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Conservation Leaders Hold Beach Keepers Event (5/13/16)

PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. – Help make the Crystal Coast even more pristine on Friday, May 13, in a public Beach Keepers clean-up event on Shackleford Banks.

            Cape Lookout National Seashore, the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, the Crystal Coast Tourism Development Authority and Island Express Ferry Service have collaborated on the event, and hope to gain more community support and involvement.

            “The beaches along the Crystal Coast are ours to take care of,” said Cape Lookout National Seashore Superintendent Pat Kenney. “We want North Carolina to be known for beautiful, clean beaches – not beaches filled with trash.  We want the Beach Keepers event to motivate citizens and visitors to be environmental stewards and to take responsibility for keeping our shores clean.”

            A USA TODAY Reader’s Choice Contest recently named Cape Lookout National Seashore the Best National Park Beach of 2016.

            Teams of volunteers will spend the day removing marine debris from Shackleford Banks.  Advance registration is required and participants need to provide their own food, reusable water bottles, and other beach necessities.

            The event coincides with the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service, the 100-year anniversary of the North Carolina State Park Service and the 40-year anniversary of the North Carolina Aquariums. The cooperative effort takes aim specifically at reducing plastics, such as single-use plastics, that often end up in the ocean.

            Marine debris is any man-made material that, in one way or another, intentional or unintentional, ends up in the ocean or other body of water. That debris washes onto beaches, endangers wildlife and is a global problem.

            The event begins at 7:30 a.m. in Beaufort and will last approximately seven hours, including transportation to and from Shackleford Banks.  

            “We hope to make this an ongoing effort that picks up momentum throughout the community,” said Aquarium Director Hap Fatzinger. “In order to win the battle against plastics, these efforts need to be frequent. And, in order to encourage public involvement, they need to be fun, which is why we’re offering volunteers the chance to spend the day on a beautiful section of the National Seashore.”

            For those on Instagram, the event will also include an InstaMeet – an opportunity for Instagrammers to come together, share photos, and tell stories about the day. InstaMeet participants will be given a scavenger hunt challenge that includes natural items and types of marine debris.

            To register, visit www.ncaquariums.com/pine-knoll-shores or call 252-247-4003.

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