Well, it’s finally here, our farewell to summer better known as Labor Day weekend. Soon we will all be thinking of homecoming football games, golden colored leaves, crisp fall air and pumpkins. But while we wrap up the summer season, let’s pay our respects to the natural resources that have kept us sun-kissed since Memorial Day. Follow our advice and leave no trace at the beach this week/weekend.
• Stay Local – There’s no need to travel out-of-town for a great beach vacation when you live in Hampton Roads. Visit one of our local beaches or parks this week and save the gas and frustration of an out-of-town trip.
• Respect the Habitat – When you arrive at the beach, take note of designated pathways. Walkovers (wooden pathways to the beach and over wetlands) protect fragile dunes and wildlife habitat. These dunes and living shorelines protect coastal communities from soil erosion and provide a home for all sorts of amazing critters.
• Pack a Waste-Free Picnic – Fill your picnic basket and cooler with reusable containers, water bottles and flatware instead of disposable options. If you have to go with disposable products, look for items made of recycled content.
• Scoop the Poop – Pet waste causes cloudy, foul smelling water and bacterial contamination in local waterways. Your dog may love to frolic in the waves, but make sure his waste stays contained!
• Pick up Your Mess – Never leave trash on the beach. Cigarette butts, water bottles and food packaging are all bad for wildlife and waterways. Use trash cans and recycling bins to dispose of your trash throughout the day to prevent the ocean breeze from carrying loose trash items down the beach.
When you pack up at the end of the day, you should leave no trace behind. And protecting our waterways and beaches doesn’t start at the beach. Be an environmental steward all year long by disposing of trash properly, using responsible lawn care practices, ditching the garbage disposal and always scooping the poop. When you practice green living every day, you are preserving your beach vacation for next season and for years to come.