engage and educate participants of all ages until 1pm.
  • 12pm – The celebration begins! Miami Yacht Club, Rotary Club of Miami, Biscayne Bay Brewing, Publix and Hungry Harvest will come together to provide a waterfront lunch for participating volunteers, while Miami’s musical talents, DeBlois Milledge and Joe Contillo, fill the air with their Soul-Folk tunes. Cleanup volunteers will be invited to sit back, relax and lounge with us until 3pm when the sea breeze will fill our sails and whisk us away.

Registration for the cleanup is required to participate and can be completed here. If possible, please have guests in your party individually register so we can ensure they receive all of the information about the event and we can accurately plan for turnout. Separate registration for the yoga session is also required and can be completed through Eventbrite.

Volunteer details:

  • Free parking will be located in the neighboring Jungle Island parking garage. Signs will be posted to direct volunteers.
  • Check-in will be located at the entrance to the Miami Yacht Club at 1001 MacArthur Causeway. All volunteers MUST check-in and sign a waiver.
  • Complete the online waiver in advance to expedite check-in.
  • This event is suitable for ages 6+. Youth, ages 15 and under, MUST be accompanied by a parent/guardian. If you are 16-17 years old and coming without a parent or guardian, you must have a parent/guardian print and sign the waiver in advance.
  • Masked or Vaxed! Due to the rise in COVID cases, please wear a mask when you come to check in. If you are not vaccinated, please wear a mask whenever you cannot remain 6 feet away from non-family members. If you are experiencing, or have recently experienced, any related symptoms, please do not participate in this event.
  • Dress for the weather and wear appropriate foot-wear. This particular shoreline is rocky with trees so you must wear closed-toe shoes like sneakers (no flip-flops or sandals).
  • Reef-safe sunscreen, insect repellent and sun protection (sunglasses, hat and lightweight long-sleeve clothing) are recommended.
  • If you have gloves, bring them. We will provide gloves but cannot guarantee they will be in your size. We suggest reusable work, garden or dish gloves.
  • Bring water in a reusable container. Let’s reduce waste and refuse single-use disposable plastic water bottles. Refilling stations will be available.
  • Community service hours are provided and a certificate will be emailed following the event. Please bring any forms that require our signature.

Paddle-craft volunteer details:

  • You must supply your own personal paddle-craft (SUP, kayak, canoe) and flotation device, and be skilled to operate forward motion, stopping, turning and balance.
  • Wear appropriate clothing that can get wet, as well as provide sun protection. Some wading on unstable ground or in the water may be necessary to collect trash.
  • Understand that this event is weather dependent. If conditions on the water are not suitable for paddling, volunteer participants will be advised to not enter the water and instead, remain on land to participate.

About International Coastal Cleanup:

Scientists estimate that more than 17 billion pounds of plastic enters our ocean every year threatening marine life from corals polyps to sharks, the health of people, and local economies. Over the past 36 years, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup has brought together nearly 13 million people from over 150 countries to collect nearly 250 million pounds of trash along our coastlines and waterways. Every year during Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers comb lakes, rivers and beaches around the world for trash picking up everything imaginable along the world’s shorelines: cigarette butts, food wrappers, abandoned fishing gear and even automobiles and kitchen appliances.

By volunteering at ICC, you will be actively participating in a global citizen science project, not only by removing marine debris, but by also cataloguing and tallying what you find using the Ocean Conservancy’s data collection cards or Clean Swell app. The resulting item-by-item, location-by-location Ocean Trash Index that Ocean Conservancy compiles each year provides the only global snapshot of the marine debris littering coasts and waterways around the world.