A Michigan organization with an ambitious goal is bringing its cleanup efforts to a Monroe park.

Great Lakes Great Responsibility is hosting a shoreline cleanup on April 30 at Sterling State Park. The organization started in November 2020 and has a mission to collect 1 million pieces of trash from the Great Lakes.

“In our first cleaning season, we were able to remove over 100,000 parts, and we hope to double, triple or even quadruple that number in 2022, our second full cleaning season,” said Alpena Founder Meag Schwartz. organisation. “We are currently at more than 116,000 waste deleted. We have several cleanups scheduled, from Monroe all the way to Marquette. This will be the first organized cleanup we have done on Lake Erie. Our work is the last line of defense for our Great Lakes.

The Sterling State Park cleanup will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on April 30 at the park, 2800 State Park Rd. The event will take place rain or shine. Volunteers will pick up the trash and then count the number of items assembled. We need more volunteers.

“We’ve only gotten a few RSVPs so far, but we’re hoping to get over 50 volunteers. We need volunteers who are passionate about keeping the waters of our Great Lakes clean,” Schwartz said. “A lot of hands do light work. If you are considering joining, please RSVP at www.greatlakeslove.org. We will have a draw for the most waste removed.

Lots of trash is expected in the park.

“With the Raisin River draining just south of the park, litter will be plentiful. Based on data from other cleanups and published studies of Great Lakes litter, we expect to find a significant amount of plastics, microplastics, cigarette butts, balloons, and fast food items. Volunteers will count the number of litter they remove during the cleanup event and we will weigh the litter to measure our impact,” Schwartz said. “Spring is a critical time to remove trash from the land before it becomes marine debris and makes its way into aquatic ecosystems, including our drinking and recreational waters.”

Austin McGlathery, 9, Stephanie McGlathhery, Jake Glad, Mike Cousino and Laney McGlathery, 8, all of Monroe, search for litter on the beach at Sterling State Park in 2020. Photo by Dana Stiefel

All supplies will be provided, but volunteers can also bring their own.

“We appreciate anyone who wants to bring their own bucket, gloves, and trash grabber,” Schwartz said. “Volunteers should come dressed for the weather with closed shoes for safety.”

Other event sponsors are Great Lakes Great Living and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources/Michigan State Parks.

Schwartz said the volunteers recommended the organization offer Sterling a cleanup.

“This will be the first time we have organized an organized cleanup at Sterling State Park, but we have had individual volunteers who have removed litter from this park in the past and volunteers have actually recommended doing an organized cleanup at this location. . The park really needs help clearing marine debris,” Schwartz said.

Area resident Greg Milatz recently heard about the great responsibility of the Great Lakes. He regularly picks up trash in Sterling and agrees that the cleanup effort is badly needed.

“I came across this organization through social media, and they are doing amazing things,” Milatz said. “When I hike, hunt, fish, etc. (at Sterling State Park), I usually carry an empty bag with me. I hope it’s empty when I get home. However, that’s rarely the case. “It’s usually full of litter picked up from my activities. My hope is that this event floods Sterling with people wanting to volunteer and that awareness of the litter issue is raised.”

Schwartz supplied

Those unable to attend the April 30 event can still contribute to Great Lakes Great Responsibility’s Great Lakes 1 Million Challenge. At any time, area residents can pick up trash in the Great Lakes Basin, which includes all of Michigan, and log the number of pieces removed at www.greatlakeslove.org.

On the Net: www.greatlakeslove.org and instagram.com/greatlakesgrearesponsibility/